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.


  • Carla says:

    For me, the best art is that which, for however brief a time, causes me to transcend my personal concerns and leaves me feeling uplifted and transformed in some way. That’s why I voted for Around North. Even the brief little film got me thinking about the rotation of the Earth and the relative positions of the stars and how this enabled humans to navigate and how I (like many urban dwellers) have lost my awareness of the stars at night. It also struck me that astrophysicists might even find it useful as an educational or research tool; from the description, it sounds like it qualifies as data sonification. The film and the intriguing sound excerpts have already caused me to pause and reflect on the universe and our place in it and it’s made me eager to hear the music of the spheres!

  • Karl Aussia says:

    “We are all Pythagoreans’ – Iannis Xenakis (music theorist and composer)

    The reason I believe that aroundNorth, the stellar orchestra based on the rotation of stars around the Celestial North Pole, should win the prestigious PRS New Music Award is because it reaches beyond the earthly to interpret the music of the spheres.

    Credited to Pythagoras, the theory of Musica universalis (music of the spheres) sought to make a connection between geology, cosmology, harmonics and music. A theme that has reverberated throughout time influencing many artists and musicians – from Holst to Mike Oldfield, from Jean-Philippe Rameau to Phillip Glass and further afield.

    So this concept also seeks to connect music with science by revealing hidden patterns and harmonics in the universe. How fitting for this year’s sponsor and prize donor Bower and Wilkins whose excellent products enable us to hear music through cutting-edge technologies.

    Music has the universal power to inspire us and to elevate humanity. Through music we travel beyond our personal and wider cultural boundaries. Through music and technology we share vision, connect better, understand and collaborate with each other.

    Of great vision, this project is not bound to human voices or manmade environments or satellites that are semi-tethered extensions of the earth. It reaches out to the celestial heavens offering us an opportunity to reflect on our place in the universe and the connections that bind us together and to everything else that we know exists.

    Certainly it inspires me to imagine and to consider that which we are yet to discover.

  • Sean Chariker says:

    For me the I like the idea of The Organ of Corti. Reframing existing sound and converting it into a more amorphic sound by using this great piece of scupture really shows ingenuity.

    I could see this practically used along freeways and in inter-cities. It makes me rethink how I listen.

  • Laura says:

    I have just voted. I have gone for the Wordsmiths piece. I liked it for the Human touch, which to me the most important aspect of new music. Working in a visual arts environment, I often here hear PHD type men talking about scientific sound pieces. Where the brilliance is obviously apparent and usually very awe inspiring, I find the human sensual aspect to new music perhaps gets lost a bit. Second choice If I could make one would be the the Organ of Corti. Beautiful project

  • Dave Jordan says:

    Nature,art and technology working in harmony.

  • Jaki says:

    Automata Music – I love the idea of audience participation.

  • Tina Vanderwerf says:

    Music, words, landscape…… soundscape;…….this is so good……………..I can’t wait walking in one of the parcs and listen…………..also a very interesting experience for people who never go to concerthalls……………a way to discover unexpected sounds on unexpected spots….brilliant…..!!!!!

  • james says:

    I like the Organ of Corti concept of recycling sounds to create new sounds. A very fresh and outstanding concept of capturing the daily sounds around us and hearing it in a new perspective.

  • ASWIN SEKHAR says:

    aroundNorth is indeed a novel and interesting idea. Music is heaven and astronomy is all about heavens. It will be a nice mixture of two subtle things in perfect harmony.

  • Alan Scott says:

    around north is so new and interesting. Imagine………….music from heaven!

  • Georg says:

    I like the ideas behind “around north” and the “organ of Corti” the most. Myself I walk around since years and record (rather poorly in sound quality of course, but that’s not such a problem for me) all sounds that surround us daily, and later play with those in sequencers and so on. So the organ of Corti seems to me the most lovely idea of those presented here, and I think with this you can include the audience too. So my vote would be for the organ of Corti, and I’m highly interested how this will sound :).

  • frisland says:

    I voted for ‘aroundnorth’ because it is a creative bridge-building composition. It joins science with music and people with the universe. It is literally rendering the music of the spheres which has been an inspiration and philosophical fantasy of perfection and balance for thousands of years.

    This project uses music and sound to render the movement of the stars in a way that could provide an accessible experience for those with limited sight and limited access to dark night star-viewing; it can add to scientist’s knowledge of stars and their interactions. It places us firmly in our own corner of the universe. It takes the most remote and inaccessible landscape and brings it down to earth.

    Of the five selections, this one is the one Isaac Newton himself would have voted for – Galileo, Copernicus and the great composers Handel and Beethoven – imagine their excitement…

  • Matt says:

    I think we have become so used to the background noise of traffic in our environment that we don’t realise the impact it has on us any more. This is why I have voted for the Organ of Corti – it will cause people to really listen to the noise around them, and also create something beautiful out of it. the fact that it can be taken around the country, or recreated in many places at once, also makes it very inclusive.

  • Aaron Coleby says:

    I vote for The Battle of the Wordsmiths. The other pieces certainly had their merits but didn’t strike me as relevant or accessible to the largest and arguably the most dominant music culture out there today – urban music. Wordsmiths struck me as an inclusive piece that gave value and respect to urban culture and at the same time pushed it’s stereotypes and challenged it to engage in the wider music community. It made me feel proud and hopeful for young urban musicians.

  • Jeremy Cusworth says:

    The Battle of the Wordsmiths…will have narrative, emotion and performance which for me is an integral part of music.

  • Mike Dunn says:

    yay, heavenly music gets my vote too – Around North

  • Will Mowat says:

    I vote Automata Musica. It gives people a chance to be actively involved in a performance of their own making within musical parameters set by the composer/originator in a targeted fashion. It appeals to my sense of chaos in life, which every now and again makes sense.

  • Dan says:

    I think the aroundNorth track should win as for me its refreshing as sound and visuals are put together with colours and lifeforms with alot of pattern. This was an interesting video and something people could watch and relate to, its makes you think about everything around you and brings the context of life together in one. A truly epic piece.

  • James White says:

    A tough decision to make with so many different and innovative approaches, but I love the concept of Automata Musica.

    If the normal barriers of traditional instruments could be brought down, making it easier for them to activate sounds and sequences, but using a real mechanical device as opposed to an electronic sample, I think it would inspire people to create. I believe it would make people think twice before saying things like ‘I’m not musical’.

    I think the scope for different instruments and sounds and sequences is enormous too, which is exciting and will make it easier to create your own unique sound. Very cool indeed.

  • julie Canham says:

    The reason I think aroundNorth should win New Music Award 2010 is It would be terrific to hear Robert , Jarvis, compose the day long musical played on a loop. The constellations of the rotations of the universe. For Urban places, if atmosphere is not clear one, and particularly for the
    blind and all listeners listen to celestial astronomy side. Maybe could be a therapeutic piece of music for all, Of heaven and stars unusal and different.

  • Jason Nelson says:

    Battle of wordsmiths gets my vote! traditional and modern mixed together to create an unusal but inteteresting sound that is both entertaining and captivating to experiance.

  • Bex Marshal; says:

    Around north would be musical vesion of the horoscope system involving us all! perfect!

  • Rob Palmer says:

    All of the nominees have interesting and exciting projects, however my vote goes to Battle of the Wordsmiths for it’s wide reaching accessibility. Hip-hop music is one of the most popular urban music styles in the tastes of today’s youth, and combining that with more traditional rhythms and beats that are centuries old, a new fusion of music is created that can be understood by young and old alike. Adding to this an epic story where the future of the world is at stake, the attention of any listener would be transfixed. This project doesn’t over-reach on it’s progressiveness and is a much more palatable step up the never-ending ladder of new music.

  • David says:

    For me “The Organ of Corti” is definitely a revolutionary idea that could have a great impact in transforming our surroundings into something new and exciting. It is also accessible to everyone passing by and do not require any further equipment making it really interesting in changing our perception of open spaces.
    For me it is the winner.

  • Alvaro says:

    I like “Automata Musica”. It is a innovative and interactive way of making music allowing to create your own music at the same time as you can hear it, allowing you to interact with other musicians at will. It will make a especially rewarding music experience especially for those without previous music knowledge allowing everyone to equally be able to participate in the music experience independently of their previous musical knowledge or skills.

  • Al Sansome says:

    My vote goes to Terry Mann & his Automata Musica simply because I love the concept, the sounds and the endless possibilities.

  • Mel says:

    I thought all of these projects were interesting and put forward to us clearly and with a real enthusiasm. My vote however, goes to Automata. I love the idea that where music and lyrics come from our heart, from our thoughts and memories, suddenly Nature and the Universe could potentially offer us their own sounds and notes too. We are so used to holding and playing a musical instrument, – an object, something that has been built and made for that purpose, but to look to the stars and the Universe and think that they can play to us their own music is something only a child could dream for. Our very own ‘Stellar Orchestra’ would be like a gift from the stars themselves. Maybe they could connect and talk with us, through their own Celestial music! How wonderful would that be!

  • troy davids says:

    I think that all the entries are worthy of the title as you cannot get more innovative than what i’ve seen on the videos, however, I believe the organ of Corti has that little something extra that separates this brilliant idea from the others.

    The most enchanting reason why this entry should win would be it’s ability to totally engage us, “the public”. If you are walking about the town and happen to see one, you can imagine being overcome by curiosity and then without warning being captivated by what you might discover.

    No musical talent or “know how” is needed to use this equipment and that is what makes this technology not only useful to everyone from all walks of life, but also ingenious.

  • Gloria Garcia says:

    The organ of Corti gets my vote! I found it very interesting how people on the street can appreciate different sounds being modified depending on where they stand. Well done to all though, they are all amazing projects.

  • Dave says:

    All of these projects have merit, but the Battle of the Wordsmiths wins it for me; here musicians interact with each other and create something which may be greater than the sum of its parts.

    All the projects are interesting and intriguing; however, two of them invlove little more than the application of an algorithm to found sounds or phenomena, another enables the generation of predetermined musical sequences in a non-determined way, and the other depends on the listener having an iPhone or other high-end gadget and therefore would exclude me from experiencing it!

    However, it would be great if the prize money could be divided into 5 chunks – say 20K, 16K, 8K, 4K and 2K, and awarded to all 5 finalists so that all these projects have a chance of being realised.

  • Dale Sumner says:

    Congratulations to all of the entries – each one is highly imaginative and innovative. However the one that finally won me over was aroundNorth by Robert Jarvis.

    His concept is the only one that provides the listener an opportunity to hear ‘sound’, for something that we do not have a recognizable ‘sound’ for, that being the movement of the stars and the Earth. And as Robert mentioned in the film, it also gives people who have restricted or no sight an opportunity to ‘hear’ the Universe, which for most of us we can see.

    I think this is an exciting concept and it would be an interesting experience to hear the final work.

  • Rebecka Slater Lyons says:

    The battle of the Wordsmiths, because the face of art is everchanging, but its heart remains the same.

  • Mandy says:

    I voted Automata Musica. There’s a good chance these “instruments” will still be around for years to come, and so have such a greater legacy than the other projects. Can’t wait to have a go!

  • Nic Lucas says:

    Terry Mann..Automata musica …makes musical participation accessable .and egalitarian . as children many of us loved the simple hand wound music box that we played fowards or backwards revelling in making our own starting point ..finding a palendromic phrase on these everlasting music strips..As an enabler working creatively with people with learning dificulties I can see fantastic creative choices with Dr Mann’s application.

  • Jim Birkett says:

    After looking at the excellent ideas proposed on this years New Music Award I choose the aroundNorth stellar orchestra. As music is mathematics in it’s fundamentals equally are the movement of the stars and galaxies.

    To be able to analyze and discover the melodies formed by these astrological patterns is a very exciting prospect and feel this is the newest form of music creation in the selection.

  • Jenny says:

    I am very taken by the “Around North” idea, but prefer the “Automata Musica” to all the other projects because of the craftsmanship involved and the fact that it will encourage people who can’t play any musical instrument to play with it, enabling them to create thier own music. I would love to see and hear what children do with it, or the elderly – or anyone. There should be a set of these instruments in every city, town and village in an easily accessible public place.

  • Gina Dobbins says:

    I have voted for like Automata Musica, because I would like to see this project come to fruition . This seems to me to be so imaginative and open to both experienced musicians yet inclusive enough to allow people without much musical knowledge to become involved. This will help anyone who can physically turn a handle, make their own music or join in with others.

  • al says:

    organ of conti because it’s cool and it’s connected to sustrans and we need them to expand to have cycle routes all over the uk

  • Twinkle says:

    Aroundnorth stella orchestra, renaissance of the relationship between people and the universe, celebrating the wonders of astronomy and its importance to our day to day lives.

  • Gary Burnett says:

    All very interesting, but I’d choose aroundNorth overall. Each piece has something different to offer, but I like the relationship between tiny little us and these vast stars – something more than the sun of its parts, if you’ll allow the pun…..

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