First prize winning notes created by Scottish youth

Iona McVicar's 'Golden Sands' wins the National Youth Brass Bands of Scotland 'Young Composers Competition'.

  Iona received her award from Ian Porthouse and SBBA's President Carrie Boax

Tenor horn star Iona McVicar recently claimed top prize in this year's National Youth Brass Band of Scotland (NYBBS) 'Young Composer's Competition'.

Now in its third year, the competition seeks to add new and exciting works to the NYBBS music library while encouraging young composers to experiment with brass composition, with participants tasked to write a piece for solo instrument and brass band.

Golden Sands

Scottish composers Alan Fernie and Paul Drury were the judges to be impressed — and they were too, with Iona claiming the top prize with her piece 'Golden Sands', written for tenor horn and band.

Iona, who has also played in the European Youth Brass Band received her award from SBBA President Carrie Boax, NYBBS conductor Ian Porthouse and SBBA Education Officer John Boax.

Second place went to last year's winner Jack Mackenzie for his euphonium solo 'Euphoric Variations', with Ross Balhaj taking third with his 'Concerto for Trombone and Brass Band'.

Mentoring sessions

All three prize winners will now receive mentoring sessions from Alan Fernie as part of the award, which is made possible thanks to funding from Creative Scotland.

Alan told 4BR: "The standard of entry in this competition is steadily improving and the three finalists have shown great potential in their contrasting pieces.

What bands in Scotland must now do is to play and programme these young composers, giving them invaluable practical experience in writing for brass band. There is no greater learning outcome than hearing what players think!"

SBBA are delighted that this project enables young composers to be given the opportunity to hone their talents in the brass band genre whilst leaving a legacy among the young brass and percussion players in ScotlandSBBA


Iona's winning piece will be performed at a NYBBS event next year as part of the Scottish Brass Band Association (SBBA) 125th anniversary celebrations.

SBBA president Carrie Boax added: "SBBA are delighted that this project enables young composers to be given the opportunity to hone their talents in the brass band genre whilst leaving a legacy among the young brass and percussion players in Scotland.

Our congratulations go to everyone who took part and we are looking forward to hearing a very special performance of Iona's finished work premiered at our NYBBS Easter course next year."

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