The Alvarez Chamber Orchestra

Free Style

Composition Competition 2010




Following the success of the the 2009 competition Plucked from Nowhere, the Álvarez Chamber Orchestra (ÁCO) invited composers of any age and nationality to submit pieces for the 2010 Free Style awards by September 21 2010. As the title of the competition suggests, there was no specification as to the length or nature of the work, in addition, there was  no restriction on the number of works submitted by each composer or the date of their creation.


The ÁCO is pleased to announce the winner of the Ł1000 first prize:

Torsten Philipp Herrmann for Pivot, the opening of which is heard here.  


Adjudicator Giles Swayne, composer-in-residence, Clare College, Cambridge  considered the work well heard, well written and consistently imaginative.

Torsten was born in Jülich, Germany in 1981. He studied composition with composers of international stature such as York Höller and Frédérick Durieux and amongst his previous awards include scholarships to the International Summer Course in Darmstadt, and the first prize in Jugend Komponiert in NRW. Whilst continuing to pursue studies in composition, from 2005 he has been composing electronic music under the guidance of Wolfgang Heiniger at the Hans Eisler Conservatory as well as mathematics and philosophy at Humbolt University.


A professional copy of Sibelius 6 donated by Avid was awarded to Stephen Yip for Ink. Color.



Jury member, Edwin Roxborough, formerly professor at the Royal College of Music, winner of many awards including the Cobbett medal for services to music, now teaching at Birmingham Conservatoire, wrote of the work:


A highly imaginative and well-crafted score, full of textural brilliance and intensity. Excellent presentation.



Stephen Yip was born in Hong Kong and now lives in the U.S.A. Yip's music has been performed frequently on the international stage, including the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, Israel, Austria, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Korea and China. Amongst his numerous awards include the Haifa International  Composition Prize and the First International EPICMUSIC Composition Prize, Italy.


The adjudicators met on November 8th at the Spiro Ark. Whilst the judges concurred over the marks awarded for many pieces, some that were by distinctive voices polarised the panel. 

Three works receive honourable mentions: Breath by Phivos-Angelos Kollias born in Greece, currently living in France, Time Fields by the Canadian composer Robert Baker and Void  by Turkish composer Murat Yakin.  It was unfortunate that some submissions of great distinction were not eligible to be judged as they did not fulfil all of the criteria the regulations of the competition stipulated. This year there were significant contributions from Australian composers whilst, unlike last year, African composers were not represented at all.


The jury of the 2010 Freestyle composition competition panel (right to left): Edwin Roxborough and Giles Swayne (quoted above), Simon Campion, music publisher, associate advisor to the ACO, orchestra, Geoffrey Álvarez, prize winning finalist in the 2006 Tansman Composition Competition in Lodz Poland and Paul Patterson, recently awarded the highest Polish award, the Gold Medal, composer-in-residence with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and Manson Professor of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music.

The competition was administered by Trevor Huntley, treasurer of the ÁCO assisted by secretary Phillip Costen and invigilated by Audrey Ellison, J Audrey Ellison International Artists' Management


If you wish to encourage the work of the ÁCO, donations may be made by clicking on this:




The ÁCO would like to thank the Spiro Ark for generous provision of space suitable for the adjudication.

The ÁCO is now accepting entries for the 2011 competition, Going for a Song.


Geoffrey Álvarez
Artistic Director/Conductor
The Álvarez Chamber Orchestra

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