The National Centre for Early Music and BBC Radio 3 are calling for aspiring young composers to create a new work for the vibrant young recorder quartet Palisander.  The winning pieces will be premiered by Palisander in a performance at St John’s Smith Square, London on Thursday 20 May 2021 as part of the London Festival of Baroque Music and recorded for future broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show.

You are invited to create a new work for recorder quartet based on dance-forms. You can choose whatever dance-form you like across all eras and cultures, from the bransle and the galliard to the Charleston and the tango.
Read the Terms and Conditions for full details of the brief and how to apply, and take a look at Palisander’s advice about Composing for Recorder Quartet.

To apply, you must first register your interest in the award – just fill in the form by Friday 19 February 2021 at 5pm with your name and your age category.


On registering, you will receive a link to the online application form where you can also upload your score. Your completed application form and score must be received by the NCEM no later than 12 noon on Friday 19 March 2021.

If your work is shortlisted, we will invite you to the Award Day at the National Centre for Early Music in York on Thursday 13 May 2021 when the shortlisted compositions will be presented by Palisander in a day-long workshop led by composer Christopher Fox. That evening, Palisander will perform each of the pieces in the presence of a panel of judges, after which two winners will be announced, one for each of the two age categories.

This major national annual award is open to young composers resident in the UK and aged up to 25 when entries close on 19 March 2021.


It will be judged in two age categories:

18 years and under

19–25 years 

2021 Award schedule

Closing date for registration:
Friday 19 February, 5pm

Closing date for applications:
Friday 19 March, 12 noon

Successful shortlist informed:
Friday 9 April, 5pm

Award Day in York:
Thursday 13 May

Performance of winning pieces: Thursday 20 May, 1.05pm


Register your interest using the form below.


Register here by 5pm on 19 February.

You’ll receive a reply with the link to the application form.




T: +44 (0)1904 632220

National Centre for Early Music

St. Margaret's Church


York YO1 9TL

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The NCEM Young Composers Award is supported by the Mayfield Valley Arts Trust

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