Ludlow teen on song to win BBC Young Composer of the Year

A Shropshire teenager has been named a winner of the BBC Young Composer of the Year competition for a piece that she recorded in her bedroom on her phone during lockdown.

Rowena Jones
Rowena Jones

Rowena Jones, 15, from Ludlow only started composing last year when a shoulder injury meant she was unable to play her harp, her favourite instrument.

The talented musician took the joint title for the 15-16 year old category with her composition, Spring 2020.

Her win could now see her continue on her composing journey.

A former pupil at Packwood Haugh School, Rowena won a scholarship to the Purcell School for Young Musicians in Hertfordshire which she now attends, to study the harp.

Proud mum, Jayne, said: "She hurt her shoulder last year and, unable to play the harp, her teachers gave her some composition work, something she had never done before. It seems she was a natural composer and they continued to encourage her to write music."

With the Composer of the Year competition taking place during lockdown Rowena had to record her piece, not in a recording studio at school but in her bedroom at home.

She played each of the four pieces that make up Spring 2020 on four different recorders, from bass to descant and filmed each one on her mobile phone.

Watch Rowena's performance:

"I had to make a very heavy curtain to hang over the door of her bedroom so that it would stop any sounds from outside getting in," her mum said.

The school then stitched the four videos together and the final piece was sent off to the competition and six months later she has been declared a joint winner.

"Rowena is a wonderful young lady who has been through so much and still manages to thrive and shine.

"Before lockdown she was giving her time and music for free to local community groups such as Rockspring in Ludlow because she loves playing and felt it would be appreciated by others."

She said her daughter's interest in music began when she was about three years old.

"Her elder brother was learning to play the recorder at school and would leave it and his music and stand in the hall. She would just pick the recorder up and start playing it and we realised then that she had a real talent for music. We are not a musical family and I am so proud that she has achieved so much at the age of just 15."

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