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Rushworth Composition Prize

Rushworth Composition Prize

We are delighted to welcome applications for the Rushworth Composition Prize (formally known as the Christopher Brooks Composition Prize) in association with the Rushworth Foundation. The prize provides a unique opportunity for an early-career composer aged 18+, who writes original music, to develop their talent through a wide range of support and guidance from across the music profession.

We are looking for an individual at an early stage of their career as a composer who wants to develop a long-term relationship with Liverpool Philharmonic. All of the previous prize winners continue to work with us after their year has ended, and benefit from continued support, guidance and commission opportunities.

What will the winner receive?

£1,000 will be awarded to the winner of the competition. The prize-winning composer will write a new work for Ensemble 10/10 (Liverpool Philharmonic’s contemporary music ensemble) which will be performed in Autumn 2022.  In addition, 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. The winner will receive further payment for a bespoke programme of activities beyond the sessions related to the Ensemble 10/10 commission, to support their attendance at Liverpool Philharmonic sessions and events.

The composer will also receive one year’s complimentary membership of The Ivors Academy (www.ivorsacademy.com), the UK’s leading professional association for music creators including thousands of songwriters and composers across all styles and genres.

After winning the prize, previous winners have had further opportunities to produce additional new works and commissions for Liverpool Philharmonic ensembles including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir, and Liverpool Philharmonic’s Youth and Children’s Choirs. Vocal arrangements of their works have been recorded and released commercially by a Liverpool Philharmonic Artist in Residence.

Past winners have also:

  • Met international composers, artists and conductors
  • Attended orchestra rehearsals, concerts and masterclasses
  • Observed orchestra recording sessions
  • Taken part in panels at events and conferences
  • Accessed hands-on experience of orchestra management, recording, production, librarianship and music education work
  • Engaged with Liverpool Philharmonic’s contacts across the music industry.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants should:

  • be at an early stage of their career as a composer
  • be at least 18 years of age on 1 October 2021
  • 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.

How to apply

Application form

Please provide the following materials:

  1. A supporting statement, outlining why you have applied, what you would hope to gain from this prize and from developing a relationship with Liverpool Philharmonic, and how you would describe your personal composition style and approach.
  1. A CV, including a list of works. 
  1. Audio recordings and scores of two examples of original works for orchestral instruments, alongside a short explanation of why you have chosen to submit these works.
    • Scores must be submitted electronically in PDF format only. 
    • Audio recordings should be submitted as a digital file or link to an online version e.g. Soundcloud or similar. Digital recordings of works which have not had a live performance are acceptable.

 To support fair access to the Rushworth Composition Prize, we also accept video applications as part of this process. Please see the application form (link above) for details on this.

The closing date for receipt of applications is 5pm on Wednesday 30 June 2021.  Late applications will not be accepted.  Liverpool Philharmonic accepts no responsibility for applications not received.

Liverpool Philharmonic are signatories to Sound and Music’s Fair Access Principles, designed to act as a code of best practice for running successful, open and inclusive artist development programmes, competitions and awards for composers. 

For more information, or to discuss individual accessibility needs, please contact Frankie McCormick at learning@liverpoolphil.com

The Panel

A panel of industry professionals from across the country judges entries to the competition. Last year’s panel included:

  • Hilary Browning (Associate Principal cellist with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra)  - chair for 2021/22 panel
  • Peter Garden (Executive Director, Performance and Learning, Liverpool Philharmonic)
  • Andrew Cornall (Liverpool Philharmonic Artistic Consultant, Record Producer and former Vice President of A&R at EMI Classics)
  • Sally Groves (former Creative Director of Schott Music Publishers)
  • Stephen Pratt (Emeritus Professor of Music, Liverpool Hope University, Emeritus Professor, Gresham College, London)
  • Jonathan Rushworth (Founder of the Rushworth Foundation, which supports music, the arts and education in Liverpool)
  • Fiona Sinclair (Chief Executive, Leeds International Piano Competition)

 Previous participants have said:

 “There is no way I would’ve been able to get to the place I needed to be without the help I got from everyone who gave me their time, advice and musicianship at Liverpool Philharmonic. There’s no other organisation in the North that gives such a brilliant opportunity to composers like me, who are just starting out.”

Carmel Smickersgill, Prize Winner, 2018/19

“The Prize was a fantastic opportunity to surround myself with the expertise of brilliant professional musicians in the most welcoming and friendly environment imaginable, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. As well as writing for these musicians, there is a wealth of developmental experiences as part of the prize that are astonishingly valuable as a composer. It is a relationship that I now deeply cherish and will continue to do so for many years to come.”

Grace-Evangeline Mason, Prize Winner, 2017/18

"As a Prize-winner, I’ve had access to so many amazing opportunities. Having a piece played by the fabulous Ensemble 10/10, an additional performance opportunity with the Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir, and one-to-one sessions with artists including Andrew Manze and Stephen Hough are just a few significant highlights."

Richard Miller, Prize Winner, 2016/17

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