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Young composer Frederick Viner wins Sage Gateshead's Mozart's of Tomorrow Competition.

Posted on 25 January 2016

On Friday 22 January, the audience of Royal Northern Sinfonia’s Virtuosos concert helped establish the future of the chamber music repertory as they, alongside a distinguished panel of judges, selected the winner of the Young Mozart’s Competition. The winner, 22-year old Frederick Viner, astonished audiences with his work Sleeping Gomatz, inspired by Mozart’s aria Ruhe Sanft, Mein Holdes Leben from the unfinished opera Zaide.

Viner’s work takes the scene from the opera where the protagonist, Zaide comes across Gomatz sleeping under a tree, and proceeds to sing him a lullaby. The young composer presented this scenario from the perspective of the unconscious Gomatz, manipulating the aria’s original theme through inversions and obscure orchestral textures. Judging panel member John Casken commented:

“Frederick Viner has written a ravishing piece which uses the orchestra in an expressive and interesting way. The harmonies and textures he draws from Mozart’s original aria are constantly engaging and the piece has a clear structure and sense of purpose. I would certainly want to hear this piece again.”

The young composer hails from Tonbridge Wells, Kent, and is currently in his third year of studies at the University of York. Specialising in both piano and composition, his work for Royal Northern Sinfonia is one amongst many, including a bagatelle for organ which features in the Ebor Organ Album. He has also undertaken arrangement projects, including current endeavour, a piano arrangement of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony.

The second-prize winner was 23-year old Anna Appleby from Newcastle upon Tyne and student at the Royal Northern College of Music, with her work Federalizing Zoo. Third prize went to 26-year old King’s College London student Jocelyn Campbell for her work (3rd sonata for piano) for orchestra.

The finalists were whittled down from a large number of entries, selected by the judging panel consisting of Sally Beamish, John Casken and Agustin Fernández as well as Royal Northern Sinfonia’s Music Director Lars Vogt. The overall winner Fred Viner was awarded £2,500 with the two runners-up taking home prizes of £1,500 each.

The competition features as part of Royal Northern Sinfonia’s Reclaiming Mozart journey, as Lars Vogt and the orchestra attempt to shine a new light on the composer’s work. Read Lars Vogt’s piece in The Guardian as he argues the importance of the chamber orchestra and the need for new works written for the smaller forces, as fulfilled by the Mozart’s of Tomorrow competition.

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