University composer takes national awards

University of Leeds composer Cheryl Frances-Hoad has picked up two prizes at the prestigious 2010 British Composer Awards.

In a ceremony hosted by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composer and Authors at Stationers' Hall, London, she picked up first prizes in the Instrumental Solo or Duo category for a piece entitled Stolen Rhythm from Homage to Haydn and in the Liturgical category for Psalm 1: Blessed is the Man.

The awards were presented by Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre and the former Artistic Director of the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Cheryl came to Leeds in September as the first member of the University's new Academy of Cultural Fellows. Funded by the Future Fund of Opera North, as part of the groundbreaking DARE partnership between the University and the opera company, her mission is to teach, inspire and bring music to the community. At the same time, the role is giving Cheryl the time and freedom to develop as a composer - and create exciting new music - as well as collaborating with Opera North, working on community music and theatre projects, and supervising students.

Speaking after the award ceremony, Cheryl said: "I am so honoured and delighted to have won these awards. It was such an exciting event and I could hardly believe it when they read out my name."

Professor David Cooper, Dean of the University's Faculty of Performance, Visual Arts and Communications said: "This is a wonderful accolade and one which Cheryl richly deserves. In the short time she has been at the University as the DARE Cultural Fellow in Opera Related Arts she has made a big impact, and we are all excited by the prospect of the new work which she is creating at Leeds."

Sarah Rodgers, Chair of the British Composer Awards, said: "The list of winners is indicative of new directions in contemporary music which are being determined by a new wave of young composers. BASCA is extremely proud to be playing a crucial role in helping to bring to light the work of emerging composers, alongside the exceptional achievements of more established creative artists."

Essex-born Cheryl began composing at the age of eight while studying cello and piano at the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin School. She graduated from Cambridge University's Gonville and Caius College with a triple first in 2001 and an MPhil (with Distinction) in Composition. She has since won critical acclaim and a string of awards for her work which has been widely performed both in the UK and overseas.

Her latest piece, a new song cycle for mezzo soprano and piano, will be performed in Leeds in the spring.

Further information and a full biography can be found at Cheryl Frances-Hoad.

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