2020 CBSO scholars announced

Michael Taplin, © Kevin Leighton

We are delighted to announce that the two composers selected to be holders of the King's College / Hartley Rogers CBSO Scholarship in Orchestral Composition 2019-2020 are Katrina Toner and Michael Taplin. Katrina is a first year undergraduate and Michael is in the first year of a PhD in Composition.

The Scholarships are the result of an exciting partnership between the University of Cambridge and one of the world’s leading orchestras, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO). Funded through a visionary gift from Hartley Rogers, they will give Katrina and Michael the opportunity to write a substantial piece for the full orchestra of some eighty players. The new pieces will be workshopped and professionally recorded in two separate workshops in Birmingham in September 2020 and January 2021. The schedule – and indeed the concept and design of the Scholarships - is designed to allow the selected composers to be bold, inventive and to take risks. Their music will also be featured in a chamber music concert to be given at King’s College by members of the Orchestra.

Katrina Toner

Katrina's music has been performed at prestigious venues such as Milton Court, Birmingham Symphony Hall, The Courtauld Institute and St James’s, Piccadilly. She has recently completed two pieces for the Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge and St John’s Voices, both of which will be premiered in 2020. She is currently reading music at the University of Cambridge, having previously studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. 

Katrina has participated in international music festivals including Curtis Summerfest, the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and the European American Musical Alliance Summer Institute. In the summer of 2019 she took part in the Bowdoin International Music Festival and the highSCORE Festival, where several of her pieces were premiered. She has received masterclasses from internationally recognised composers such as Steven Mackey, Melinda Wagner, and Jean-Baptiste Barrière. She was the 2017/18 composer in association with the City Chamber Choir and as part of this scheme her piece Clouds Away was performed at the Church of St Anne and St Agnes in July 2018. In 2016 she won the New London Children’s Choir Composition Competition. Katrina was also a finalist in both the English Schools’ Orchestra Composing Competition and the National Centre for Early Music Young Composers Award.

Michael Taplin

Michael is a composer of orchestral, large ensemble and chamber music. His music has been performed by some of the UK's leading orchestras and ensembles including the Philharmonia and the London Symphony Orchestra. Recent highlights include the premiere of Lambent Fires (commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society) and Ebbing Tides (which received critical acclaim when premiered with the London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Fabien Gabel). Ebbing Tides is scheduled to be released in early 2020 on the LSO Live Label as part of the third edition of the LSO Panufnik Legacies Series.

Michael is increasingly becoming in demand abroad with performances and premieres of his music in prestigious international music festivals such as the Archipel Festival in Geneva, Switzerland, 2017 ISCM World Music Days' in Vancouver, Canada and most recently at the 2019 Gaudeamus Muziekweek. Michael is currently pursuing a PhD in Composition at the University of Cambridge, supervised by Richard Causton.

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