2016: Freya Ireland

RPS-Duet Prize Young Composer Prize winner

Awarded: £1,500 and professional UK commission

Freya Ireland is 18 years old and attended Pate’s Grammar School in Cheltenham. She plays percussion, clarinet and piano, and sings in a number of local choirs. As a composer, Freya has had her setting of Jeremiah’s Lamentations performed by The Tallis Scholars and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 as the winning piece of the NCEM young composers’ competition 2014.

She has recently been commissioned to write a number of works for local choirs including the Tewkesbury Abbey choir, Gloucester Choral Society, and the Oriel singers. In November 2014 she was a finalist in the Nonclassical composers’ competition, with a piece that involved musicians and singers in four different countries playing a work via video links, this piece was singled out for praise in the Daily Telegraph's review of the event.

In 2016, Freya was principal composer for the National Youth Orchestra, having joined the composing section in 2013; her music has been performed by members of the NYO in Birmingham Symphony Hall, Tate Britain, Royal Festival Hall and other prestigious venues.

Freya was appointed RPS/Wigmore Hall Apprentice Composer, a new initiative announced in Autumn 2016 in association with the Duet Group. Freya will benefit from both formal and informal teaching and advice from Wigmore Hall Composer in Residence, Helen Grime. Her apprenticeship will run throughout Wigmore Hall’s 2016/17 season, during which time she will also write a new work. (October 2016)

Hear Freya's commission "Puzzled" below, performed by the Cavendish Winds:


Graham Johnson, pianist: awarded RPS Honorary Membership in 2010 for his 'unstinting championship of Song'.


Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, commissioned by the Society in 1825, is still the most requested work on the BBC's Desert Island Discs.