Commonwealth Music Competitions

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Launch of Commonwealth Music Competitions 2018
Akbar Khan, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and Simon Haw MBE, winner of the Commonwealth Music Competition 2016 at the launch in Westminster, London, UK.
Photo credit: Chris Lobina

On Monday 10 December 2018, on the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 1948, the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, launched the Commonwealth Music Competition 2018 and the Commonwealth Children’s Choir Competition 2018.

At the launch Akbar Khan, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, said:

“The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) joins citizens across the world to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ‘magna carta’ for all mankind, adopted by the UN General Assembly on this day in 1948.

Parliaments are the cornerstones of national protection systems and play a critical role in ensuring a State’s compliance with their international human rights obligations and, critically, share a responsibility with other branches of State to protect, respect and fulfil human rights.

The CPA works to support the increasingly important role of parliaments and parliamentarians in holding governments to account on human rights. This role has grown significantly, not only in the breadth and depth of topics that routinely form the legislative programme of a 21st-century parliament, but also with an increasing focus on adherence to international human rights standards.

The CPA welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir (CYO) in using the CYO’s Commonwealth Music Competition 2018 as a means of using the arts to inspire us all to deliver on the goals of the UDHR. To achieve this, one part of the competition will be to write a song that reflects the values of the UDHR. This is an excellent example of Commonwealth organisations working collaboratively to promote human rights in the Commonwealth.”

At the launch the winner of the Commonwealth Music Competition 2016, Simon Haw MBE, said:

“I was honoured to be the winner of the Commonwealth Music Competition 2016 for ‘A Song For The Commonwealth', which the CYO recorded in the same year. The song has now sung by many thousands of choirs across the Commonwealth.  

Following the success of ‘A Song For The Commonwealth’, the CYO have given me a large number of composition commissions and recording opportunities which have helped to develop my work both as a composer and conductor. These CYO commissions have been used at key moments and events in the Commonwealth Calendar - most notably, ‘Earth Dance' dedicated to Her Majesty The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, which was written, recorded and presented to The Queen in 2018, on the occasion of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting at Buckingham Palace in April 2018.

As winner of the Commonwealth Music Composition 2016, and as a Commonwealth Music Ambassador, I have been working in collaboration with the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir for some three years, both a conductor and composer and this has been a hugely creative and rewarding period of music composition and recording.

I have enjoyed working with the CYO’s orchestras and choirs and in the Commonwealth Music Workshops involving musicians from across all 53 nations of the Commonwealth and I am very grateful for all the very many creative opportunities that the CYO have provided”.

Commonwealth Music Competitions Schedule

Commonwealth Music Competitions are open to all Commonwealth Citizens.
The schedule of Commonwealth Competitions is as follows:


2014      Commonwealth Music Competition 2014
              Winner - Natasha Senanayake

2015      Commonwealth Community Choir Competition 2015
              Winner - Port Harcourt Male Ensemble

2016      Commonwealth Music Competition 2016
              Winner - Simon Haw MBE

2017      Commonwealth Community Choir Competition 2017
              Winner - National Youth Choir of Antigua and Barbuda

              Commonwealth Children’s Choir Competition 2017
              Winner - Choir of St Michael’s School, London Borough of Newham



2018      Launched on Human Rights Day Monday 10 December 2018
              Commonwealth Music Competition 2018

              Commonwealth Children’s Choir Competition 2018


2019      Commonwealth Community Choir Competition 2019
              Commonwealth Children’s Choir Competition 2019

2020      Commonwealth Band Competition 2020
              Commonwealth Children’s Choir Competition 2020

2021      Commonwealth Music Competition 2021
              Commonwealth Children’s Choir Competition 2021

2022      Commonwealth Community Choir Competition 2022
              Commonwealth Children’s Choir Competition 2022

2023      Commonwealth Band Competition 2023
              Commonwealth Children’s Choir Competition 2023

2024      Commonwealth Music Competition 2024
              Commonwealth Children’s Choir Competition 2024

Commonwealth Music Partnership Commonwealth Music Competitions Commonwealth Music Commonwealth Music Council Commonwealth Community Heritage Commonwealth Music Company Commonwealth Music Distance Learning