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Alex Woolf announced as Classic FM’s 25th Birthday Commissions competition winner

Alex Woolf, recent graduate of St John’s, is one of seven winners of Classic FM’s Birthday Commissions competition.

Alex, former BBC Young Composer of the Year and Music graduate, is one of seven composers who have been commissioned by Classic FM to write a composition as part of their 25th Anniversary celebrations.

The 25th Birthday Commissions competition, in partnership with the Royal Philharmonic Society, was created to commission six new pieces of classical music to showcase outstanding young musical talent across the UK to their audience of over five million listeners. The winning pieces were written by composers who are no older than Classic FM itself, with the seven winners ranging from 16 to 23 years old.

The entrants’ work was looked at by an panel of judges, including Classic FM’s Composer in Residence, Debbie Wiseman, and composer for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Paul Mealor.

Alex read Music at St John’s and graduated in 2016 with triple First Class Honours in Music. Alex’s piece O vos omnes was dedicated to the Choir of St John’s, and it has performed regularly by the choir since its première last year. He has also written pieces for St John’s Voices, the College’s mixed-voice choir, who he used to sing with and recently toured with to the Far East. His music has been played by the BBC Symphony Orchestra on Radio 3 and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, and has been performed in venues such as the Royal Festival Hall, Snape Maltings Concert Hall and Maida Vale Studios as well as in Holland, Germany and the United States. He was the 2012 Young Composer of the Year, and that same year he became Principal Composer of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and won the National Centre for Early Music composition award. Alex is a current member of the London Symphony Orchestra's Panufnik Composers Scheme, writing music for the LSO to be premiered in 2018.

Alex and the other young composers will each be allocated an event where their music will be premiered, including The Welsh Proms and Classic FM’s 25th Birthday Celebration with the Royal Liverpool Orchestra. The composers will each be paid professional rates for their work, which will be recorded live and broadcasted to Classic FM’s listeners.

Sam Jackson, Classic FM’s managing editor said, “The Royal Philharmonic Society very much shares Classic FM’s mission of bringing classical music to as many people as possible, and their support of new music is second to none. Together, we’re looking forward to seeing how these young musicians rise to the challenge of composing for Classic FM!”

To read about Music at St John’s, visit the Music subject page.