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Napier Students Hit Right Note With National Award

Tuesday, 03 February 2009

One of the city's emerging composers has beaten national opposition to win a prestigious music award.

Steven Kelly has won the Sibelius Student Composer of the Year 2008 Film award. His one minute original work, set to Paul Kousoulides and Teun Hilte's film 'Inferno', impressed the panel of judges sufficiently for him to secure the top prize in the 17 to 18-year-old category.

A panel of expert judges including; Dario Marianelli (Oscar winner for Atonement); Howard Goodall (music education ambassador) and Michael Price (Music Editor on The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring) deemed Steven's entry to be the best.

Steven said: "There were eight clips to choose from and after watching a couple I was worried that there wouldn't be one that I'd connect with. But when I saw the clip that I selected to use I could hear the music in my head and I started mapping it out as the clip played. The actual recording was sequenced on computer and I wrote and produced the piece in one day.

"It was an amazing surprise when I found out that I'd won. I didn't even think I'd get shortlisted, let alone win. I was reluctant to enter because the competition was so big but I'm so happy to have won and I'm really looking forward to the awards ceremony."

The 18-year-old from Edinburgh is currently in the first year of his BMus in Classical Music course at Napier University.

Kenneth Dempster, lecturer, creative industries, at Napier said: "I have been his composition teacher since September and I'm really enjoying that special, quite exciting, musical relationship that can exist between a teacher and his student. Receiving this award is a dream come true for a composer at the outset of his career - his CV is already beginning to look impressive.

"Steven is a talented young composer with a natural ability to capture instantly, in his music, a powerful and distinctive mood. He also has a fine sense of dramatic timing and a good ear for harmonic rhythm. These qualities, aligned with a kind of 'visual' musical imagination, means that scoring for film comes quite naturally to him."

The accolade also comes with a selection of prizes. Steven will receive a master class with one of the star judges of the competition, and receive a host of computer equipment and software to help launch his career.

Dr Stephen Davismoon, Subject Group Leader, at Napier's Ian Tomlin School of Music, said: "Winning such a prize is fantastic for his career. Its reputation is exceptional, boasting entries from across the UK and a jury of heavy weight industry specialists."

Both Napier's undergraduate composition programmes, Classical and Contemporary, were represented in the Sibelius short-listings with Josh Sabin also reaching the final seven in the 17 to 18-year-old Film category of the awards.

Steven will be officially honoured at an awards ceremony Royal Academy of Music in London on February 12 where he will also see his entry screened.



About Napier University

Napier is a friendly, lively, modern University, with campuses conveniently located around south central Edinburgh - one of the UK's most student-friendly cities. Napier offers over 200 undergraduate and post graduate courses and has over 14,000 students from over 80 countries. Napier was ranked number one for Graduate Employability in Scotland (HESA 2008) and the number one modern university in Scotland - The Guardian University Guide 2009 (published in May 2008).


About Sibelius

Sibelius develops the world's bestselling music notation software used by over 180,000 musicians and music educations around the world. Oscar-wining film composers, world-famous classical and jazz musicians and all major sheet music publishers rely on Sibelius for its legendary print quality and ease of use. Sibelius is used in over 75% of all secondary schools in the UK, as well as high schools around the world.