Joel hits the right note

Joel Knee, previously at The Petersfield School, recently won the prestigious Michael Hurd Young Composers Award. The competition is part of the Petersfield Music Festival and was established following the local composer's death in 2006 with the aim of giving local young composers a platform to showcase their music, and to support them in their development as a musician. Winners receive a cash prize and the chance to perform their music at the Petersfield Music Festival in March.

Joel is a composer and trombonist in his second year at College studying Music, Music Technology and BTEC Subsidiary Diploma in Jazz.

'I found out about the competition through college, and they supported my involvement. I wrote a jazz piece entitled See You Soon for 9 musicians which draws influences from Jazz & Big Band musicians such as Kenny Wheeler and Dave Holland. The piece is dedicated to Phil Singleton, who gave me individual composition lessons last year as part of the Hampshire Education Hub Composition Scholarship Scheme. Phil left his long career at Alton College at Christmas to move to France. I now have my lessons with another College teacher, Pande Shahov, who has taught me things that have inspired me to write this piece.

I performed the work at the adjudication day on 30 January with my full band and was awarded first prize with high praise from the whole judging panel which included world renowned composers such as Jonathan Willcocks and Roxanna Panufnik. It was a great experience for me hearing the quality feedback and the other entrants compositions. I intend to use the award to help finance several lessons with the esteemed Canadian composer and bandleader Christine Jensen; her music has influenced me greatly.'

Once Joel has completed his studies at College, he will be starting his studies in Jazz Trombone and composition at the Royal Academy of Music from September. He also plans on entering the BBC Young Composers Competition, and pursuing a career in trombone, jazz and composition.

The winning composition will be performed at the Petersfield Music Festival on 16 March, with follow-up performances at the Martin Read Festival and the Swanage Jazz Festival.

Find out more about studying Music at Alton College here