2016 Winning Composer is "burning bright" for Cornwall's International Choral Festival

William Blake's famous poem "The Tyger" provided the inspiration for the winning piece of new music among dozens of UK entries for Cornwall's 2017 International Male Choral Festival. 
The biennial Festival's hotly-contested Composers' Competition came to its finale at Truro and Penwith College on Saturday (September 24) with plaudits for Clive Smith of South Woodham Ferrers, Essex, and a rousing first performance of his new work by Alastair Taylor's "Celtic Male Ensemble. 

Clive, a first-time entrant of the Cornish competition, is a multi-award-winning musician, musical director and composer who studied Piano and Composition at the Royal College of Music. He has worked with both children's and adult choirs at home and abroad and is currently the regular Musical Director of Grammaticus and The Swift Singers. 

"It's been wonderful to see the growing reputation of the Cornwall International Male Choral Festival and now to be part of this prestigious event is a tremendous honour," Clive said. "The highlight of 2016 for me in winning this competition is hearing my work performed live for the very first time and here, in Truro." 

Clive was presented with the £1000 first prize and the Harold & Thelma Miller Trophy by Dr Roy Wales, the founding Festival Director and now Vice-President in a ceremony hosted by Festival President and Lord-Lieutenant of Cornwall, Col. Edward Bolitho OBE. 

The Composers' event, ahead of the Festival which runs from 27 April to May 1 2017, was open to all contenders living and resident in the UK with an aim to encourage talent and seek out top original works for male choirs of any age or background. 

The number and high quality of entries gave adjudicator and renowned composer, Dr Alan Bullard, a hard job with this year's Competition and as well as Clive Smith's winning entry he awarded another three as Highly Commended. 

"The standard was excellent and it was close run thing between a number of the compositions," he said, "but Clive Smith has given The Tyger a rhythmic and colourful setting, with effective contrast. It won't be easy to sing or play but there's no doubt that a confident performance of this song will raise the roof!" 

There were also three entries which received worthy praise from the Adjudicator, and which were duly awarded a 'Highly Commended' Certificate and status. These were:

  • Ian Assersohn - Love's Philosophy

  • Paul Ayres - The Common Singing-Men

  • Alan Smith - Remembered

The 2017 Cornwall International Male Choral Festival will see around 60 choirs converging on Cornwall, with 2000 singers of all ages and nationalities including Australians and Americans, Russians and Europeans, Welsh, Scottish, English and Cornish.