The Martin Read Foundation’s annual festival premiered six new musical works at the Church of St Lawrence in Alton on April 23.

Established in 2014 following the sudden death of Alton music teacher and composer Martin Read, the foundation has a mission to support young composers.

Its 2023 award holders – Felix Sladen-Jewell, Josh Clark, Joe Jolliffee and William Dear – are young Hampshire composers who produced new short pieces for solo cello.

Two foundation alumni – Samby Anderson and Freddie Hodkin, also from Hampshire – wrote short new works for flexible ensemble and choir respectively.

The audience was impressed at the maturity of the pieces by these young composers.

To mark ten years since Martin Read’s sudden death at the age of 53, the festival produced a high-quality performance of his cantata from 2000, The Death Of Colonel Boles.

It was played where Colonel Boles was killed during the Civil War, to illustrate the festival theme of ‘War’.

The Death Of Colonel Boles was played to a large and appreciative audience, with professional musicians working alongside amateurs.

Performers included Paul Sheehan (Boles), Joseph Spooner (cello), Carl Clausen (drum), members of Oxford-based choir Commotio, other local singers, a recorder quintet and David Gibson (conductor).