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Cathedral stage for a prodigy.

Byline: Neil McKay

ACOMPOSITION by a musical prodigy from Northumberland is to be broadcast nationwide after winning a prestigious competition. Where is Thy God? by Durham University music student Ben Rowarth was this month judged the best piece of music in the age 19-25 category of the York-based National Centre for Early Music's 2012 Composers Awards.

It will be performed in Durham Cathedral on Saturday for a concert which will be recorded by BBC Radio Three to feature in the Early Music Show on July 1. Ben, who is aged 20 and from Hexham, began his musical life as a chorister at Hexham Abbey, where he later went on to sing bass and became organ scholar in 2009.

Currently a second-year music student at Durham University, he sings with a number of choirs both in and outside the city. As a composer, he specialises in choral music and has twice been commissioned to compose music for the theatre.

Saturday's concert features the internationally-renowned choir, The Tallis Scholars, with a programme spanning centuries of choral music up to the present day. The Scholars will be joined by Durham Cathedral Choir for part of the concert singing works for double choir by Palestrina and Giovanni Gabrieli.

The Tallis Scholars' director Peter Phillips, pictured left with Ben, said: "Once again it is a great pleasure for us to have the opportunity to showcase young talent in a magnificent space.

"What more could a composer of sacred music want than to be performed alongside Palestrina and Taverner in a building like Durham Cathedral? It should make for a wonderful Diamond Jubilee Weekend event."

Delma Tomlin, director of the National Centre for Early Music predicted "a thrilling evening" in a "glorious venue".

The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove, Dean of Durham, said: "We are delighted to welcome The Tallis Scholars, along with the young composers who have won the National Centre for Early Music's 2012 Composers Awards,

BBC Radio Three and of course our own choir.

"It is highly appropriate to host such a concert here at Durham where the British choral tradition is celebrated continually as the Cathedral Choir sings music to inspire in worship. The concert promises a wonderful evening of choral music."

Tickets for the concert at 7.30pm on June 2 cost from pounds 10 to pounds 30 (concessions pounds 7 to pounds 25) and are available from the Gala Theatre Box Office at 0191 332 4041 and www.galadurham.co.uk
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 28, 2012
Words:410
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