Liverpool Philharmonic announces winner of inaugural Christopher Brooks Composition Prize

Liverpool Philharmonic is delighted to announce 23-year-old Bethan Morgan-Williams as the winner of its first annual Christopher Brooks Composition Prize in association with the Rushworth Foundation.

The Christopher Brooks Composition Prize provides a unique opportunity for a young North West composer to develop their talent and access mentoring and guidance from leading artists and music industry professionals, culminating in writing a new work for performance by Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra musicians which will be premiered in autumn 2016.

Bethan wins a cash prize of £1,000 made possible through the support of the Lancashire Sinfonietta Legacy Fund and the Rushworth Foundation. The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers & Authors (BASCA), the voice for music writers, has kindly provided a year’s complimentary membership for Bethan.

Bethan will also be supported with a bespoke programme of workshops, masterclasses and mentoring sessions from resident and visiting musicians, conductors, composers, performers and other industry professionals associated with Liverpool Philharmonic.

Bethan will develop her composition and teaching practice through access to Liverpool Philharmonic’s programme for children and young people, including Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Company, Youth Orchestra and Choirs, higher education partnerships and El-Sistema inspired In Harmony Liverpool.

Bethan gained early recognition as composer, winning the Under 15 Composition Class at the Urdd National Eisteddford in 2004, and with string works performed at Wells Cathedral School where she gained a full scholarship aged eight, the University of Bristol and the RNCM in 2005.

In 2010, Bethan gained a scholarship to RNCM as a joint-study violinist/composer, studying composition under Gary Carpenter and violin under Leland Chen.

Bethan also plays viola, mandolin and piano and has continued to develop her violin and viola playing in a wide range of styles and genres, from chamber and orchestral music to jazz and contemporary classical music. Since leaving college, she has set up a brand-new orchestra, based in Salford, and has begun teaching. In 2014, she was shortlisted for Manchester Jazz Festival’s Irwin Mitchell Prize, and has recently been selected to take part in LSO’s Panufnik Scheme for Young Composers for which she will collaborate with LSO on a three-minute commission.

Vasily Petrenko, Chief Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra said; “It’s very important to us that we are able to provide opportunities to support emerging creative talent and this scheme means that we are able to expand our existing programme for new music and composition.

“Congratulations to Bethan on becoming our first Christopher Brooks Composition Prize winner. I hope her time with us will benefit her work as a composer and I’m looking forward to hearing the work she’ll be writing for us in 2016.”

On becoming the first winner of the Christopher Brooks Composition Prize, Bethan said: “Having met the team at Liverpool Philharmonic, including Vasily Petrenko, I just know that this is going to be the most brilliant year. Liverpool Philharmonic Hall is beautiful and vibrant, the people are terrific and what they do there is simply remarkable.

“I'm looking forward to making the most of this wonderful opportunity and to giving it my all. And of course I'm so thrilled at having the chance to work with such great musicians and meeting visiting artists and other composers."

Vick Bain, CEO of BASCA said: “BASCA would like to congratulate Bethan on winning the Christopher Brooks Composition Prize. We are delighted to be supporting her with a year’s membership as part of the prize package and we look forward to welcoming her to our community and supporting her career as a composer.”

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