This autumn saw the culmination of the two prestigious music competitions held at Loreto. The Music Department runs two competitions, the St Cecilia Concerto Competition, for virtuosic instrumentalists, and the Loreto Composition Prize, for aspiring composers. The final of the Concerto Competition, dedicated to the Patroness Saint of Music, was held on 25th November 2015. Sarah-SpencerThe finalists were violinist Megan Auld, and pianist Alex Jang. Megan played ‘Summer’ from The Four Seasons by Vivaldi and Alex played Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.21. Both were accompanied by Silvia Lucas, one of Loreto’s piano teachers, playing the orchestral reductions. The guest judge for the evening was Jonathan Fisher, staff pianist at the RNCM and Pianist-in-Residence at the University of Huddersfield. Both Megan and Alex played with fantastic maturity and poise, and demonstrated a great level of musicality and commitment in performance. Jonathan Fisher praised both players on their technical control and manipulation of tone colour, and in his final remarks he declared Megan the winner commenting ‘Your sense of drama and expression between the contrasting sections is what has edged the decision in your favour’. As well as receiving a prize of £100, Megan will go on to play the concerto with the Loreto Orchestra at the Easter Concert at Halle St Peters on 18th March 2016.

Entrants to the Composition Prize were given the task of setting Sara Teasdale’s 1911 poem ‘Christmas Carol’ for unaccompanied 4-part choir, to be sung by the Loreto Chamber Choir. The compositions were judged by Director of Music, David Lloyd-Mostyn and Composition teacher Andrew Stamatakis-Brown in October 2015, so the winning piece would be ready to rehearse for Christmas. The winning composer this year is Sarah Spencer, whose composition echoes the simplicity and humility of the text in a very poignant fashion. The Loreto Chamber Choir will give the world premiere of the piece at the Hidden Gem Church on 15th December 2016, and also give further performances at the Town Hall on 16th December as part of the Certificate Evening and at the Church of the Holy Name on 17th December as part of the Christmas Carol Concert. As well as the piece receiving some very high profile performances, Sarah will receive £100 in prize money. The Chamber Choir has been rehearsing the piece in the run up to Christmas and choir members are enjoying the wonderful choral effects created by the composer.