PRSF New Music Award –have your say and win a Zeppelin Mini



The UK’s most ambitious music prize is the PRS for Music Foundation New Music Award which carries a £50,000 prize.

This year, for the first time, they are opening the voting to the public. The voting will close on 12th September and the public vote will count as one vote on the judging panel. The winner will be awarded a £50,000 prize at a glittering ceremony in the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion on 16th September and their winning new musical work will premiere in 2011.

Let us know at the bottom of this blog which piece you think deserves to win and why, then vote here. The best answer will win a Zeppelin Mini and an iPod loaded with the five short listed films plus a half-hour SkyArts documentary.

The five shortlisted ideas cover the widest possible range of musical genres from electronic and site specific to acoustic and African-inspired beats, and the PRS for Music Foundation has comissioned a short film for each of the entries.

The five entries are:

aroundNorth – a stellar orchestra based on the rotation of stars around the Celestial North Pole

Automata Musica – combines the skills of composer and craftsman to make “automatic instruments” which audience members can play

The Battle of the Wordsmiths – recreates African musical instruments through beatboxing which introduces western audiences to the ancient traditions to Yoruba culture

The Organ of Corti – recycles existing sounds to create new ways of listening

SATSYMPH – a “satellite symphony” delivered through an iPhone app

The films will also be screened free from 26th July to 5th September. Venues include the ICA, London, Watershed in Bristol, the Black Box in Belfast, Sage Gateshead, Cornerhouse in Manchester, Cardiff Chapter Arts Centre, Glasgow Centre for Contemporary Arts, Liverpool Bluecoat Arts Centre, Nottingham Broadway Media Centre and the Roundhouse, London.

Let us know at the bottom of this blog which piece you think deserves to win and why, then vote here. The best answer will win a Zeppelin Mini and an iPod loaded with the 5 short listed films plus a half-hour SkyArts documentary.


  • Elaine says:

    Around North creativity seems to stretch the imagination more -It ‘s like the beginning of a metaphysical journey to come and makes me look forward to the results- it has the potential for continuity –

    It is the music of the spheres I wish to hear.
    I can’t imagine anyone tiring of the results -it also has inherent therapeutic value. Seems a great example of innovation through collaboration across different areas-science, technology, musical composition and fuelled by poetry, myth and literature.
    Whilst the others all possess charm this one seems to adventure further.

  • Errollyn Wallen says:

    All the entries are fascinating but SATSYMPH has my vote. The concept is well thought through and will open up the world of magic and mayhem to everyone.

  • Marc MacInnes says:

    For me aroundNorth should win the PRS award hands down. The innovative concept that we could ‘hear’ the angelic ‘voices’ of the stars in the sky as they pass over us would not only feed peoples astronomical interests but allow a constant reminder of what is outside our world.

    The fact that these stars have been around for millions of years prior to any exsitance on our planet and yet we are often too busy to admire the beauty of these silent giants above our heads. This idea would allow the stars to say ‘we’re here’ through sound not sight. However, the combination of the sound released by the celestial orchestra and the sight of these glistening soundless entities could only be magnificent.

    It’s about time that music and astronomy should be combined together. It’s about time we should take notice of the stars. It’s about time we should ‘hear’ the stars.

  • Marc says:

    SATSYMPH for me!

    It is fully authored and composed music and words, not automatically triggered sounds or filtered translations of environmental sound – this music is written in scores and performed and recorded by live acoustic musicians. It is in no way ambient!!
    It is also a complex interplay of music and word drama that is designed to be experienced in endless combinations, initiated and ‘mixed live’ by those who experience it.

    And I can’t help feeling that people are getting carried away with references to ‘music of the spheres’ and stars in aroundNorth. Planets, stars and galaxies exist in a vacuum, they have no sound that we can hear. There are mathematical translations of their movements that can be calculated into an interpretation of musical activity, but it is not the sound they ACTUALLY make. Change the parameters of the triggers and you change the music – change the initiated sounds and you change the music again. This way of creating music and sound is not at all new, only the planetary triggers are new. The concept of music of the spheres is a creative fantasy in the same way that any music about the stars is a fantasy.

    Come on folks, lets get real – this is music, not religion!

  • Stephanie says:

    Forgive me, but I try to understand what will be new about the satsymp piece. I think that the instrument (the i-phone app) is new in that it allows people to alter what they hear by moving from one position to another. Of course, this also happens when I just walk around and listen using just my ears without any technology… but my real question relates to the actual piece of music. From what I read it looks like different musicale segments will be precomposed and then by moving around the listener is able to hear these segments at different volumes. So is all this just a big mixing desk. If we forgot about the app technology just for a moment and think about how the actual music will sound and what musical manipulations might be possible for persons to effect, then what exactly is new about this, and will it ever have the chance to sound anything other than disappointing? Is this just a bigger version of Terry Mann’s proposal but perhaps less satisfying?

  • Marc says:

    Hi Stephanie.

    No, not at all. The mixing that goes on in SATSYMPH is not to do with just volume. There are many layers of sound and word that overlap in highly sophisticated ways. In any SATSYMPH mediascape there could be hundreds of different musical regions that the audience can navigate and initiate at different times, different speeds and in different relationships. Some of these music and word layers or modules may be looped, others not, but when they start, finish, fade in and out, act abruptly, change volume with direction, change orientation with direction and movement, flip into something else, lead people into different areas, and how they combine each time is completely dependent of where you are and the speed and direction in which you move. And each time you move around, the modules of sound and word are initiated in different ways so their combinations are infinitely variable. It’s totally unlike walking around plugged into an mp3 player!

    Further to this, these modules are actually composed into the landscape and relate to natural features – you have to explore to discover them. It’s a bit like a huge puzzle that has been broken up and scattered around an environment. You move around and find different bits of the puzzle, put them together to find out what it’s all about – or not. That’s part of the adventure and magic. And these music and word modules will be of very varied and dramatic content – sometimes very dissonant and chaotic, other times calm and delicate – and everything in between – all sorts of textures and contrasts, and the audience will have control over how they experience ALL of these.

    Yes, there are some similarities to Terry Mann’s project, but SATSYMPH takes the idea of audience participation so much further – SATSYMPH uses technology to deliver music to vast numbers of people world wide – it isn’t venue based, the music is composed into the landscape so you have to get out and about to experience it – the content will be highly dramatic, it is a fusion of words and music, 1000s of people can experience it simultaneously, day or night however and whenever they want.

    The iphone is the first smart devise to deliver SATSYMPH but the technology can be adapted to any other smart phone or GPS devise very easily and can open up to so many people world wide.

    SATSYMPH is using context aware media to deliver a huge, complex, organic musical experience. Context aware media is the ‘next big thing’ according to observers and it is this context aware media that drives the technology behind SATSYMPH.

    it is the way that music is delivered to people that makes SATSYMPH of interest to observers and people all over the world and it is for that reason it was shortlisted.

    It is also the combination of all these elements above that makes SATSYMPH totally pioneering and revolutionary for audiences to experience and artists to create with.

  • scottfree says:

    SATSYMPH is a new way of composing, experiencing and delivering music and poetry . The key phrase is that it is ‘a new way’. It is a new paradigm, a whole new playing field, not just a piece of music, or a work. The New Music Award is just for starters – what could not be done with a whole new music/poetry paradigm to play with? The legacy will be revolutionary!

  • SusannaGrant says:

    Congratulations to Felix who is the winner of the Zeppelin Mini.

    The announcement of the winner is tonight, so we’re looking forward to the award ceremony to see which of these ground-breaking works is to be awarded the prize.

    A special mention should go to Dave who recommends dividing the money up so all the projects could be realised, we second that!

    Bowers & Wilkins

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