November 22, St Cecilia Day, saw the third Loreto Concerto Competition. This annual event for talented instrumentalists has grown in prestige and popularity, and this year six hopeful soloists competed for the prize. Friend of the college Jonathan Fisher, staff pianist at the RNCM, had once again agreed to act as judge for the evening, and all participants were accompanied by Loreto piano tutor Silvia Lucas. After all six had performed, Jonathan addressed some remarks, urging them to ‘show off’ a bit, to take control and engage the audience. He commended Bob Koropisz’s playing of a trumpet piece by Haydn, noting the attention to detail and stylish phrasing. Flautist Milana Bout moved up and down the scales with silvery aplomb in her rendition of Concerto in A minor by Blavet, whilst violinist Lilah Bell played JS Bach with real projection and shape. Saxophonist Emily Whitehurst’s delivery of a piece by Binge was full of character, and Edmund Lam, playing Piano Concerto No 1 by Mendelssohn, displayed clear textures and sparkling virtuosity. There has to be a winner, of course, and this year the honour fell to clarinet player Christopher Hardy, whose delivery of a piece by Weber managed to be both sensitive and forceful, displaying lyricism and control, and an impressive range of tonal shades. Christopher will now go on to play at the Loreto Easter Concert at the RNCM.
This year’s winner of the Composition Prize is Bob Koropisz, who composed a choral setting of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem ‘I heard the bells on Christmas Day.’ The world premiere of the winning entry will be a feature of the Christmas Mass at the Hidden Gem in Manchester, just before Christmas.