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Liverpool Philharmonic’s Rushworth Composition Prize now open for applications
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Liverpool Philharmonic’s Rushworth Composition Prize now open for applications

Friday 28 May 2021

Liverpool Philharmonic welcomes applications for the Rushworth Composition Prize (formerly 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.

Entry Criteria

To enter, applicants must be 18 and over, write original music and currently live, work or were 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

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. For full details visit our webpage. Submission can also be made via video.

The Prize

The winner will receive £1,000, the opportunity to write a new work for Ensemble 10/10 (Liverpool Philharmonic’s contemporary music group) which will be performed in autumn 2022, and one year’s complimentary membership to The Ivors Academy. This is the UK’s leading professional association for music creators.

The winner will also take part in a programme of workshops, masterclasses and mentoring sessions from composers, performers, conductors and other industry professionals associated with Liverpool Philharmonic. The successful applicant 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. The winner will also receive additional opportunities to produce new works and commissions for Liverpool Philharmonic and its associated ensembles. 


Carmel Smickersgill, 2018/19 winner commented:

“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.”

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

“This prize is a fantastic opportunity for composers in the early stage of their career. It is a key element of Liverpool Philharmonic’s mission to support emerging talent from the North West. We pride ourselves on premiering and commissioning more new music than any other UK orchestra, with over 150 new works premiered or commissioned in the last 10 years. I look forward to another year of exciting applications.”


Jonathan Rushworth of the Rushworth Foundation commented

“I am really delighted to support this prize as it enters its seventh year. The Rushworth name has been supporting music and music making in the North West for well over a century. I hope this prize will encourage composers from all over the North West to apply.”

Since it was launched in 2015, there have been six recipients of the prize: 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.


The Rushworth Composition Prize is run in association with the Rushworth Foundation and was formerly known as the Christopher Brooks Composition Prize. It is part of Liverpool Philharmonic’s commitment to talent development and commissioning new music.

Applications for the Rushworth Composition Prize close on Wednesday 30 June at 5pm. For more information, click here. Apply here. 



Notes to editors


About Liverpool Philharmonic

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; and presentation of over 400 diverse concerts and events each year at our home, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.

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.

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