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Sennheiser UK, Warp Records support Oxford/Sennheiser Electronic Music Prize

10 finalists performed a range of compositions through an eight-position K-array setup

In partnership with Sennheiser UK, the Faculty of Music at the University of Oxford in early November held the final of the Oxford/Sennheiser Electronic Music Prize (OSEMP) for original composition.

Sennheiser UK, which supplied prizes for the OSEMP winners, has a long relationship with the Faculty of Music. Its work with the university includes supporting the Oxford Surround Composition and Research studio (OSCaR), a bespoke, state-of-the-art electronic music studio which opened last year.

The OSEMP was set up by Oxford to highlight the increasing importance of electronic music in its teaching and research programmes. The aim of the competition, also supported by Warp Records, was to find “the most innovative new works in electronic music” by composers aged 35 or under nationwide.

The 10 competition finalists performed a variety of pieces, which ranged from stereo to eight-channel surround sound, through an eight-position K-array setup. The judging panel comprised noted electroacoustic composers Natasha Barrett and Trevor Wishart and the faculty’s own professor of composition, Martyn Harry.

The panel chose Samuel Barnes, and his composition The Nature in Devices, as the winner, with Sam Kendall’s One Fast Move or I’m Gone and Daniel Cioccoloni’s (main picture) Deep Time in second and third places, respectively (pictured, L–R, above). Sennheiser provided prizes, including headphones and microphones, for all three.

Barnes tweeted:

“It was a fantastic opportunity for us to team up with a company with the international reputation of Sennheiser to support our activities in sound recording and studio composition,” says Eric Clarke, heather professor of music at the Faculty of Music. “We’ve already benefitted hugely from both the expertise of the people who work for this renowned company and from their outstanding audio equipment. We hope to continue to develop the relationship long into the future.

“OSEMP attracted a huge field of entries, 10 outstanding finalists and three extremely talented winners. In many ways, though, it was the audience in the packed Jacqueline du Pré music building who were the real winners. They were fortunate to be present at a memorable evening of terrific music. We’re already looking forward to next year!”