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Composers Song Writing Competition 2024

We invite composers up to the age of 35 to compose a song to original English words.
Composers must choose texts from one of the eight poems by Amy Lowell listed below.
Songs can be for any voice type and piano.


1st Prize: Gus Tredwell for 'Winter ride'

2nd Prize: Jack Redman for 'Bright sunlight'

Joint 3rd Prize: Michael Gee for 'Climbing', and Dimitrios Androniadis for 'Falling Snow'

There were 13 entries in total. Our thanks to everyone who entered the competition.

The first and second prize-winning songs will be performed at the London Song Festival AESS Prize-winners concert in November, date TBC.


Deadline for sending completed song accompanied by entry form is April 6th 2024.

The entry form is at the bottom of this page

Please register your interest by emailing the Chairman,

Sarah Leonard  -

All applicants should complete the online form on the AESS website and send their compositions by pdf file through the website.


1st prize £500,

2nd prize £300,

3rd prize £200.

The winning song will be performed at the AESS Prize Winners’ concert in The London Song Festival in 2024

Judging Panel

Professor Robert Saxton

Stephen Gutman

Nigel Foster

Rules of the 2024 AESS English Song Composers Competition

Composers can be of any nationality.

Upper age limit 35

Song can be for any voice type and piano (no other instrument)

Songs must last no longer than 6 minutes.

Manuscript should not contain the composers name, only their pseudonym.

Completed songs should be sent in a PDF file format together with the application form at the foot of this page.

The results will be announced by April 30st 2024.

All entrants will be given feedback from the judges.

The winning song will be performed at the AESS Prize-winners concert in The London Song Festival in the autumn of 2024

Previous Winners of the Song Composition Prize

AESS Song Compostition Prizewinners
Download PDF • 118KB


Our suggested criteria for what we are looking for – The song should communicate the poem to the audience.

The text should be set imaginatively and intelligently – with an awareness of underlay and word stresses. Good vocal writing with appropriate ranges for the voices chosen.

Good piano writing using figures or textures appropriate to the text and not obscuring the singer.

Well chosen notation, spelling of chords and choice of terms.


Amy Lowell  American poet -  9/2/1874 – 12/5/1925 . 150 year anniversary.


Bright Sunlight


The wind has blown a corner of your shawl

Into the fountain,

Where it floats and drifts

Among the lily-pads

Like a tissue of sapphires.

But you do not heed it,

Your fingers pick at the lichens

On the stone edge of the basin,

And your eyes follow the tall clouds

As they sail over the ilex-trees.


A Winter Ride


Who shall declare the joy of running!

Who shall tell of the pleasures of flight!

Springing and spurning the tufts of wild heather,

Sweeping, wide-winged, through the blue dome of light.

Everything mortal has moments immortal,

Swift and God-gifted, immeasurably bright.


So with the stretch of the white road before me,

Shining snowcrystals rainbowed by the sun,

Fields that are white, stained with long, cool, blue shadows,

Strong with the strength of my horse as we run.

Joy in the touch of the wind and the sunlight!

Joy! With the vigorous earth I am one.


Falling Snow

The snow whispers around me

And my wooden clogsLeave holes behind me in the snow.

But no one will pass this way

Seeking my footsteps,

And when the temple bell rings again

They will be covered and gone.



You are ice and fire,

The touch of you burns my hands like snow.

You are cold and flame.

You are the crimson of amaryllis,

The silver of moon-touched magnolias.

When I am with you,My heart is a frozen pond

Gleaming with agitated torches.



The Painted Ceiling

(Two verses  have been cut  from this poem. )

My Grandpapa lives in a wonderful house

With a great many windows and doors,There are stairs that go up, and stairs that go down,

And such beautiful, slippery floors.

But of all of the rooms, even mother's and mine,And the bookroom, and parlour and all,

I like the green dining-room so much the best

Because of its ceiling and wall.

Right over your head is a funny round hole

With apples and pears falling through;

There's a big bunch of grapes all purply and sweet,

And melons and pineapples too.I am sure they are magical fruits, and each one

Makes you hear things, or see things, or go

Forever invisible; but it's no use,

And of course I shall just never know.

For the ladder's too heavy to lift, and the chairs

Are not nearly so tall as I need.I've given up hope, and I feel I shall die

Without having accomplished the deed.

It's a little bit sad, when you seem very near

To adventures and things of that sort,Which nearly begin, and then don't; and you know

It is only because you are short.



High up in the apple tree climbing I go,

With the sky above me, the earth below.Each branch is the step of a wonderful stair

Which leads to the town I see shining up there.

Climbing, climbing, higher and higher,

The branches blow and I see a spire,

The gleam of a turret, the glint of a dome,

All sparkling and bright, like white sea foam.

On and on, from bough to bough,

The leaves are thick, but I push my way through;

Before, I have always had to stop,

But to-day I am sure I shall reach the top.

Today to the end of the marvelous stair,

Where those glittering pinacles flash in the air!

Climbing, climbing, higher I go,

With the sky close above me, the earth far below.

The Taxi

When I go away from you

The world beats dead

Like a slackened drum.

I call out for you against the jutted stars

And shout into the ridges of the wind.Streets coming fast,

One after the other,Wedge you away from me,

And the lamps of the city prick my eyes

So that I can no longer see your face.

Why should I leave you,To wound myself upon the sharp edges of the night?

The Trout

Naughty little speckled trout,

Can't I coax you to come out?

Is it such great fun to play

In the water every day?

Do you pull the Naiads' hair

Hiding in the lilies there?

Do you hunt for fishes' eggs,

Or watch tadpoles grow their legs?

Do the little trouts have school

In some deep sun-glinted pool,

And in recess play at tag

Round that bed of purple flag?

I have tried so hard to catch you,

Hours and hours I've sat to watch you;

But you never will come out,

Naughty little speckled trout!


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