RPS Classical Writer's Competition: Interview with Thomas Gibbs

We interview last year’s RPS Classical Writer’s Competition joint bronze-winner about their experience writing about music

RPS Classical Writer's Competition: Interview with Thomas Gibbs

The Royal Philharmonic Society recently announced that they are opening up entries for this year's Young Classical Writers prize. If you're between 16 and 25 and you'd like to write about something to do with classical music, why not give it a shot? To give you some inspiration and a little insight into the competition, we decided to speak to some of last years' winners and get their perspective on writing music and how they got involved in the competition.

165aba0f2280215fb73fc5851de454406beff713.jpgThomas Gibbs is a composer, performer and writer from the Berkshire Downs

How did you hear about the RPS Young Classical Writers Prize?

I think I’d just stopped by the RPS website to see what my composer colleagues were getting up to, saw it advertised, et cetera (a great little lesson in oneness!)...

What did you choose to write on, and what led you to write about that topic? 

I wanted to explore my relationship with Ernest Bloch’s Symphony for Trombone and Orchestra. It’s a piece I’ve known intimately since I was really quite young, and so reinvigorating the journey we’d shared felt like reinvigorating music as a whole.

What is your experience writing about music, and what brought you to do so?

Ugly programme notes, trifling essays, cringey Facebook posts. But I love it, so here I am. 

Is it something you’re likely to do more of in the future/in what capacity?

I’m deeply thankful to be where I am, and if we find fresh paths, I’ll meet them with fresh thanks.

Is there anything else you’ve written or created out there for our readers to explore? 

With everyone else, I caught the MMXX Beethoven bug. Groundbreaking Beethoven scholarship? Good grief, no - but perhaps it might prompt someone to write something they don’t think needs to be written! 

What advice would you give young musicians and writers about writing about music?

Do it, remembering that you are the World finding itself - just breathe, and write to yourself, for yourself (you can’t get it ‘wrong’...). And if the result wants honing by others with more experience, so be it! 

The closing date for applications is 11 am on Tuesday 22 March 2022. For more information, visit the RPS website

Header Image Credit: Image taken with permission from the writer's website


Christopher Hill

Christopher Hill Contributor

I am a musician, musicologist, and music journalist. I did my BA in music at the University of Oxford and am currently doing a PhD in music performance practice at the University of Birmingham.

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