A new competition invites budding young composers to write a piece of choral music inspired by the natural world to raise awareness for endangered wildlife.


Launched in partnership between the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation and the English mezzo-soprano Laura Wright ( pictured), the Breathing World competition is aimed at composers aged 12-18, with the winner receiving the opportunity to develop their piece alongside professional musicians before it is premiered and recorded live.

The deadline for the entries, which must each be up to five minutes long, submitted in SATB (soprano, alto, tenor and bass voice) form and written within the last five years, is 5pm on 30 September 2022.

Commenting on the competition, Laura Wright said: ‘I’ve been a DSWF Ambassador for 4 years and they continue to inspire. Having visited Zambia to witness the incredible work they do firsthand, I couldn’t feel prouder to be part of their family. The DSWF Wildlife Artist of the Year competition has been a global success and I’m confident this new composition competition will add to the educational work DSWF does while empowering the next generation to understand the complicated layers of conservation.’

DSWF chief executive Georgina Lamb - granddaughter of the late great conservationist and wildlife artist, David Shepherd - added: ‘The arts have always been a way to celebrate and showcase the natural world, all its colour and glory. Giving back and supporting the source of our inspiration is the concept DSWF was built upon, to repay the debt my grandfather David felt he owed to wildlife for his painting success. Breathing World pays homage to this legacy, a celebration of our greatest inspiration – nature’.


Photo: Laura Lewis


Hannah Nepilova is a regular contributor to BBC Music Magazine. She has also written for The Financial Times, The Times, The Strad, Gramophone, Opera Now, Opera, the BBC Proms and the Philharmonia, and runs The Cusp, an online magazine exploring the boundaries between art forms. Born to Czech parents, she has a strong interest in Czech music and culture.