Congratulations to undergraduate student Shuyu Chen

Shuyu Chen, an undergraduate student in the School of Music, has been awarded a composition prize, awarded by the School and Berlin-based new music ensemble, Ensemble Adapter.

Composition staff within the School are engaged in a Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence-funded project, called ‘Teaching Musical Composition in the Twenty-First Century’, which aims to embed professional practice in composition teaching.

During their module, students write music as though for a real commission, for a real-world ensemble, in this case the German-Icelandic Ensemble Adapter, with whom they have contact during the module.

Alongside ‘regular’ assessment, composition staff and ensemble members judged student submissions using the same criteria Ensemble Adapter use for their regular ‘Adoptions’ competition: the idea must be clear, the notation detailed, the piece look like it would be fun for the ensemble to work on and develop and it must speak to the players.

Shuyu’s piece, ‘I am afraid’, met all these criteria, imagining a complex set of romantic relationships between the players of the ensemble, which they work through (or don’t!) across the course of the piece. 

The ensemble’s harpist, Gunnhildur Einarsdóttir, said the piece had “a clear idea, clear score, precise indications” and that the ensemble had enjoyed the narrative behind the music.

Shuyu commented: “I am thrilled to hear that Ensemble Adapter liked my composition. It is an honour for me to win the prize; this experience truly motivated me to pursue a career as a composer.”