Scotland’s best young composer is … English

Alexander Papp, 16 has won Scotland’s national orchestra’s Notes From Scotland, its annual competition for 12-18 year olds. His work, titled Progeny, was inspired by Glen Coe.

Alexander is in Year 11 at Bedford School in the Home Counties, studies violin at Junior Guildhall (JGSM) in London and is an Associate Composer with the Britten Sinfonia Academy. In September, he will take up a scholarship at the Purcell School at Bushey, on the outskirts of London.


photo: Martin Shields/RNSO


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  • Art is not defined by borders. I don’t believe reading anywhere that this competition was for the scott’s only.

  • Competitions for ‘young composers’ are bad – for the poor contestants as well as for the profession. The impression is given that one can write meaningful music at a young age, and that the field is a healthy one with a professional future. Nothing is more besides the truth, and the poor youngsters are given the false reassurance that they may have a career. The best they may get out of such competitions is a nice but narrow path, paved with well-meaning misunderstandings, in the nonsense field of meaningless hip, where the money is, but no serious music. They are lured into a trap. If music was so easy, everybody would do it – and because so many people are indeed doing it, the myth lives on. Poor young man!

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