Joseph pulls the strings with Proms composition

CELLIST and composer Joseph Davies has succeeded in getting the words of a girl who lost the power of speech relayed to millions of people on BBC radio. Joseph, 16, of Coleswood Road, Harpenden, took a poem written by Rameeza Mehmud, who was severely disa

CELLIST and composer Joseph Davies has succeeded in getting the words of a girl who lost the power of speech relayed to millions of people on BBC radio.

Joseph, 16, of Coleswood Road, Harpenden, took a poem written by Rameeza Mehmud, who was severely disabled by a fall in her teens, and entered it in the BBC Proms Young Composers competition.

And last Friday he learned that he was one of the winners in the 12-16 category and the song will be broadcast on Radio Three later this summer.

Joseph, who was at St Albans School before moving to Chetham's School of Music in Manchester, learned about Rameeza through the music therapist wife of his cello tutor.


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Rameeza had written a book of poetry, A Life Gained Then Lost, after the fall at her school in 2002 left her with a deteriorating disability. Eventually she lost the ability to talk and now communicates using a computer.

Joseph was approached with the idea of setting one of her poems to music, met with her to discuss the project and wrote The Story that Told My Life. His composition teacher at Chetham's was so impressed that he encouraged his prot�g� to submit it to the BBC competition.

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Joseph's mother Diane Davies said that the nicest part about the outcome was that the BBC had no idea about Rameeza's story when the competition was judged. She said: "The song won purely on its own merits and when it is broadcast on Radio Three, a girl who long ago lost the power of speech will now be able to sing to millions."

She said her son was very self-motivated and pushed himself. "He has been extremely lucky with great teachers and enjoys doing nice things for people," she added.

The piece will now be performed by professional musicians in a BBC Proms concert at Cadogan Hall, London, and all the winners from Young Composer's Competition will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 later this summer. Joseph has also been awarded a Pierre Fournier Grant for promising young cellists and has been selected from Chetham's students to enter into next year's Young Musician of the Year competition.

n Joseph will play the cello when he joins Neil Buick on piano to put on a free lunchtime concert at the St Albans School Library next Tuesday, July 7.

They will be performing Stravinsky's Suite Italienne for cello and piano at the concert which starts at 1.25pm.

There will be a retiring collection in aid of the Tanzanian Banana Tree Project, a charity devoted to helping that country's children with education and welfare.

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