Young Composers Competition

Established in 2013, the SWON Young Composer Competition aimed to foster young talent in the field of music composition and to provide the band with some interesting original music to perform. Sponsored by music publishers Stainer and Bell, we were rewarded with some remarkable works from budding young composers.

Alongside our own musical director Matthew Hardy, other three judges for the competition were:

  • Keith Allen – Musical director of Birmingham Symphonic Winds and director of National Concert Band Festival.
  • Nicholas Williams – Publishing director at Stainer and Bell, the competition's sponsors.
  • Roger Cawkwell – Freelance London composer, arranger, conductor, multi instrumentalist, and good friend of SWON.

The results of the competition were as follows:

First Place: Trans-Siberian Railway, Alfie Pugh

Describing the journey of the train, from starting in Moscow station, picking up speed and heading towards Lake Baikal, before hurtling off into the distance. It was inspired by a wide range of musical influences, from Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky, to Ravel & Respighi, and also Thunderbirds composer Barry Gray.

Second Place: Swallow Canyon, Thomas Carr


Third Place: The Circadian Rhythm of Mr Nails, Henry Mitton

Inspired by the 24-hour cycle of male hormones, this composition represents the fluctuating and at times turbulent journey through 24 hours of a man’s life.