Melissa Barstow, a 12 year old student with Trinity Laban's Junior Trinity department for gifted young musicians, has won the 2012 European String Teachers Association (ESTA) Young Composer competition (UK division).
This exciting new competition for young composers is being run by ESTA in partnership with The Purcell School. The multi-talented violin and piano student won the Junior section with her composition,J'attends, J'espere, and went on to be selected as the overall winner.
A shortlist of finalists attended a workshop at the Purcell School earlier in October to present their works and hear them performed by students at the Purcell School. The winning composition in each class will be performed at the ESTA Conference on 11 November.
Now in her second year at Junior Trinity, Melissa started composing at an early age and has had successes in several local music festivals. Her interest developed further through attending general musicianship classes at Junior Trinity last year. The talented Tonbridge youngster is now taking the intensive one year Junior Trinity GCSE course, well ahead of her peer group at school.
Mum - and music teacher - Celia gave her reaction: "We were stunned actually. String groups/ensembles performed all of the finalists' compositions, and then the winners of each category were announced. We were delighted to hear Melissa's name as the "Junior - 12 & Under" winner; but then the adjudicators announced her as the overall winner, saying thatJ'attends, J'espere,was the piece that had most "moved" them.
"Melissa learned such a lot from the day, particularly about the practicalities of producing something that others can play. It was a really rewarding experience for her - and all the young composers who took part."
Junior Trinity students continued to shine at the competition as another Trinity Laban student, Sam Hall, won the 17-19 group. Sam recently gained Highly Commended in the BBC Proms Inspire Young Composers competition for his composition, "Nightmare on 52nd Street", which was performed by the Aurora Orchestra. He is one of six composers in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.
Now in his second year at Junior Trinity, Sam studies composition, saxophone quartet, musicianship, improvisation, vocal consort, Four-Part choir, Big Band. Always busy, Sam also wrote a piece which was performed at Southbank Centre at the U Dance Festival with dancers from Trinity Laban in July (curated by Kerry Nicholls, a Trinity Laban dance alumnus and a Junior Trinity parent).