Images (left to right): NYCGB Fellows 2021: Michael McCartan, Benedict Goodall, Shivani Rattan, Elizabeth Leather.  NYCGB Young Composers 2021: Kristina Arakelyan, Anna Disley-Simpson, Alexander Ho and Derri Joseph Lewis.


National Youth Choirs of Great Britain (NYCGB) has today announced the eight emerging musicians selected for its 2021 Young Composers and Fellowship programmes. The schemes each offer a fully funded, year-long programme of unique professional development opportunities to emerging professionals from a diverse range of backgrounds and musical genres.

NYCGB welcomes composers Kristina Arakelyan, 26 originally from Armenia, Alex Ho 26 from London, Anna Disley-Simpson 24 from Dorset and Derri Joseph Lewis 23 from Berkshire and Fellows Michael McCartan 24 from Newry Co.Down, Northern Ireland, Benedict Goodall 23 from Oxford, Shivani Rattan 22 from North East London and Elizabeth Leather 26 from Worcestershire.

The Fellowship programme for emerging choral leaders aged 20-27 focusses on four key areas of career, education, performance and leadership. Recently re-developed, it offers enhanced opportunities to develop ambitious and creative young musicians who want to become part of the professional choral network, as well as to re-shape it.

NYCGB Fellows have the opportunity to develop a portfolio of professional opportunities and skills including observing, training and working with NYCGB staff and members across the range of its choirs and through key involvement NYCGB’s Learning & Engagement programme. The structured workshop training on the scheme will shape the NYCGB Fellows into the young choral leaders of the future. They also benefit from a unique mentoring programme run in partnership with AOTOS (Association of Teachers of Singing). 2021 Fellows will perform as the standalone NYCGB Fellowship Ensemble and form the core of the National Youth Chamber Choir.

The Fellowship perform at high-profile venues including the Royal Albert Hall, Saffron Hall, Southbank Centre, Cadogan Hall, Snape Maltings and the Royal Concert Hall Nottingham. Recent performance highlights include the BBC Proms, Three Choirs Festival and a nationally televised appearance from Amiens Cathedral in France in the presence of HRH Prince William and other dignitaries to mark the end of World War 1.

Now in its third year, the Young Composers Scheme champions the development, innovation and diversity of new choral music. Emerging composers aged 18-29 benefit from a range of residential courses, creative retreats, workshops, peer and professional mentoring and performance showcases along with expert advice and tuition from distinguished composers. It also provides the unique opportunity to write music to be sung and performed by NYCGB’s five choirs.

Professional training and insights, and a professional recording and release for their work will be facilitated by Digital Partner NMC Recordings. Free licenses and training in Dorico Pro notation software are provided by Principal Innovation Sponsor Steinberg Media Technologies, and they will also receive unique opportunities provided by Innovation Grant Sponsors (Publishing Partner) Stainer & Bell. An annual retreat takes place at the prestigious Red House, Aldeburgh, former home to composer Benjamin Britten, in partnership with Britten Pears Arts.

High profile guest mentors and workshop leaders across the schemes include composers and musicians including Jacob Collier, Dame Sarah Connolly, Errollyn Wallen, John Rutter, Roxanna Panufnik and The Swingles. NYCGB will be making the most of newfound modes of working collaboratively and creatively together online until it’s possible to meet safely in person.

Composer Kristina Arakelyan said:

Joining the NYCGB Young Composer Scheme will provide me with the opportunity to try out new composition techniques without pressure, being mentored and having an international release and publication are all incredible opportunities which will be very beneficial for me as an early-career composer.

Fellow Benedict Goodall commented:

The NYCGB Fellowship is a fantastic opportunity to work with the best youth choirs in the country, and to study under some of the most impressive choral directors and vocal leaders in the industry.

Ben Parry NYCGB Artistic Director & Principal Conductor said:

We’re delighted to welcome eight highly talented musicians to our 2021 Young Composer and Fellowship schemes. With their diverse backgrounds, unique talent, styles and influences we are confident they will all thrive on our programmes. Developing talent and enriching the choral music sector for the future has never felt more important.

Daniel Spreadbury, Product Marketing Manager, Dorico said:

We are delighted to be building on our partnership with NYCGB for a second year. Being able to support both the new cohort joining the Young Composers scheme this year and also the commissioning of new music from one of the young composers in last year’s scheme is something we are very proud of.

Antony Kearns, Managing Director of Stainer & Bell said:

Following a tremendously successful and thoroughly enjoyable year working with the NYCGB young composers in 2020, we had no hesitation at all in signing a new long-term partnership and sponsorship arrangement in order to develop the relationship further. We’re really looking forward to collaborating closely with Kristina, Alex, Anna and Derri throughout 2021.

Lincoln Abbotts, Executive Director: Strategic Development, ABRSM commented:

It’s hugely important to be investing in the next generation of leaders, collaborators and composers. These are the creative voices that will help to shape our future, and we’re delighted to be playing our part.

View Young Composers Profiles

View Fellows Profiles