Entries Open for 2022 Composition Award

Entries Open for 2022 Composition Award

Entries are now open for the 2022 Commonwealth International Composition Award

The Commonwealth International Composition Award is a competition now in its third year, which aims to encourage young musicians to write their own music, and to give young composers the skills they need to further their careers.

The Award is run in partnership with The Commonwealth Resounds, the ABRSM, the Royal Overseas League, and The Purcell School for Young Musicians.

Anyone who is of school age anywhere in the world can apply. There are two categories in the competition –

Starters, for young people who have never composed music before.

Flyers, for young people who have tried to make up their own music and who would like to receive teaching and help to learn new composing skills.

If you are a keen, enthusiastic young person, who loves music and would like to work with online teachers and mentors to bring your musical ideas to life, this competition is for you!

  • Entries are open from Tuesday 13th July 2021

  • Applications must be submitted by Friday 15th October 2021

  • Shortlisted young composers to be announced on Monday 25th October 2021

  • The Grand Final – Jan/Feb 2022 tbc

To find out more about this opportunity, see the Award website.

To apply, please follow this link to the application form.

The 2021 competition attracted hundreds of entries from school age composers, and the entries were shortlisted down to ten finalists, who had their pieces recorded and performed by professional musicians. The Award Final was streamed live from the Royal Over-Seas League, with live performances of the pieces and pre-recorded messages from the adjudicators. The overall winner was announced by special guest Evelyn Glennie.

“This competition is an amazing opportunity. I learnt so much from the mentorship and the exciting opportunity to hear my composition recorded and performed live. I encourage all those eligible to enter, no matter your compositional level – all you need is a love of making sounds!”  Xiaole Zhan, 2019 Winner

Competition Partners:

The Commonwealth Resounds is an accredited Commonwealth musical organisation. Established in 2005 with a mission to connect musical cultures, and to promote musical initiatives and partnerships in Commonwealth countries. The organisation supports and takes part in cultural projects in every layer of communities.

The ABRSM inspires musical achievement. It is the UK’s largest music education body, one of its largest music publishers and the world’s leading provider of music exams, holding over 650,000 assessments in more than 90 countries every year. As a registered charity, the ABRSM also make significant donations towards music education initiatives around the world.

The Purcell School for Young Musicians is The Purcell School is an international school for young musicians aged 10 to 18, and Britain’s oldest music school. Based on the outskirts of London, in Bushey, Hertfordshire, the School provides a rounded education with music at its heart to approximately 180 talented young players, singers and composers.

The Royal Over-Seas League (ROSL) is a not-for-profit private members’ organisation dedicated to championing international friendship and understanding. ROSL helps artists and musicians across the Commonwealth connect, collaborate and create.

Competition adjudicators: Orphy Robinson MBE,  Bushra El-Turk, Duncan Chapman, Supriya Nagarajan, and Barbara Law.

Third Culture Collective announced as Commonwealth Resounds’ Ensemble-in-Association

Third Culture Collective announced as Commonwealth Resounds’ Ensemble-in-Association

As one of the Commonwealth’s only musically accredited organisations, The Commonwealth Resounds facilitates cross-cultural projects, partnerships and performances with a focus on music education. The Third Culture Collective will be joining the Dionysus Ensemble as The Commonwealth Resounds’ second associated ensemble. Ensemble-in Association is a three-year post, during which time the ensemble will receive assistance and support in kind. As well as this, there will be exciting opportunities to network and collaborate with new partners and projects, especially those from other Commonwealth accredited organisations.

The Third Culture Collective is an exciting new ensemble, directed by British Indian music director, composer, singer and keyboardist Kavi Pau. Its aim is to bring together musicians from South Asian and Western cultures to perform new music and share their approach to music-making through performance, collaboration days and workshops. They seek to make western classical music more accessible to the next generation of British Asians, inspiring them to take pride in their mixed musical heritage and to inspire Western musicians to experiment with South Asian sounds.

Alison Cox OBE, Founder of The Commonwealth Resounds says: “We are delighted to welcome the Third Culture Collective to the Commonwealth family! The ensemble’s vision of bringing musicians from different cultural backgrounds together to share new music chimes perfectly with that of The Commonwealth Resounds, and I am absolutely delighted to welcome Kavi and his musicians as our new Ensemble-in-Association. We hope to develop exciting projects together, facilitate collaborations and partnerships, and to help support their work in any way that we can.” 

Kavi Pau, Founder and Director of the Third Culture Collective says: “We are honoured to be appointed as Ensemble-in-Association with The Commonwealth Resounds and are excited to form a partnership together. The Commonwealth Resounds is an organisation whose own values resonate strongly with the Third Culture Collective. We both believe that the future of music is collaborative and cross-cultural. As a result of this association, we look forward to connecting with other Commonwealth partners and furthering our music-making in the UK and across the world” 

Kavi Pau’s earliest musical experiences were in Indian music, studying the harmonium and Hindustani singing with Pravinaben Patel. Kavi won a choral scholarship to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he studied music, graduating in 2018 with a prize-winning double-first class degree. Alongside his work as Director of the Third Culture Collective, he is also Director of Music at St Barnabas Church, Ealing and is the Founder Director of Ensemble 1517, a choir specialising in the music of the Lutheran Reformation. He combines these posts with regular freelance activities and also teaches at the University of Cambridge.

To find out more about the Third Culture Collective, see their website www.thirdculturecollective.co.uk

Commonwealth International Composition Award 2021 Winners Announced

Commonwealth International Composition Award 2021 Winners Announced

The Commonwealth International Composition Award is a competition now in its second year, which aims to encourage young musicians to write their own music, and to give young composers the skills they need to further their careers.

The 2021 competition attracted hundreds of entries from school-age composers, and the entries were shortlisted down to ten finalists, who had their pieces recorded and performed by professional musicians.

The Award Final was streamed live from the Royal Over-Seas League last night, with live performances of the pieces and pre-recorded messages from the adjudicators. The overall winner was announced by special guest Evelyn Glennie.

Three prizes were awarded:

The winner of the Commonwealth International Composition Award 2021 is David Ingham, aged 15 (UK – pictured)

Three of the young composers were Highly Commended:

James Brew – Australia
Devon Packer – Canada
Falak Suteri – India

The Young Adjudicators Prize was awarded to Devon Packer, aged 15 (Canada)

The audience prize, voted for by the public was awarded to Falak Suteri, aged 15 (india)

 “It has been a pleasure and a privilege to be part of this year’s competition. All of the young composers produced some stunning work, and I am looking forward to hearing what they make next as their journeys continue”. Adjudicator Duncan Chapman 


“Congratulations to everyone involved in this competition, it is a real testament to your dedication, creativity, and love of music. ABRSM is a founding partner of this award, and it is great to see the number of entries rising year on year. I am reminded of the power of music to connect, unite, and bring people together.” Lincoln Abbotts, Strategic Director, ABRSM 

The Award final is available to watch here.

More information on the award and the 2021 finalists can be found here.

The Award is run in partnership with The Commonwealth Resounds, the ABRSM and The Purcell School for Young Musicians.

The Adjudicators: Bushra El-Turk Duncan Chapman Supriya Nagarajan

Young Adjudicators:
Xiaole Zhan (New Zealand) – Winner of the 2020 Commonwealth International Composition Award
Aliyah Ramatally (Trinidad) – Audience Vote Winner of the 2020 Commonwealth International Composition Award
Kavi Paul (UK/India) – Director of the Third Culture Collective
Jasmine Morris (UK/Japan) Winner of the BBC Inspire Young Composers’ Competition

CICA Audience Vote is LIVE!

The Commonwealth International Composition Award Audience Vote is now live!

Well done to all of our young composers for writing such fantastic pieces! All were inspired by poems written by poets from around the Commonwealth:

Dance Craze by Kendel Hippolyte (St Lucia)

One Step Beyond – by Mr Gee (UK)

I Am a Poem About the Ants by Nicholas Laughlin (Trinidad)

Oceania by Karlo Mila (Tonga/ New Zealand)

Accent – by Mere Taito (Rotoman Island/Fiji)

Find out more about our finalists and vote for your favourite piece by clicking below:

Listen and vote here
Jazz in the Media!

Jazz in the Media!

Come and hear some fantastic new pieces by school-aged students from all over the world aged 8-18 who are part of The Purcell School’s Online Composition Academy!

The will all present their works live on Youtube at 5 p.m. this evening, London UK GMT

Tia’s poster

Maddie’s poster

Finalists Announced: Commonwealth International Composition Award 2020/21

Finalists Announced: Commonwealth International Composition Award 2020/21


We are very pleased to announce that the following young composers have been shortlisted for The Commonwealth International Composition Award 2020/2021 Final. The Grand Final will be live-streamed from the Princess Alexandra Hall, Royal Overseas League on Tuesday 4th May at 5.00pm GMT.  Recordings of all the shortlisted pieces will be released 1 week before the final for an Audience Vote. 

To find out more about the Award, please see The Commonwealth International Composition Award website.

Amelia Wolf – UK

Amelia Wolf is a 17 year old pianist and guitarist living in the UK. She began playing piano at the age of 7, and within the past year has started learning the acoustic guitar. She is currently studying ABRSM Grade 7 Piano. From a young age, she had a passion for the arts, developing a particular interest in music performance, painting, and writing. Only recently did she take a specific interest in composition as another medium in broadening her artistic vision. She is an entirely self-taught composer, utilising nothing but experience, emotion and instinct in the creation of her pieces, alongside the vivid worlds within them. Her first taste of compositional guidance was at the recent Sound and Music Summer School, during which she composed the piece, ‘In the Streets of Stellora’.

Chia Ren Cher – Singapore

Ren Cher found interest in composing music at 11 years old.  His first composition was a violin-yangqin duet which he scribbled using his own notation and he got his brother to perform with him in public.  That prompted him to start learning music theory and then progressed into the study of classical music composition.

By 13 years old, he has composed an outstanding classical work, String Quartet No.1, Colour , comprising four movements of 30 minutes.

He went on to win first prize in composition in United States as well as second prize in Germany.  He is also talented in playing the violin and yangqin.  He was awarded Gold Award for violin solo at the “7th Singapore Performers’ Festival & Chamber Music Competition 2018”, plus multiple first prize awards for violin solo and yangqin solo competitions from 2017 to 2019.  

Ren Cher is also a very experienced orchestral violinist and yangqinist.  He has performed over 50 performances across 8 years in a philharmonic orchestra plus ensembles in major concert halls in Singapore and internationally such as in Vienna, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Taiwan.  Ren Cher is also the yangqin section chair of a Chinese orchestra, and has over 8 years of public performance experiences.  In addition, he has conducted string ensembles for public performances.

David Ingham  – UK

David Ingham, 15, lives in Swansea, Wales, and attends Ysgol Gyfun Gŵyr. A passionate musician, he has been learning the flute since he was 7, and the harp since he was 10. He regularly competes in the National Urdd Eisteddfod and numerous local competitions, such as the Abertawe Festival for Young Musicians, having won on several occasions. He also enjoys playing in ensembles and orchestras, both within and outside of school. He is currently working towards his ARSM Performance Diploma on both instruments, and studying as a flautist in the Junior Conservatoire at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Although having had an interest in composition for some time, David only seriously took it up in lockdown, thanks to his new-found spare time. Since then, he has been developing and improving his skills with the help of his harp teacher, Nia Keinor Jenkins. While David’s favourite music stems from the Romantic and Impressionistic eras, he is eager to explore new sounds and techniques in order to create something entirely new. He was thrilled to discover that his second serious composition had reached the shortlist of the CICA and is excited for the opportunities this may bring.

Devon Packer – Canada

Devon Packer is a 15 year old pianist who lives in Montréal, Canada. He has  been studying piano at the McGill Conservatory of Music since the age of 5.  His first major performance was at the age of 7 when he debuted as a soloist  with the Orchestre Symphonique de l’Isle playing Haydn’s “Divertimento in C Major”. He has appeared at multiple venues in Canada, Europe, and the United  States. Most recently, he has performed at New York’s prestigious Carnegie  Hall. 

Devon had his first composition published in 2015 called “The Fantastical  World of Camelot”. Since then, he has composed for numerous ensembles,  including a handpicked group of talented soloists, and a string ensemble. Devon  also plays many instruments, including trumpet, trombone, french horn, bass  guitar, and percussion.  He has recently begun exploring the world of acting, appearing on screen as  Ben Stiller’s piano prodigy son in the film Brad’s Status.

Eleanor Inn Rei Shuen – Malaysia 

My name is Eleanor Inn, and I am twelve-years-old, currently studying in Yamaha Music School for Trinity Grade 8. I reside in Malaysia; and have a burning passion for Music, Dance, and Writing. ‘Dear Fate’ is about the family member of a Coronavirus Victim appealing to Fate to spare his loved one’s life. Throughout the composition, the patient goes from being infected, to gradually recovering – leading the family member to gain hope, but in the end, his heart stills. The majority of citizens – especially students – have been very blase about the topic of Coronavirus – constantly joking flippantly about our friends or foes contracting the deadly virus, as we have not been affected personally by it. But this virus is no laughing matter, with over a million deaths and thirty-five million cases worldwide; and probably more, unrecorded. As responsible citizens, we should comply with the rules-and-regulations, remain unrelenting in the measures taken against the virus, and most importantly, go the whole nine yards to guarantee your family’s safety. Best Wishes; I hope you enjoy my creation. 

Falak Suteri – India

Falak Suteri, 15, started her journey to discover music and arts, at a young age. She started with training in Indian classical vocals and then progressed to learn the piano. Through years, her love of music expanded as she started to learn music theory and further explored her skills in piano. In 2019, she achieved a distinction at ABRSM Grade 5 level Music theory.

To cater to her passion of music, she used multiple opportunities in her school. This included performing as a lead singer in the choir and being a key member of the orchestra for multiple years in school’s annual Broadway productions like Matilda, Beauty and the Beast, Wicked, Oliver, and Frozen. Besides this, as a part of her school curriculum, she learned to compose music and particularly got interested in instrumental music. And this led her to compose a few memorable compositions.

However she still has yearning for acquiring more knowledge in music and she would like to further sharpen her skills in the performing arts.

James Brew – Australia

James Brew is a 13-year-old Australian composer and musician who began composing at the age of 8 years and won his first Australian national composition competition at age 10 years with a work for solo piano called ‘Sorrowbird’. At age 11 years, he was privileged to conduct another of his compositions, ‘Starlight’ for strings, piano, recorders and tuned percussion, on the stage of the Sydney Opera House’s concert hall. Most recently, James had the honour of becoming the overall winner of the Commonwealth Resounds 2020 Commonwealth Composition Challenge with his trio for strings named ‘Pan-Xiety’, which captured his impressions of time in coronavirus lockdown and an anxious international mood during the pandemic. The prestigious Rising Stars program at Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music admitted James as their first ever composition student and later in 2019 he was a winner of the Australian National ‘Artology – Fanfare’ composition competition with his piece, ‘Jubilation’.
He is currently a scholarship student in Form II at Sydney Grammar School where he studies singing, tuba, pipe organ and piano as well as being an active member of his school’s composition club. James has sung with Sydney Children’s Choir since the age of six and loves performing with them now as a tenor. James entered the Commonwealth International Composition Award with his orchestral work ‘Scenes From Shinjuku Station – Movements 1-3’ which was inspired by a trip to Japan in 2018. In Tokyo, he was amazed by the organised chaos that is Shinjuku train station – the busiest train station in the world. James is extremely honoured that he has been selected for the final short list of the 2020 Commonwealth International Composition Award.

Nathanael Koh – New Zealand

Determined to study and understand music, he is learning the piano, clarinet, cello and French horn to help hone his composition skills. Since 2017, he performs regularly for the public, and concerts organised by IRMT.

At age 9, Nathanael is one of the youngest to attain the Trinity Diploma in Music Theory (AMusTCL), and ABRSM Grade 8 Music Theory. Recognising his talent in Music, the Ministry of Education (New Zealand) presented him with the Gifted Learner Award in May 2019. Besides music, his many other interests include Mathematics, Chemistry, German, crafting and playing with Lego.

Since CICA, Nathanael has been given the rare privilege of being appointed as the Composer-in-Residence for the Kids’ Philharmonic in Singapore in Nov 2019. https://www.kidsphilharmonic.org/the-team, as well as his piece, Tea Party/Vorfreude, was recently performed by a full orchestra at the Victoria Concert Hall on 22 Dec 2019

Tiara Oberoi – India

Tiara’s first public solo performance was at the age of five. She has since enjoyed singing and learning music at Harmony – The Music School, Bangalore, India. A soloist with the award winning Harmony Chorus since 2011, Tiara has performed across Russia, England, Scotland, across India at music festivals, and on Indian national television for a reality singing competition – Rising Star on Colors TV reaching India’s Top 8. Most recently, she was honored to sing at the Global Hope Festival – an online concert featuring Classical artists from around the globe performing to raise funds for the World Health Organization’s COVID 19 Solidarity Response Fund. Tiara also won the Young Adjudicators’ Prize at the Commonwealth Composition Competition.
In 2017, at the age of 14, Tiara won an international vocal competition and performed at Carnegie Hall, NYC. At 16, she became the youngest musician in India to earn an Associate Diploma from the London College of Music in Musical Theatre, also scoring the top mark. She was India’s ABRSM Grade 8 Classical Singing Examination topper for 2019.
With The Harmony Chorus, Tiara has been involved in several concerts promoting music from different cultures, singing to raise awareness on climate change, has generated funds for children with AIDS, mentally and physically challenged children, old age homes and orphanages. Through her music, she regularly supports the education of
lesser privileged children. She believes in ‘Music With a Purpose’ and has used her music
to entertain, educate and empower people during this pandemic.
Besides music, she has a keen interest in drama and has earned certificates for
short courses from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and Bristol Vic Old Theatre
School in the United Kingdom. She is a Year-12 humanities student who also coaches
young singers in Musical Theatre and singing technique at Harmony – The Music School.
In her free time, she enjoys composing choral music, playing the piano, and playing

William Henderson – Antigua and Barbuda

My name is William D. Henderson am 17 years old and I live in the twin island state of Antigua and Barbuda. I started playing music when I was 14 years old. I started with the piano and guitar, and I had lessons for a few months, which taught me the basics of music, but for the majority of my relatively short time playing music I have been self-taught, always trying to find ways to improve and never giving up on anything that seems to be too difficult. My love for music is undying, and I believe that it is one of the most beautiful forms of expression, because not only is it a language that knows no barriers, but it also is a way of bringing people together; it is the harmony of mankind. Some of my most favorite genres of music include rock, country, blues, jazz, flamenco, pop, classical, salsa, bolero, bachata, and reguetón. I also love Christmas music. I also have many other things that I am just as passionate about as music, such as sports like soccer, karate and fishing.