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YCC 2013 Winner

Gareth Moorcraft Young Composer CompetitionGareth Moorcraft from Cowbridge has been awarded first prize in the Tŷ Cerdd Young Composer’s Competition 2013. Gareth’s work, Night Dance overcame strong competition from musicians throughout Wales who were required to write a six-minute piece for symphonic wind orchestra. The winning entry will be performed and recorded by the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Wales at the William Aston Hall, Wrexham on Saturday 30th March when Gareth will formally receive the award and a prize of £1,000.

The competition, which was open to composers under the age of 25, attracted entries from postgraduates, conservatoire students and high school pupils with the youngest entrant being aged 14. The judges (composer, Peter Reynolds, Ty Cerdd Youth Music Manager, Matthew Thistlewood, conductor, Ben Gernon and the NYWOW Chairman, Sean O’Neill) were impressed by the high standard and variety of entries. They shortlisted three works for the award and gave highly commended status to pieces by Sarah Lianne Lewis from Aberystwyth and Aled Smith from Wrexham.

Gareth Moorcraft attended Cowbridge Comprehensive School before going on to study music at Worcester College, University of Oxford, where he was awarded scholarships for his academic studies and musical performance. After graduating from Oxford, he was awarded an AHRC scholarship to study composition with Gary Carpenter at the Royal Academy of Music. Gareth's compositions have been performed by the BBC Singers, Oxford Philomusica Orchestra, and the Endymion Ensemble, and his recent work, Rondo? for wind trio was awarded the British Composer Award (student category) for 2012 and broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

Gareth Moorcraft - Night Dance (Nos Galan Gaeaf)

Nos galan gaeaf is the night before the first day of winter in Wales (corresponding with Halloween), when spirits and ghosts are believed to roam the land. The mysterious and magical soundscapes is the first section of Night Dance conjure up this spiritual night-world, and lead towards an energetic dance of the spirits in the middle section.

The music explores the idea of contrasting layers running in parallel. A long expansive line threads its way through the sweeping tutti gestures at the beginning, before it is replaced by witty bass figures which allude to jazz music. This restless underlying thread eventually takes over the entire musical texture in the following section, which is characterised by rhythmic surprises and energetic patterns. An extended build up of tension and activity follows, before the opening material returns at the highest point of tension, creating a circular musical form.