A COMPOSER from Penarth has won the Fanfare competition for Cheltenham Music Festival’s 75th birthday.

Ian Lawson’s Fanfare for Three Trumpets was performed on Friday, July 5 as the opening event of the Free Stage programme, heralding three days of free concerts showcasing jazz, folk, indie, gospel and world music and family activities.

The competition attracted 75 entries from 11 countries of the world and the composers’ ages ranged from 15 to 78 years.

Ian Lawson was born in Liverpool in 1955 and now lives in Penarth.

Although media music forms a large part of his output, Mr Lawson also regularly composes concert, jazz and rock music. His orchestral work has been performed by the BBC NOW, Hallé, and the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera and his choral works have been performed on BBC R3 and Classic FM.

However, his most well-known composition has to be Fireman Sam - the theme song for a favourite children’s animation series still going strong after 30 years.

Mr Lawson said: “I am surprised and delighted to win the fanfare competition.

“For the last decade, I have been concentrating on writing music for the concert hall, having had a career in writing television music, so this is a great feather in my cap.

“I have tried to write a fanfare that will engage with a general audience, in the hope that they might be interested in exploring the festival further.”

Music festival artistic director Alison Balsom said: “It gives me an inordinate amount of pleasure that we received exactly 75 entries for this fanfare competition which I felt was the perfect 75th birthday gift to mark the festival’s long and fruitful history.

“I have been staggered by the quality of every entry.

“My most sincere congratulations and thanks go to the many talented composers that really must have put in blood, sweat, tears and no small amount of magic to create so much great music for this competition.”

The winning composition is entitled Celtan Hom after the earliest known name for Cheltenham.

Alison Balsom commented: “I picked the fanfare I could most imagine being played all around the beautiful square on the opening night, representing the joy of the festival, alongside the innovation and confident clarity that Cheltenham Festival’s new work has come to represent over the decades.

“And it will be the most brilliant clarion call to the town and far, far beyond to herald the next 75.”