Winner announced for Cheltenham Music Festival's 75th Birthday Fanfare

Posted on

Ian Lawson, a composer from Penarth, South Wales has won the Fanfare competition for Cheltenham Music Festival’s 75th birthday. The Fanfare for Three Trumpets will be performed on Friday 5 July at 5pm as the opening event of the Free Stage programme, heralding three days of free concerts showcasing jazz, folk, indie, gospel and world music and family activities.

For the last decade, I have been concentrating on writing music for the concert hall, having had a career in writing television music, so this is a great feather in my cap.

Ian Lawson, Fanfare competition winner

The competition attracted 75 entries from 11 countries of the world and the composers’ ages ranged from 15 to 78 years.

Ian Lawson said: “I am surprised and delighted to win the Fanfare Competition for Cheltenham Music Festival’s 75th Birthday celebration. For the last decade, I have been concentrating on writing music for the concert hall, having had a career in writing television music, so this is a great feather in my cap. I have tried to write a Fanfare that will engage with a general, non-specialist audience, in the hope that they might be interested in exploring the Festival further. I very much look forward to hearing the Fanfare performed at 5pm on Friday.”

Trumpet virtuoso and Music Festival Artistic Director Alison Balsom said: “It gives me an inordinate amount of pleasure that we received exactly 75 entries for this fanfare competition which I felt was the perfect 75th birthday gift to mark the Festival’s long and fruitful history. I have been staggered by the quality of every one of the entries. My most sincere congratulations and thanks go to the many talented composers that really must have put in blood, sweat, tears and no small amount of magic to create so much great music for this competition.”

It will be the most brilliant clarion call to the town and far, far beyond to herald the next 75.

Alison Balsom, Music Festival Artistic Director

The winning composition is entitled Celtan Hom after the earliest known name for Cheltenham. Alison Balsom commented: “I picked the Fanfare I could most imagine being played all around the beautiful square on the opening night, representing the joy of the Festival, alongside the innovation and confident clarity that Cheltenham Festival’s new work has come to represent over the decades. And it will be the most brilliant clarion call to the town and far, far beyond to herald the next 75.”

Ian Lawson was born in Liverpool in 1955 but grew up in Wrexham albeit of mixed Scottish and Welsh parentage. On his Welsh side he is related to the composer Grace Williams. At University College Cardiff his post-graduate composition tutor was Alun Hoddinott.

Although media music forms a large part of his output, Ian also regularly composes concert, jazz and rock music. His orchestral work has been performed by the BBC NOW, Hallé, and the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera and his choral works have been performed on BBC R3 and Classic FM. However, his most well-known composition has to be Fireman Sam – the theme song for a favourite children’s animation series still going strong after thirty years.