Opera North has launched a new competition for composers, the Leeds-based company has announced. Minute Masterpieces is aimed at emerging and yet-to-be-discovered writers from all backgrounds and traditions, with the company asking for new 60-second pieces on the theme of ‘Home’ to be performed by award-winning ensemble, the Orchestra of Opera North.

These mini-masterpieces will form part of Opera North’s celebrations around the opening of the redeveloped Howard Opera Centre, the company’s new headquarters in the heart of Leeds, later this year.

Up to six successful compositions will be recorded by the orchestra, as well as being performed for a live audience as part of the company’s 2021-22 Kirklees Concert Season, with one to be premiered at each of the orchestral concerts. Additionally, each of the winning composers will receive a commissioning fee of £500.

The judging panel will comprise Opera North’s Music Director Garry Walker, Director of Orchestra and Chorus Phil Boughton, Professor Rachel Cowgill, professor of music at the University of York, and award-winning sitarist and composer Jasdeep Singh Degun.

Minute Masterpieces is aimed at early career or emerging composers, rather than established artists. Each piece should be one minute long, although those up to 15 seconds longer or shorter will be accepted. They should be composed on the theme of ‘Home’ and scored for orchestra only – no vocal works.

Composers will have the following orchestral elements to work with (but don’t have to use them all): two flutes (one doubling piccolo); two oboes (one doubling cor anglais); two clarinets (one doubling bass or E flat clarinet); two bassoons; four horns; two trumpets; three trombones; tuba; timpani; two percussion; harp; and strings (10 firsts, eight seconds, six violas, five cellos, three basses).

The competition is open now. To enter, composers should submit a sound file, along with a full score where possible, together with a brief CV or description of experience, to minutemasterpieces@operanorth.co.uk. If you are unable to supply a score, the panel will judge the work on the sound file alone. The closing date for submissions is Wednesday 20 July 2021.



Opera North is calling on emerging composers to submit a 60-second composition to new music-writing competition Minute Masterpieces.