2024 Pianist Composing Competition results announced!

15 March 2024
By Erica Worth
And the winner is...

We are delighted to announce Isabel Morrison, Northumberland, as the winner of the 2024 Pianist Composing Competition!

Morrison delighted the judges with her quirky composition, Comme vous voulez. A long-term subscriber, Morrison teaches the piano in Northumberland (UK) where she has run a well-established piano practice for over 40 years. ‘I have been receiving Pianist since it first came out and I still have almost every copy!’

This was not the first time Morrison entered. ‘I’ve tried on two occasions before – one with an original composition, Forget-me-not, and the other with a piano arrangement of a Charles Aznavour song. I am absolutely speechless that I’ve won this time!’ Morrison has always enjoyed composing, over the years writing short piano pieces, one or two songs/choral works, recorder music for use in festival competitions, and so on.


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Perfect for the intermediate-level pianist, Comme vous voulez ‘didn’t take long to write – it’s short and not at all complicated,’ she says. ‘I tend to write my ideas out on manuscript initially, then once it has taken form I put it onto Sibelius from where I can then edit to my heart’s content. By the time I submitted it I knew I wasn’t going to change anything else in it.’

And what of the title itself? ‘For many years my husband and I have regularly gone to Montmartre in Paris, on holiday. It is ‘mon autre vie’, my other life! Over the years I have been fortunate enough to play the piano in a couple of piano bars over there and have become good friends with several of the resident pianists. Fascinated by their different styles of playing, I started composing individual piano pieces for some of them, aiming to reflect their unique styles. I composed Comme vous voulez (meaning ‘as you wish/as you please’) for Antoine Rousseau – a talented pianist and musician, particularly excelling at Improvisation. I wanted to compose a short piece for him which would lend itself to improvisation.’

Morrison receives a black Kawai ES920 piano. ‘I have a lovely acoustic which I use for teaching and playing. I also have an old digital piano which I can transport if I’m playing anywhere. I organise Students’ Recitals twice a year and also run workshops for my students, and I hire a local venue for these events and take my digital. I had recently been thinking I really ought to have a much better piano for these occasions – so now you can imagine my utter delight at winning this Kawai! What a treat this will be for my students when they play at the next Students’ Recital! It’s going to be put to good use, in so many ways!’

The competition’s runner-up was Catherine Fettig, with her nostalgic folk-style Westinato. Special mentions also go to William Johnston’s The Diamond Dance, Lori Jean Follis Wadsworth’s Nuit Étoilée, Daniel Swain’s Bach Goes to Bergen, William Chen’s Chess Squares, James Woolwine’s Quick Jig and Rob Colley’s Nocturne.

Comme vous voulez will be published inside Pianist 139. Thanks to over 100 entrants to the competition who ensured a tough day of decisions.