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Wareham work breaks the winning A4 Code...

Composer Andy Wareham has won the A4 Brass Quartet Composer Competition with his work celebrating the incredible achievement of the remarkable Margaret Hamilton.

Andy Wareham
  Andy Wareham's composition 'The Code' has claimed the A4 Brass Quartet Award

Composer Andy Wareham has spoken to 4BR about his delight at winning the 2019 A4 Brass Quartet Composer prize.

His three movement work, 'The Code' told the story of Margaret Hamilton, widely regarded as the 'mother of software' who was the driving force behind coding the software for the Apollo 11 lunar landing.

First prize

It claimed the £400 first prize which also came with a professional recording of the work and the promise of performances on the A4 Brass Quartets impressive list of forthcoming engagements.

Paul Saggers, who recently came runner-up at the European Composer Competition in Montreux claimed the £150 second prize with 'The Eagle has Landed', whilst the Under 24 Award went to Torin Christopherson for his composition, 'Leonardo at Work'. The decision was made by renowned composer and tutor Gary Carpenter, and arranger, editor and RNCM Brass Band Festival Director Paul Hindmarsh.

A group spokesperson told 4BR: "We are extremely grateful for everyone's contributions. We look forward to working on these pieces, and performing and recording them throughout the next 12 months!"

Feminist icon

Andy told 4BR: "Margaret Hamilton's work for the Apollo mission is an incredible story. Not only did she write most of the code by hand, but she achieved this astounding feat as a woman working in the male-dominated space industry in the 1960s, becoming something of a feminist icon as a result.

Despite this, she still doesn't achieve the recognition she deserves for the incredible work she put into getting man to the moon."

My sincere thanks also go to Paul Hindmarsh and Gary Carpenter as well as Jamie Smith, Mike Cavanagh, Jonny Bates and Chris Robertson for their consideration and judgement. I am literally 'over the moon'!Andy Wareham

Real joy

He added: "A4 are a ground-breaking brass quartet, so naturally I'm thrilled to have won, especially given the tough competition I was up against! It's a real joy to write for a group who are making such a definitive mark in the world of chamber music.

I must thank Professor Philip Wilby for his inspirational mentorship through the Black Dyke 'Young Composer' Residency.

He has transformed the way I approach writing and designing my music. I'm incredibly lucky to be working with him, Prof Childs and Black Dyke.

My sincere thanks also go to Paul Hindmarsh and Gary Carpenter as well as Jamie Smith, Mike Cavanagh, Jonny Bates and Chris Robertson for their consideration and judgement. I am literally 'over the moon'!"

BBC profile

The result is the latest high profile accomplishment for the talented composer, with his arrangement of Mendelssohn's 'Hear My Prayer ('O for the wings of a Dove') being performed by a Black Dyke ensemble conducted by Prof Nicholas Childs on the BBC programme, 'Queen Victoria: My Musical Britain'.

Picture: Copyright

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Mike Sheppard

B.A. (Hons) Music
Composer, conductor, teacher, author