Young local musician wins BBC Proms composer competition

A musician from Bradford has won a competition which champions some of the UK’s most promising young composers.

Isabel Wood, whose winning piece ‘Inhale. Exhale.’ will be performed at the BBC Proms by a professional orchestra and broadcast on BBC Radio 3, beat a high standard of entrants from across the country to top the senior category (17-18 years) of the BBC Proms Inspire Competition.

Isabel WoodThe Leader of Bradford Youth Orchestra, Isabel has been playing in the district’s Music & Arts Service groups for many years, and is a former pupil at the service’s Delius School for talented musicians in Bradford, where she began to discover composition at the age of seven. She started playing piano when she was three years old and took up violin at age five.

Isabel is also a composer with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and recently completed seven years of tuition at Yorkshire Young Musicians, where she studied composition and piano.

Reacting to her award, Isabel said, “I am thrilled to have been selected as a winner for this year’s competition and I was in shock when I found out that I had won. I think the competition is really important to budding young composers, particularly as there are fewer opportunities for young people to get their pieces performed by professional musicians and it's amazing to have this opportunity at such an early stage in my life.

“It's still rather surreal to me that this is happening, particularly as I still feel like I'm just a regular Yorkshire girl and so many previous winners have been surrounded by professional musicians for much of their lives. It's a real honour to be a part of the Proms and I am really looking forward to hearing my piece at the concert and listening to the audience's reaction afterwards.

“My first experience of composition was at Delius School back in 2007. I really enjoyed the creative process of writing music and I vividly remember coming home from school and working on string quartets and solo piano pieces. The staff at Delius were always very encouraging and my last year there was when I began writing music using the different approaches which we were taught. I believe that without Delius I would never have had such a passion for composition and I am truly grateful that such centres exist for young talented musicians, particularly in the north.”

Tony Johnson, Head of Music & Arts for Bradford Council, said “We’re so proud of Isabel’s achievements. She fully deserves to win the BBC Inspire competition and we’re delighted that such a talent from Bradford is receiving national recognition for her years of dedication and passion. Long may it continue.”

Competition winners will have their winning pieces performed by Aurora Orchestra, conducted by Christopher Stark, at a special Inspire Concert at the BBC Radio Theatre on 22 August 2018. Winners also receive a BBC commission and are mentored by a professional composer.

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