Schellhorn Prize winning entry receives its World Premiere

The winning entry of the 2015 inaugural Schellhorn Prize for Sacred Music Composition received its World Premiere during the recent Triduum services in the City of London.


Ecce Quam Bonum, a setting of Psalm 133 by young composer Marco Galvani, was performed as part of the Easter Vigil Mass at St Mary Moorfields.

As the winner of the Prize, Marco received £500 in addition to the performance.

Classical pianist Matthew Schellhorn founded the prize in 2014 to foster artistic endeavour and encourage excellence in the Sacred Liturgy. The prize is open to composers aged 26 or under, regardless of nationality, who are studying, or have studied at any conservatoire or university in England or Wales.

Marco, 20, from Prenton on the Wirral, said: ‘It was an honour to hear my piece performed. It was a beautifully moving service.’

Matthew Schellhorn, who conducted the performance at St Mary Moorfields said: ‘It was a pleasure to perform Marco’s piece on Holy Saturday. I found it very effective indeed and all the singers really enjoyed getting to grips with it in rehearsal. Many people said afterwards how much they enjoyed the piece and – importantly – how much it complemented such ancient ceremonies. I shall follow Marco’s career closely.’

The Schellhorn Prize is supported by Latin Mass Society, which supported the performance. Chairman Joseph Shaw said: ‘We congratulate Marco Galvani for so successfully putting modern musical techniques and style to work for the Church, for the liturgical tradition, and for the glory of God. He has demonstrated that the Church’s musical patrimony is not all in the past: that today’s composers can continue to add to it.’

Forthcoming performance of Ian Wilson's Stations

Matthew Schellhorn will perform Ian Wilson's groundbreaking solo piano work, Stations, at Chelmsford Cathedral during Holy Week.

Ian Wilson: Stations

Following the successful release of Matthew Schellhorn's disc of the work on Diatribe Records in 2014, this concert will the only opportunity in 2015 to hear Stations performed complete live.

Tuesday 31 March 2015 in Chelmsford Cathedral, Chelmsford CM1 1TY at 8pm

"Wilson builds his spare yet rigorous reflections on the Stations of the Cross towards dramatic climaxes. Matthew Schellhorn's crisp, committed performance avoids melodrama and sentimentality."
Barry Witherden, BBC Music Magazine, May 2014

Buy the CD from Diatribe Records

Matthew Schellhorn writes on sacred music for The Catholic Herald

Matthew Schellhorn has written about sacred music for The Catholic Herald.

Catholic Herald

In the article, he expresses his hope that the Catholic Church can continue to attract quality new music: 'I like to imagine that the Church has a future once more as patron of musical art.'

Read the full article

Winner of the Schellhorn Prize for Sacred Music Composition announced

The winner of the 2015 inaugural Schellhorn Prize for Sacred Music Composition has been announced.

Marco Galvani

Young composer Marco Galvani wins a £500 prize and a world premiere during the Holy Week services at St Mary Moorfields Catholic Church in the City of London.

Marco, 20, from Prenton on the Wirral, is a second-year Music student at The Queen’s College, Oxford. His piece
Ecce Quam Bonum, a short setting of the first verses of Psalm 133, will be performed on Holy Saturday.

Marco said: ‘Winning this prize means an awful lot to me. I put a lot into the piece, I pushed myself more than I had before and tried out more complex ideas.

‘I have been singing choral music for as long as I can remember, and it’s an amazing feeling to win a prize for a choral piece that I have composed myself. I’m very excited about having my piece performed in London.’

Classical pianist Matthew Schellhorn founded the prize in 2014 to foster artistic endeavor and encourage excellence in the Sacred Liturgy. Matthew said: ‘The competition is aimed at 18 to 26 year olds, which is the age when musicians need financial help and encouragement and some kind of infrastructure. It is hoped the prize will provide an incentive and build up a working relationship.’

‘I was delighted to work with four leading practicing musicians in order to recommend a winner. Judging was a tough call because many of the entries displayed a high degree of compositional merit and sensitivity. Marco’s piece was outstanding, and further it is performable by a small group making it adaptable in the real world.

In addition, the Trustees have given an honourable mention to the following: Robert Busiakiewitz for
Kyrie, Barnaby Martin for Gloria, Thomas Neal for Pange lingua.

Matthew added: ‘Encouraging people to write liturgical music helps to raise the standard of contemporary music in Catholic churches. Currently lots of brilliant liturgical music is commissioned but is performed in concert and not in the Sacred Liturgy. This prize helps re-establish the link between liturgical music and the Church.’

The Schellhorn Prize for Sacred Music Composition is supported by the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales. Chairman Joseph Shaw said: ‘I am delighted that the Latin Mass Society has taken part in this important initiative of the Schellhorn Trust to encourage young composers to tackle liturgical music. I congratulate Marco for his winning piece, which will be a worthy part of our Holy Week services in St Mary Moorfields, London, this year.’

New review for Stations

Online review site MusicWeb International has published a new review for Matthew Schellhorn's latest solo disc, Ian Wilson: Stations.

MusicWeb International

Hubert Culot writes: "Matthew Schellhorn's committed approach is aided by his unfailing technique to bring out the best of this extraordinary construction. His beautifully shaped performance is also well served by an excellent recording allowing for a natural piano sound that never sounds aggressive even in the more forceful moments. … Ian Wilson's Stations is a major addition to the piano repertoire of the twenty-first century."

Read the full review