The Iain Macleòid Young Composer Award



Young Composer Award







The Iain Macleòid Young Composer Award

The Young Composer Award is an annual competition based award issued by The Clarsach Society. In 2018, the award name was updated in memory of John Macleod. The Award is now called The Iain Macleòid Young Composer Award.

Composers aged between 16 & 25 years of age are invited to present an original piece of music lasting no longer than 10, and no less than 8 minutes, suitable for:
a) Solo Clarsach/Non-pedal harp
b) Clarsach/Non-pedal harp and up to 3 other instruments and/or voices

Competition Rules

1. All entries must be received by 5pm on the closing date.
2. The work must be the unaided work of the entrant and be an original composition. It
must not have been previously performed, published or disseminated in anyway.
3. The full score in pdf format plus recording of the composition in MP3 format must be
submitted together.
4. The recording must match the score.
5. The composer’s name should not be stated on the score or MP3 file.
6. Entrants under 18 years of age must have permission to enter this competition.
7. The successful entrant must also be willing to write a short report on winning the
award for publication in the Society’s Annual Report and on its website.
8. The copyright of the music shall remain with the composer.
9. The cost of the premier performance only, including travel costs for musicians involved
(limited to travel within the UK) will be met by Edinburgh International Harp Festival.
10. The composer must be available to perform their composition at the next Edinburgh
International Harp Festival (date of concert TBC).
11. In the case of a non-harpist submitting a work, it is the composer’s responsibility to find
the artist(s) to perform the work at the premiere performance.
12. The judges’ decision will be final.

All submissions should be sent to

The award is £500 plus a premiere performance at the Edinburgh International Harp Festival.

Applications and submissions of music are now closed for 2019-20 


Photograph: Times photographer James Glossop Harpist Rachel Groves, winner of The Times carol competition. For T2. Edinburgh, Scotland. 15-11-15

Photograph: Times photographer James Glossop Harpist Rachel Groves, winner.


Rachel Groves

My interest in composition began when I began playing the clarsach aged 11, and although I’ve written for different instrument combinations, there’s something really special about creating music to play on the harp. I have been writing music for the past few years, but especially since attending the Sound and Music Summer School in 2015, a weeklong composing course for 14-18 year olds. I’ve always been really interested to hear the previous entries of the Young Composers Award and thought I would love to compose something for the competition myself. I was so surprised and delighted when I got the letter to say I’d be able to play my music on the EIHF stage!

I decided to write a duet for clarsach and pedal harp, as their isn’t a lot of music around for this combination, and I think they each have something unique to offer. The light, delicate sound of the clarsach balances well with the fuller timbre of the pedal harp and its rich bass. The composition is called ‘Sun Moon and Stars’ and divided into three music movements, each evoking the atmosphere created by the three ‘lights’ of the sky.

I’m very grateful to the EIHF for setting up this award and to the Imlay Foundation for their support in funding it. In September 2017 I’m heading to Edinburgh University to study music where I’ll have the chance to work with experienced composers. It’s such a privilege to be able to play and create music on this wonderful instrument!


The Clarsach Society is most grateful to the Imlay Foundationwhose generous donation is supporting this Award.