Liverpool Philharmonic is delighted to announce Nneka Cummins as the winner of its annual Rushworth Composition Prize.

Nneka, who is from Liverpool, wins a cash prize of £1,000 made possible through the support of the Rushworth Foundation and a year’s complimentary membership of the Ivors Academy, the UK’s leading professional association for music creators.

The Prize provides Nneka with a unique opportunity over the next year to develop their talent. They will take part in a programme of workshops, masterclasses and mentoring sessions from composers, performers, conductors and other industry professionals associated with Liverpool Philharmonic. Nneka will also receive additional opportunities to produce new works and commissions for Liverpool Philharmonic and its associated ensembles. 

Nneka’s year will culminate in them writing a new work for performance by Ensemble 10/10, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s new music group, which will be premiered in Autumn 2022.

Nneka will have the opportunity to develop their 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 the transformative In Harmony Liverpool programme in Everton.

Nneka is a composer and music producer who is currently studying composition at Masters level at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and has been awarded the Gareth Neame Scholarship and the Trinity College London Scholarship.

Nneka’s piece Blend was performed by an ensemble from Chineke! in the Cheltenham Music Festival 2021 and they will have new a work performed by Trinity Laban Symphonic Winds in October 2021.

In 2019, they had works performed in Liverpool when they were commissioned to compose for the opening of the Granby Winter Garden in Toxteth and exhibited work in OUTPUT gallery on Seel Street. 

Prior to Trinity Laban, Nneka was a solicitor and holds a first-class undergraduate degree in Law from Durham University. 

On winning the prize Nneka said:

Liverpool is where my passion for music was nurtured and as a teenager, I played in venues across the city as part of Saturday Morning Music Centre’s Liverpool Youth Orchestra. I’m grateful to Liverpool Philharmonic for this opportunity and very much look forward to working with Ensemble 10/10. It’s great to be deepening my musical connection to Liverpool.” 

Peter Garden, Executive Director – Performance and Learning at Liverpool Philharmonic commented

“We are thrilled to recognize Nneka’s talent with the Rushworth Composition Prize. The prize is a key element of Liverpool Philharmonic’s mission to support emerging talent from the North West. We pride ourselves on our prolific record of premiering and commissioning new music, with over 150 new works premiered or commissioned in the last 10 years. I look forward to hearing Nneka’s work over the coming year.”

Previous winners of the Rushworth Composition Prize include Carmel Smickersgill, who was nominated for the Ivors Academy Rising Star Award in 2020, and Grace-Evangeline Mason, who premiered new orchestral work ‘The Imagined Forest’ at this year’s BBC Proms, co-commissioned with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.