Finghin Collins pianist – Photo by Frances Marshall

Composition Competition 2020 Results

Early in March the schools and universities closed. On-line learning began. Out of all difficulties come opportunities! It started with John Boyne’s challenge to young people to write short stories. A great idea, to help keep young people focussed and productive. New ideas appear on a daily basis, locally and nationally. Finghin Collins, artistic director of the New Ross Piano Festival, suggested that a competition for older students which entailed writing a new work for piano, would be an interesting project. The main attraction to budding composers was the fact that their work would be performed at the next Piano Festival. There was also a money prize offered.

The reaction was positive. Entries were expected from Dublin and Cork, centres of music education, but they came in from all parts of Ireland.

Finghin Collins commented:

“Not knowing what to expect from the competition, I was amazed by the high standard of entry in both categories. Many of the pieces would be worthy of the prize, and it gave me great pleasure to read through them. There was a great variety of styles, including influences of jazz, impressionism and minimalism. Some of them were challenging and ambitious while others were simpler and more innocent. In all, a great deal of individuality and fresh thinking. I found it very rewarding and enriching. It wasn’t easy to pick winners and in the end it became rather a personal choice between the most accomplished two or three pieces in each category. Thank you to all the young composers for entering and to their parents and teachers for supporting them! We look forward to the performance of the two winning pieces at the next piano festival”.

Our winners and the Piano Festival organisers now look forward to hearing the new music being performed for the audience at the next Festival. A satisfactory project indeed!

Our winners

15–18 age group winner

The winner in the 15–18 age group was Donnchadh Hughes, from Dundalk, with a piece titled “Music in the Tuileries”.

19–21 age group winner

In the 19–21 age category the winner was Harry O’Connor from Kenmare, with a work called “Introduction and Dance”.