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

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

The deadline for the award is on the 31st of October each year.

 Applications and submissions of music are now open 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.