The 2018-19 NYCGB Young Composers: Lillie Harris, Harry Baker, Shruthi Rajasekar, Joanna Ward. Images: Kevin Leighton, Arthur Vickery, ReyMash Photo, Ruari Paterson-Achenbach.


Harry Baker

Harry is currently studying for a Masters in Jazz Piano (with composition/arranging) at the Royal Academy of Music, having graduated with a first-class Music degree from the University of Oxford where he studied composition with Robert Saxton and Martyn Harry. He was a music scholar and first-study composer at the Junior Royal Academy for four years, on both the classical and jazz courses, where he studied composition with David Knotts and jazz with Gareth Lockrane. He says:

The NYCGB Young Composers Scheme will be an amazing opportunity to work with the National Youth Choir, allowing for a wealth of collaboration and feedback. What initially inspired me to apply was the lack of stylistic prescription: I‘m thoroughly looking forward to exploring my compositional interests in both classical and jazz music, as well as other exciting musical terrain!

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Lillie Harris

Lillie graduated from the Royal College of Music in 2016, studying composition with Haris Kittos and winning the Elgar Memorial prize for her final portfolio. Her pieces have been workshopped and performed by ensembles including Psappha, the LPO, and Ensemble Recherche, and in 2015-16 she was selected for the first RSNO Composers Hub. In 2017 she was awarded the Tenso Young Composers Award for her song cycle on poems by August Stramm, and is currently on Phase II of the LSO Soundhub Scheme. She says:

I am excited by the NYCGB Young Composers Scheme because of its attachment to a vocal ensemble, because I find myself increasingly wanting to write for the voice. Having spent my childhood writing endless stories and novels, returning to working with words in recent pieces has been enormously creatively and emotionally satisfying.

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Joanna Ward 

Joanna is from Newcastle upon Tyne and currently in her third year reading Music at Jesus College, Cambridge. She began composing with Dr Chris Randall at the Centre for Advanced Training at the Sage Gateshead. At university, she has studied with Darren Bloom and Patrick Brennan, as well as receiving seminars and masterclasses from Richard Causton and visiting composers. She says:

The NYCGB Young Composers Scheme will allow me to build and reflect on my approach to writing choral music. Composing for voices is something I already have a range of experience with; however, my horizons have broadened substantially over the past few years, and so I think the openness of this scheme will be perfect for enabling me to create choral music which is reflective of my current aesthetic and creative priorities.       

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Shruthi Rajasekar

Shruthi is an Indian-American composer and vocalist. She went to college in Princeton, New Jersey and now lives and studies in the UK as a Marshall Scholar. Shruthi trained in Carnatic music for several years and learned classical piano before becoming a student of Western vocal music, as a chorister and then as a soloist. She says:

As a chorister myself, I greatly admire the work that NYCGB does in not only promoting a phenomenal level of singing but also in the support of new music. I also find the work that NYCGB is doing to celebrate cultural identity in its repertoire and musicians really exciting.

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