Thursday 18 March 2021

New music for baroque violin and harpsichord: faced with lockdown last year violinist Ada Witczyk didn't sit still, she launched a composition competition

Ada Witczyk

Faced with lockdown last year violinist Ada Witczyk (whose work has included performances with Gabrieli Consort, The English Concert, The Sixteen, St James' Baroque and Florilegium, as well as Ensemble OrQuesta during the 2019 Grimeborn Opera Festival.) didn't sit still, she launched a composition competition, one that was intended to directly challenge the way we engage with classical music on-line. Composers should write a short piece for baroque violin and harpsichord but there were no other rules, composers could use any style and it was open to anyone.

With entries from all over the world, a jury which included baroque violinist Simon Standage, and harpsichordist Satoko Doi-Luck selected three winning pieces. Yellow by Samuel Howley (from Wales), The Spectre by Erik Valdemar Sköld (from Sweden) and Ostinato in 7 by Oscar Tysoe (from England), with an honorable mention for Tra i colori del ciclo by Massimo De Lillo (from Italy).

Director Simon Helbing filmed all three winning pieces, creating three films which are a long way from the classical music video. The three piecesreceived their radio premiere on Argentine Radio, and all three films have now been released and are on YouTube. The YouTube links are as follows, Yellow by Samuel Howley, The Spectre by Erik Valdemar Sköl, and Ostinao in 7 by Oscar Tysoe. 

The competition is planned to be an annual event, and the 2021 competition will be announced in due course. Further details from Ada Witczyk's website.

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