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New prize for composition

Awarded with kind agreement from The Michael Tippett Will Trust and The Michael Tippett Musical Foundation.

The Royal Musical Association is proud to announce the founding of a new prize for composition: the Tippett Medal. Known internationally as one of the most significant composers of the last century, Michael Tippett embodied principles that the RMA similarly exemplifies: he was a passionate believer in social equality and musical education, prepared to suffer isolation and jail for his humanitarian beliefs. In naming the RMA’s first award for composition after Tippett, we wish to reinforce our commitment to music education, the vital importance of live performance, and contemporary composition of all different kinds. In the inaugural year of the prize, the judges will prioritise compositions that demonstrate creative solutions to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic (through the innovative use of technology, material, or performance contexts, for example), although all work that meets in the entrance criteria will still be considered.

Making a submission

The governance and administration arrangements for the prize are overseen by the Association’s Awards Committee. A prize jury will be convened, chaired by a Trustee of the RMA who is a composer or experienced in contemporary music in some other capacity. In addition, two external members will be appointed to comprise the jury each year.

Entries are now open for the 2020 prize, for works which have received a premiere public performance at any time during the calendar year 2020 (see below for interpretations of the term ‘public performance’). In the inaugural year of the prize, the judges will prioritise compositions that demonstrate creative solutions to performance challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic (through the innovative use of technology, material, or performance contexts, for example) although all work that meets in the entrance criteria below will still be considered.

The deadline for submission for the 2020 prize is 16 August 2021. Submissions must be made using our online form.

Process and Eligibility Criteria

  • Entry is open to all composers of any nationality. Collaborative work will be considered equally alongside single name submissions.
  • There is no charge for entry.
  • The award welcomes submissions of original compositions from a broad range of practices, including (but not limited to) acoustic instruments, voices, electronics (including fixed media), inter/transdisciplinary work and/or any combination thereof.
  • The submission must have had a public performance (or equivalent dissemination appropriate to the medium) in the UK within the calendar year before the award is to be made (for the first award in 2021, the premiere must have taken place on any date in 2020; for the award in 2022, it must have taken place in 2021, and so on).*
  • Some media documentation of the complete work in performance must be submitted alongside other materials (full score or other accompanying documentation, as appropriate).
  • Within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, media documentation may take a variety of flexible forms, for example, an audio/visual recording of an online stream; a webspace; or other appropriate form appropriate to the nature of the work. This must be available as a download link (public or private) which applicants will submit alongside their submission. Sibelius/Finale recordings (or other music processing software) of instrumental music will not normally be accepted.
  • It is the responsibility of all entrants to provide anonymized recordings and copies of their work for distribution to the panel. The Chair of Awards Committee (or nominated representative) is the only person who will know the composers’ identities, and these will not be disclosed.
  • The winner will be announced after the May Council meeting in the year of the award, and the Medal presented by the President at the RMA Annual Conference in the following year.