We are pleased to present this years entries from the Tom Michie Composition Competition 2022.

Awarded for the best original composition, arrangement or improvisation by a pupil from the Senior School. Mrs Sheena T Michie donated it in memory of her husband, Tom Michie who was born on 1st September 1904. He entered RGC from Kittybrewster Primary School in 1916 and left in 1921. Mr Michie was a well-known local musician and poet. He lived at Watchmaker’s Cottage, Tarves. A former President of Aberdeen Bach Choir, he was also a member of Haddo House Choral Society and, for 33 years, was organist and choirmaster at both Tarves Parish Church and Haddo House Chapel. He was a keen sportsman and was Captain of Gordonians’ Hockey Team from Season 1931- 32 until 1939-40 and again in Season 1946-47. He died on 30 June 1992.

This year the Music Department has changed the way the annual Tom Michie Prize for Composition is awarded. 

Traditionally, the prize was awarded annually for the best original composition, arrangement or improvisation by a pupil from the Senior School. Following the recent SQA updates, removing the composition element from the music curriculum, our Music department launched the new competition to ensure the opportunities for creativity continued.

Former pupils, Dexter Fawcett, Class of ‘17 and Sandy Buglass, Class of ‘07 met in London to judge the five entries received across the Senior School. The entries were diverse in style and comprised pieces in a Scottish style, pop songs and a minimalist composition for piano.

Congratulations to the winning entry 'Reciprocate' by S5 pupil Emma R. Dexter and Sandy shared with Emma: "It is clear there has been a real focus on lyrical input here which is glorious and a real triumph. This is coupled with a very simple but effective topline. You have phenomenal lyric writing, something both of us would love to have been able to write at your age!"


Dexter commented: "This was a real pleasure for us to listen to and enjoy, emphasised even more so by the great variety across genre and compositional style. All pieces had unique elements and we were all well executed in their respective fields."

Sandy added: "We’d love to hear more music from you all and hopefully you are all encouraged to continue composing post-RGC.

Mr Pearson, Assistant Head of Music shared: “Recent changes to the SQA Music curriculum temporarily removed the requirement for pupils to create their own music composition. Despite this, we have continued to encourage pupils to write their own music and we are, as always, very impressed by their creativity. Composition is something that our musicians enjoy and the standard remains very high. Well done to all our pupils - and especially to Emma - for their fantastic compositions.”

Sandy Buglass, is a professional guitarist, lecturer, and songwriter, with notable sessions including Cher, Pet Shop Boys, Kiesza, Pixie Lott, and America’s Got Talent. He has also composed music for companies such as Subway, LinkedIn, and Nescafé.

Dexter Fawcett studied songwriting at the Institute for Contemporary Music and has since been a familiar face in the UK performing and writing scene, collaborating and working with artists such as Lewis Capaldi, Texas, Paloma Faith, Amy McDonald and writing for up and coming UK TikTokers.