ON MONDAY, May 30, it was revealed that the recipient of this year’s National Urdd Eisteddfod Chief Composer Prize – and the youngest ever winner of a Main Award in the festival’s history – is 12-year-old Shuchen Xie from Cardiff.

On the opening day of the 2022 Denbighshire Urdd Eisteddfod the three finalists in the competition were invited onto the stage for the ceremony to reveal who was in first, second and third place in front of a live audience. This development in the order of the main ceremonies has been inspired by the success of the Eisteddfod T digital festival over the last two years, and will continue for all main ceremonies this week.

Shuchen has won the Chief Composer Prize for composing a piece for a string quartet entitled Rhapsody in G minor. The competition’s judge, Mared Emlyn, was encouraged by the standard of the competition with the ensemble entered by Shuchen under the pseudonym ‘Endurance’ “a pleasure to see and hear.”

A pupil at St John’s College, Cardiff, Shuchen is a passionate musician who plays the piano, saxophone and cello. For three years she has been studying the Junior Conservatoire composition course at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Composition appeals to Shuchen and she reached the final round of NCEM & BBC Radio 3 Young Composers Award in 2021 (a competition for the under 18’s) as well as winning many prizes at the Abertawe Festival for Young Musicians over the years. She is a familiar face at the Urdd and has performed on the national stage many times. In the winning piece, she explores different emotions by varying the tempo and using Tango and Scherzo rhythms.

In her adjudication, Mari Emlyn said: “I was encouraged by the standard of competition this year, and with the standard being so high it was very difficult to separate them. I was amazed by the ability of the winning composer to move between different keys, harmonies and tempos so naturally. Congratulations to everyone.”

Shuchen receives the Grace Williams Memorial Medal created by jeweller Rhiannon from Tregaron. The competition is sponsored by Côr Ruthun and the ceremony sponsored by Denbighshire Council. Second in the competition was Gwydion Powel Rhys from Cylch Bangor Ogwen and Kai Edward Fish from the Rhymney Valley came in third place.

Results for all competitions can be found on s4c.cymru/urdd

The Denbighshire Urdd Eisteddfod will be held throughout this week, May 30 – June 4. You can join the fun on TV, radio and online and there will be results and information on the s4c.cymru/urdd website and on the Urdd’s social media with the hashtag #Urdd2022.