Culture & Creative IndustriesNews

Ahead of its rescheduled 2021 season (taking place 16-25 September), Investec International Music Festival (IIMF) is delighted to announce the launch of its new initiative to encourage young music-makers in Surrey – part of its wide-ranging plans in 2022 to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Ralph Vaughan Williams.


The beautiful Surrey Hills landscape has long been a source of inspiration for British composers, perhaps most notably Ralph Vaughan Williams, who spent much of his life in and around the Dorking area. As part of their plans to celebrate the composer’s 150th anniversary next year, the Surrey based Investec International Music Festival hopes to encourage the next generation of budding young composers with the launch of a brand new competition.


IIMF Chairman Julia Pearson: “2022 is going to be a fantastic year full of celebrations for the Surrey Hills’ – and the nation’s! – best-loved composer. We wanted to ensure that here in the area which inspired so much of his glorious music, we marked the anniversary not just by looking back at Vaughan Williams’ own legacy but also forwards to the next generation of Surrey composers. We can’t wait to review the submissions in January and discover how the entrants have interpreted the brief!”


The competition is open to composers aged 18 or under who live or attend school or college in Surrey at the closing date. They are invited to compose a 4-8 minute piece of music to express what their vibrant county means to them today, scored for any combination of violin, cello and piano.


The eminent jury includes Charlotte Bray, Ivor Novello Award-winner and composer of the festival’s 10th anniversary commission ‘Germinate’; Stephen Goss, composer & Professor of Composition at University of Surrey; and the festival’s Artistic Director and esteemed pianist Wu Qian.

The winning work will be given its world premiere with the composer in attendance on 5th May 2022 as part of the Investec International Music Festival’s 2022 season. They will meet the performers — members of the internationally acclaimed Sitkovetsky Trio — and receive a £500 cash prize. Second and Third prize-winners will also be invited to attend, meet the performers and receive cash prizes.


The closing date for submissions is Friday 14 January 2022. Please visit to find out how to apply and for further information.



Educational initiatives and audience development


This new competition is just one element in IIMF’s on-going commitment to encouraging the next generation of musicians. Alongside the regular opportunities it creates for young artists to gain invaluable performing experience, the festival has also been supporting for the last 5 years the local String Scheme which provides a year’s free violin or cello tuition to Year 4 pupils in local primary schools. The Scheme was established by the Royal Grammar School, Guildford in 2012 and launched initially at St Thomas of Canterbury School. IIMF became involved in 2016, supporting its expansion to Sandfield School, and then in 2018 securing additional funding through the Community Foundation for Surrey to enable a further extension to Boxgrove School. The Scheme continued to run throughout the pandemic thanks to the dedication of the organisers and professional tutors, via online tutorials, Zoom sessions and socially distanced appointments for tuning and repairs to instruments.


This year has also seen IIMF join forces with their new media partner BBC Radio Surrey/Sussex to launch a new Sunday Listening Club – a regular monthly slot in which Festival Manager Isabel Dawson introduces themed playlists aimed at drawing in the station’s general audience to enjoy an eclectic range of works, and broadening the appeal of classical music.


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