A MUSICAL maestro from Whitefield has been announced as a runner-up in a new national arts competition.

The competition was aimed at encouraging artistic creativity among older people during lockdown.

Frederick Naftel, 64, principal percussionist for Bolton Symphony Orchestra beat thousands of other entries in the inaugural prizes to be one of three runners up in the Chairman’s Prize category in King Lear Prizes, which attracted more than 14,000 entries.

Mr Naftel will receive a cheque for £100 for his commended entry, a piece of music entitled ‘Villancico’, which he composed for guitar and chamber orchestra.

He said: “For this work, I imagined the Renaissance court of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, where a wedding or other celebration was taking place.

“The music is inspired by Renaissance dance and early Spanish nationalism and is intended to be graceful and lyrical in equal measure. The guitar solo replicates the sound of the Spanish ‘vihuela’, a 15th century fretted plucked instrument.

“They said they liked it and I must admit, it is one of my most favourite pieces. It was very encouraging to get a mention. It has been a good year for me. I also submitted a new piece for a new music festival in Sydney and they will be using it in December.”

Mr Naftel has been a member of the symphony orchestra for more than a decade. He said ‘Villancico’ took around two days to write.

Andrew Browning, the chairman of the King Lear Prizes and a judge for the Chairman’s Prize category, said: “‘Villancico’ is a colourful orchestral miniature which masterfully captures the poise and grace of a Renaissance dance."