Announcing the winner of the Pianist 2021 Composing Competition

19 March 2021
By Erica Worth
'Our Mortal World' scoops the prize

Congratulations to Patrick Dailly from Cambridge, the winner of our 2021 Composing Competition! Patrick wowed the judges with his imaginative composition, Our Mortal World. 

A regular reader of Pianist, Dailly is a self-employed piano teacher with about 30 pupils. He also loves to compose: ‘Composing, for me,’ he tells us, ‘is like a perpetual experiment: will this work? will that work? how about I start over again, but this time do it differently?’

As for Our Mortal World, he says: ‘There was an idea behind the piece. Language, and particularly poetry, have always seemed close bedfellows with music. The phrase “mortal world” appears in the last stanza of WH Auden’s Lullaby. I like the way that Auden plays around with strong, resonant phrases which seem to make sense, but in a dreamlike way. I wanted to achieve this in my piece.’ 

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Dailly chose the Kawai CA99 as his prize: ‘I’ve seen the amazing reviews. When I teach, I like to have two keyboards in the room, and the high-quality digital piano will be a wonderful sister to my Hoffmann upright!’

The competition’s runner up was Lori Wadsworth from Ontario, Canada, for her evocative Remembering Cathie. Other pieces that impressed the judges were John Brooks’s Johnny’s Tune; Michael Frassetti’s The Little Ballerina; Alex Gilchrist’s Rita’s Tango; Michelle Lord’s Walking the Dog; Emeka Emele Onuoha’s My Heart’s Dance; Joel Thomas’s Sonatina; Adam Maximilian Boone’s Qui Ferme Pour la Nuit; and Sławomir Zachariewicz’s Polonez Nr 2.

Our Mortal World will be published in the next issue. Thanks to over 150 entrants to the competition, who ensured a high standard and a tough day of decisions! A full report follows.