Two prestigious music competitions have recently been held at Loreto: 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, whose life is remembered on November 22nd, took place the following day and featured three talented musicians. Cellist Tia Chapman played Cello Concerto in D minor by Vivaldi; flautist Eloise Hatton performed Orchestral Suite in B minor by JS Bach, and pianist Alice Mummery delivered Kabalevsky’s Piano Concerto No 3. Guest judge for the evening was Jonathan Fisher, staff pianist at the RNCM. Tia Chapman opened proceedings, ably accompanied by Loreto piano tutor Silvia Lucas. Jonathan Fisher was particularly impressed by Tia’s refined performance, noting that she kept the interest of the audience in the repeated passages and that some of her playing in the slower sections was ‘beautiful and lyrical.’ Flautist Eloise Hatton, again accompanied by Silvia Lucas, handled the changes of tempo in the Bach Suite with great aplomb, prompting Jonathan Fisher to commend her stylish playing. Pianist Alice Mummery, accompanied by her tutor Mary Hoult, brought great energy to the Kabalevsky Concerto, our judge highlighting the level of detail and preparation in Alice’s performance. After a short period of deliberation Jonathan Fisher gave thoughtful and constructive feedback to all three soloists before declaring Alice the winner.

The Composition Prize entrants were given the task of setting Tennyson’s poem ‘Ring Out Wild Bells’ for unaccompanied four-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. This year’s winner is Toni Bruce, who impressed the judges with the quality of the sympathetic balance she achieved between the words and melody. The Chamber Choir will give the world premiere of the piece at the Church of the Hidden Gem on December 20th, further performances being scheduled for Presentation Evening at Manchester Town Hall on December 21st and at the Carol Concert to be held at the Church of the Holy Name on December 22nd.