Composition Competition at Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

16 July 2021

We have all experienced great challenges over the last 18 months, none other than our students - the next generation of singers, musicians, designers, choreographers, and composers.

While we at Welsh National Opera regularly champion the greats – Rossini, Puccini, Mozart, Verdi – and commission new works by composers such as Iain Bell, Elena Langer and Will Todd (to name but a few) we also take great pride in supporting and developing the next generation of composers. Our most recent offering to the students at Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama [RWCMD] is just one example.

In a bid to create new and dynamic musical masterpieces for WNO Orchestra’s trombone section, we launched a competition for students registered at RWCMD to compose a 3-movement companion piece to Beethoven’s Drei Equale für vier Posaunen – a selection of three short equals commissioned in Autumn 1812 as tower music on All Souls’ Day – which was performed by WNO Orchestra and broadcast alongside Beethoven’s Symphony No 1 in C Major and Symphony No 2 in D Major on BBC Radio 3 as part of their Cardiff week in February 2021.

Six finalists were chosen by our panel of adjudicators which included former RWCMD student and WNO Female Conductor in Residence Tianyi Lu, WNO Orchestra Section Principal Trombone Roger Cutts and RWCMD Director of Music, Tim Rhys Evans.

The finalists were Tomos Owen Jones (Three Equals for Trombone Quartet), Isaac Prince (Three Miniatures for Trombone Quartet), Jake Thorpe (By The Lakes Edge), Yasmin Browne (Piece for Trombone Quartett), Jared Destro (Olive Tree Hymn Op. 79) and George Owen (From The Last Cloister).

All composers were invited to join our trombone ensemble - Roger Cutts, Christopher Augustine, Dafydd Thomas and Alan Swain – for a workshop where all compositions were recorded. Every composition can be enjoyed on our YouTube channel.

After much deliberation we are delighted to announce that the winner, and who’s work will be performed during our 2021-2022 Season, is Tomos Owen Jones, a BMus Vocal Studies student at RWCMD. His work, Three Equals for Trombone Quartet was composed to complete the harmonic journey of Beethoven’s work and contains an originality that would be appreciated by audiences and performers alike. Llongyfarchiadau | Congratulations Tomos. Commendation is also given to Jake Thorpe, who’s composition By The Lakes Edge captivated the panellists.

Three Equals for Trombone Quartet, Tomos Owen Jones