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Venables wins Colossal prize

A brand new work by Canadian composer Marcus Venables wins the Cory/RWCMD Composition prize in Cardiff.

Cory Competition
  Marcus Venables stands next to Cory MD Philip Harper and the finalists and judges with his prize

A brand new composition taking its inspiration from Cory's incredible run of major championships successes and 12 year tenure as the world's number 1 ranked band, claimed the prestigious Cory/RWCMD Composition Prize in Cardiff on the weekend.

'Colossus' by Canadian composer Marcus Venables, celebrated what he called, "the greatness of the Cory Band" — with its fanfares and heroic calls to competitive battle building towards a 'colossal' finale that he said honoured the "the past, current and future members of the band".

Popular winner

Not surprisingly, it proved to be a popular winner with the band's fans at the Dora Stoutzker Hall on Sunday afternoon, although there was also rich praise from the adjudication panel of MD Philip Harper, Nigel Seaman, Composer in Residence Christopher Bond and composer Liz Lane for the compositions from fellow finalists Stijn Aertgeerts from Belgium and Mathias Wehr from Germany — all of whom had travelled to the Welsh capital for the occasion.

Stijn's 'Hope' was a reflective work inspired by the better traits of the human interaction, especially in these times of anxiety and uncertainty, whilst Mathias provided a fizzing detour into space with his exciting 'Hyperdrive' inspired by interstellar travel.

Absolute quality

"We were very impressed by the absolute quality of all three finalists," Christopher Bond told the audience. "Each had fine merits in its own way, but the winner had a certain edge and took the listener on a journey with its writing and impressive textural variety."

"We enjoyed working on all three pieces," MD Philip Harper later told 4BR. "We had over 20 high quality entries from around the world this year, and it was a really difficult task to whittle them down to the three finalists.

I must thank them all for taking the time to enter and out congratulations go to three composers who travelled to Cardiff to hear their pieces played, and to the winner in particular."


Following the presentation of a certificate and the £300 first prize, sponsored by Kapitol Promotions, Marcus Venables told 4BR: "I was very happy to even get to the final. The pieces from Stijn and Mathias were wonderful and would have been worthy winners.

Having your composition played by a band such as Cory is a prize in itself, but to have them now record it and perform it in concerts in future is a real honour."

Having your composition played by a band such as Cory is a prize in itself, but to have them now record it and perform it in concerts in future is a real honourMarcus Venables

Writing more

Marcus, who works for the Salvation Army in Toronto and who is a member of the Canadian Staff Band and the North York Temple Band is keen to write more for the banding movement (his work 'Final Supremacy' was featured at the 2019 RNCM Brass Band Festival').

"I enjoy writing for the medium, and this competition gave a focused brief of around 5 minutes, so there was a lot to think about in terms of structure. I hope to keep on writing and have a few things on my mind for the future — helped now by winning this award."

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