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  

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.