The skill of knowing how to compose in the style of classical era composers has won Bedford Girls’ School Upper Sixth student Isobel Stearn second prize in the prestigious Corpus Prize for Harmony essay competition.
Isobel, who is Post Grade 8 in violin, was tasked to compose a short movement in the style of composers such as Mozart and Haydn for string quartet when given a four bar opening. The competition is part of a series organised by Corpus Christi College, Cambridge open to all Lower Sixth students across the UK.
She was astonished to receive the prize after only entering the competition as a challenge. "I entered the competition as a way to challenge myself and test my ability to compose in that particular style and although I was fairly pleased with what I composed, I did not at all expect it to be successful!" she said.
"Although it was a little challenging at times to compose, I am really pleased I entered and very proud of the result.”
The College received a record number of entries for their subject competitions this year. Isobel attended the prize ceremony at Corpus Christi College on March 5 with Sixth Form Director Dr Jennifer Walters.
Dr Walters said: “It is very exciting that Isobel’s work has won recognition and we are very proud of her. Equally, her motivation in entering the competition was simply to challenge herself to work within conventions less familiar to her musically. Her openness to experiment and contest in the first place is equally deserving of note."
The awards were presented by Professor of Economics Andrew Harvey, who congratulated the students on their achievements and emphasised the value of avoiding a narrow focus on subjects.