Liverpool Philharmonic Announces Winner of Rushworth Composition Prize 2023

Liverpool Philharmonic has announced Sam Kane as the winner of the annual Rushworth Composition Prize.

Sam is the ninth person to win the Rushworth Composition Prize. He will receive a £1,000 cash prize, 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 will give Sam a unique, year-long experience to develop his talent at Liverpool Philharmonic. Sam will participate in a programme of masterclasses, workshops and mentoring sessions delivered by conductors, composers, performers, and other professionals associated with Liverpool Philharmonic.

There will also be additional opportunities to create new works and commissions for Liverpool Philharmonic ensembles. Sam will write a new work for performance by Ensemble 10:10, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s contemporary music group, in the 2024/25 season.

Now based in Manchester, Sam is originally from Northern Ireland where he was presented with the Northern Ireland Young Musician of the Year award.

Sam studied violin with Cecily Ward at the Royal Northern College of Music and in 2022 received the RNCM Norman George violin prize. Sam was leader of the Ulster Youth Orchestra, and has enjoyed playing with Ulster Orchestra, Manchester Camerata and the Manchester Beethoven Orchestra.

Sam was commissioned to write a piece for the Belfast based Hard Rain Soloist Ensemble, and this year was selected to play alongside them as a HRSE Featured Young Artist. One of Sam’s larger compositions was awarded Classic FM’s ‘Big Platinum Performance’ prize. Sam is now completing his final year of Masters at the Royal Northern College of Music.

This year, for the first time Liverpool Philharmonic also awarded special commendation to Phoenix Rousiamanis, who will be commissioned to write a new work for Ensemble 10:10 which will be performed in the 2024/25 season.

On winning the prize Sam said,  “I am incredibly grateful to have been given this opportunity by the Liverpool Philharmonic, to be able to work alongside players that I’ve looked up to as a musician is an immense privilege.

“Over the coming year, not only am I hugely excited to be able to bring my visions to life with the chance to work with the wonderful Ensemble 10:10, but forming lifelong connections with so many inspiring musicians who I know will help push me to further develop my compositional craft.” 

Peter Garden, Executive Director – Performance and Learning at Liverpool Philharmonic commented, “We are delighted to award the Prize to Sam this year. The Rushworth Composition Prize is an integral part of Liverpool Philharmonic’s long term and wide-ranging support for emerging talent in the North West.

“I am looking forward to hearing more of Sam’s music over this next year, culminating in the performance of a new commission by Ensemble 10:10. We want to thank everyone who put themselves forward. The standard of entries is always very high, but particularly this year which is why we have also awarded a special commendation to Phoenix”.

Previous winners of the Rushworth Composition Prize include Nneka Cummins’ whose work, 3 Planets premiered at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall in May 2023, Grace-Evangeline Mason, who premiered new orchestral work The Imagined Forest at the 2021 BBC Proms, co-commissioned with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and Carmel Smickersgill, who was nominated for the Ivors Academy Rising Star Award in 2020. 

Image: Sam Kane 2023 Winner of the Rushworth Composition Prize

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