Schoolboy wins Proms composer award

A talented musician from Mount St Mary’s College in Derbyshire has won the Junior Category of the highly prestigious BBC Proms Inspire Young Composer of the Year. The award winning composition by 17-year-old Harry Castle will be performed by professional musicians at this year’s BBC Proms. It will also be broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

This year, the BBC Proms Inspire Young Composer of the Year competition attracted hundreds of entries from 12 to 18-year-old composers. It has been running since 1978 and is renowned for discovering outstanding new talents. Past winners include Thomas Hewitt Jones, who is celebrated for his commercial and ballet scores, and Alissa Firsova, whose first major BBC commission was premiered at last year’s BBC Proms.

Harry said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been selected as one of this year’s winners. I have always looked up to the people who have won the competition in the past, and it seems a bit surreal now that I am one of them! I’m very excited about the opportunities the competition brings and I’m really looking forward to hearing my piece at the proms.”

Head of Music at Mount St Mary’s College, Lucy Kitchener, described the award as an exceptional achievement. “Whilst Harry is very well known as a performer in the local area, his composing skills were apparent to us in the works he produced for his GCSE and A level,” she said.  “Harry manages to combine lovely melodic lines with unusual and exciting harmonies which make his music dynamic and accessible to all. His ability to write successfully in a wide range of musical genres could lead to wonderful opportunities for him in the future.” As the Junior Category winner this year, Harry will also be invited to compose a piece for the Aurora Orchestra, a professional chamber ensemble based in London.

Last October, Harry was selected to join the highly acclaimed London-based Rodolfus Choir, which is one of the leading youth choirs in the country. He was awarded A* in his music A level, which he took two years early and is a scholar of the Royal Northern College of Music. He achieved grade 8 distinction in violin and piano at the age of just 13 and achieved  A* in GCSE Music at the age of 14. He will take on the role of Head Boy at Mount St Mary’s College from September and is hoping to study music at Cambridge after completing his A Levels next year.