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Liverpool Philharmonic Launches 2023 Rushworth Composition Prize

Thursday 20 April 2023

Liverpool Philharmonic is accepting applications for the 2023 Rushworth Composition Prize, in association with the Rushworth Foundation.  

Now in its ninth consecutive year, the prestigious Rushworth Composition Prize provides an exceptional range of talent development opportunities for an early-career composer aged over 18 who writes original music. Notably, the Prize has no upper age limit for applicants.  

The winner will be awarded £1,000 to write a new work for Ensemble 10:10 (Liverpool Philharmonic’s contemporary music ensemble) which will be performed in Autumn 2024.   

The Prize offers an early- career composer the opportunity to build a long-term collaborative and creative relationship with Liverpool Philharmonic, which supports composers during the commission period and beyond. The Prize winner receives tailored support and resources from across the music profession. the winner will take part in a programme of workshops, masterclasses and mentoring sessions from composers, performers, conductors and other industry professionals associated with Liverpool Philharmonic. 

Previous Prize winners have had further opportunities to produce additional new works and commissions for Liverpool Philharmonic ensembles.  

Entry Criteria  

To enter, applicants should be able to demonstrate that they are: 

  • At an early stage of their career as a composer 
  • Be at least 18 years old on 1 October 2023 (there is no upper age limit for applicants) 
  • Currently live, work, or have been born in the North West of England (Merseyside, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Cumbria), or be a registered student at a Northwest-based Higher Education institution.  
  • There are no minimum qualification requirements for applicants. 

How to apply  

To be considered, applicants must submit a supporting statement, a CV including a list of works and, audio recordings and scores of two examples of original works. Submission statement can also be made via video.   

Applications for the Rushworth Composition Prize close at 11.59 pm on Wednesday 7 June 2023. For more information, visit https://www.liverpoolphil.com/take-part/rushworth-composition-prize/  

Alex Papp, 2020 Rushworth Composition Prize winner, said: The Rushworth Composition Prize allowed me to write my best piece to date and have an incredible recording of it. Just on that alone, it has had a massive impact on my compositional output as it’s allowed me to take the risk to write music in a way I had not previously considered before. Having the workshop with the players was extremely useful in making adjustments to my piece, and the mentorship was really insightful. Having a piece performed on the stage of the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall was something I had always dreamed of, so to be given that opportunity through this prize is something that will stay with me forever.” 

Zoë Armfield, Head of Learning at Liverpool Philharmonic commented: Liverpool Philharmonic is proud to provide a variety of opportunities for music creators from Liverpool and the North West of England. The world premieres of new works by Prize winners, performed by Ensemble 10:10, are a highlight in our calendar each year, and it has been wonderful to see the previous winners establish their own careers in the industry. We’re looking forward to receiving this year’s applications.” 

Jonathan Rushworth of the Rushworth Foundation commented: The Rushworth family has been supporting music and music making in the North West for well over a century. We are keen to preserve the legacy and heritage of the family’s support for music and the arts in Liverpool and are delighted to support this competition. I hope this prize will encourage composers from all over the North West to apply.” 

Since it was launched in 2015, there have been eight recipients of the prize: Christopher Cook (2022), Nneka Cummins (2021), Alex Papp (2020), Athanasia Kontou (2019), Carmel Smickersgill (2018), Grace-Evangeline Mason (2017), Richard Miller (2016) and Bethan Morgan-Williams (2015). Liverpool Philharmonic also supports local composers and songwriters through Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Company.  

Ends 

Notes to Editors  

The Rushworth Composition Prize in association with the Rushworth Foundation was established in 2015 and was formerly known as the Christopher Brooks Composition Prize. It forms part of Liverpool Philharmonic’s continuing commitment to the commissioning and performance of new music as well and supporting home-grown talent. The competition is open to a North West based composer aged 18 and over who currently lives, works or were born in the North West of England (Merseyside, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Cumbria), or a registered student at a Northwest-based Higher Education institution. There is no upper age limit for applicants. 

Liverpool Philharmonic are signatories to Sound and Music’s Fair Access Principles  

Previous winners:  

  • Christopher Cook, New Work world premiere due to be performed by Ensemble 10:10 on 11 October 2023.  
  • Nneka Cummins, Metal Tapestry world premiere performed by Ensemble 10:10 on 26 October 2022.  
  • Alexander Papp,The Myth of Bertie and Bella world premiere performed by Ensemble 10:10, 6 October 2021.   
  • Athanasia Kontou, Antigone: Pure in her crime, world premiere performed by Ensemble 10:10, 21 April 2022.  
  • Carmel Smickersgill, Charcoal, world premiere performed by Ensemble 10:10, 6 November 2019.  
  • Grace-Evangeline Mason,On Weightless Wings world premiere performed by Ensemble 10:10, 11 October 2018. 
  • Richard Miller, Nighthawks world premiere performed by Ensemble 10:10, 11 October 2017.  
  • Bethan Morgan-Williams,Mirages of Pisa world premiere performed by Ensemble 10:10, October 2015. 

Photo credit: Brian Roberts

About Liverpool Philharmonic  

Liverpool Philharmonic enhances and transforms lives through music.  

At the heart of our programme is the critically-acclaimed Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (the UK’s oldest) and Choir; work with young people through our Youth Company and In Harmony Liverpool; support for people experiencing mental ill health through work with the NHS; and presentation of over 400 diverse concerts and events each year at our home, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, one of the UK’s leading concert halls. 

About the Rushworth Foundation  

The Rushworth Foundation was established by Jonathan Rushworth to support music, the arts and education in Liverpool. It builds on the legacy and heritage of the Rushworth family music business, started by Jonathan’s great-great-grandfather in 1840 as a pipe organ builder, which expanded into a musical instrument maker and dealer. The business was central to music in Liverpool for over a century, supporting and arranging concerts and music festivals, competitions and societies.  

Media enquiries and further information from: Lauren Woods, Head of Communications and External Affairs, lauren.woods@liverpoolphil.com  

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Liverpool Philharmonic has updated its cookie policy. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. This includes cookies from third party social media websites. Such third party cookies may track your use on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time.