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Derwent Brass Launch International Composition Award

Inaugural International Composer Award Launched by Derwent Brass

Derwent Brass announce their inaugural international composition award.

Derwent Brass have been a bunch of busy, brassy bees with two awards - Brass Bands England's Innovation and Making Music Green Awards on their trophy shelf, as well as two successive nominations for 4barsrest's Band of the Year. Now they are in the running for the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society 'Inspiration Award'. It's fantastic to see a brass band nominated for such an award and they are fantastic ambassadors for our movement with a wide range of innovative activities and initiatives. Fingers crossed they take the trophy!

However, even with the addition of these accolades, they are not resting on their laurels. They're looking to bestow an award of their own on one talented winner. With the aim to continue to drive innovation they are launching their inaugural International Composition Award.

A Contemporary Tradition

Derwent Brass are no strangers to commissioning and filling their programmes with contemporary works from a range of highly respected composers. Their new International Composition Award aims to build on this tradition to offer an opportunity for composers to showcase their work and stand in the spotlight, as well as a chance to win a fantastic prize.

The challenge facing all potential candidates is creating something that is new, innovative and exciting to engage audiences from all backgrounds and explores new ways to demonstrate the capabilities of the modern brass band.

What is the Derwent Brass International Compositional Award?

The Derwent Brass International Compositional Award invites advanced composers and music creators from across the world to work with and write for a championship brass band. It is free to enter and the winner will take home:

  • £1000 prize money

  • Formal publishing

  • Premiere live performance of their composition

The final three works will also be recorded.

Derwent Band's chairman had this to say about this exciting new project:

We have always looked for new and exciting opportunities to push the artistic boundaries of brass banding, be that in the music, presentation or people we collaborate with. However, we feel there is still so much untapped creativity out there and what better way to find it than via our composition award.

If you're a composer who thinks outside the box, is highly creative and is looking for a new canvas in which to exhibit your musical artistry - you're going to want to get involved!

Meet the Judges

Alongside the band's musical director Jack Capstaff, the entries will be adjudicated by a panel of well known, respected composers and musicians, consisting of:

  • Paul Hindmarsh

  • Paul McGee

  • Matthew Eden

Speaking on the competition, the Musical Director of Derwent Brass, Jack Capstaff said:

This is a competition with a difference. We are looking for something new, innovative and exciting; music that will be engaging and perhaps challenging to audiences of all backgrounds and that pushes boundaries. Now is a fantastic time to collaborate with us to make a difference.

How to Enter the Derwent Brass

Up for the challenge? Here is everything you need to know:


  • Music creators and composers with a diverse range of musical approaches and backgrounds, who are passionate and are interested in writing for brass band

  • No age limits or restrictions - the band is fully BandSafe compliant

  • No pre-existing performance or award requirements

  • Derwent Brass supports the Sound and Music Fair Access Principles and is keen to generate interest from groups historically under-represented in the brass band world and from non-classical backgrounds.


The deadline for 2024 applications is 12 May 2024 at 5pm - get that in your diaries!

Stage 1 - Shortlist

All applications will be assessed by the band's music leadership team, a shortlist of 6 works established and applicants will be notified of results on 25th May 2024

Stage 2 - Finalist

Derwent Brass will work on the 6 shortlisted works before announcing the 3 finalist's works on 15th June 2024.

Following this, there will be a further rehearsal period of 3 weeks on finalist compositions, after which, feedback will be provided to the composers, who will then be given a limited timeframe to make any final amendments.

Stage 3 - Recording

The works will be recorded on 27th July 2024 and the tracks will be used for the judging round of the competition.

Stage 4 - Judging

The tracks of each finalist's piece will face the panel of judges from 28th July to 17th August 2024. The winner will be announced on 18th August 2024.

Ready to Enter?

If you're a music creator or composer looking for a new challenge and this sounds like the perfect opportunity for you, click here to visit Derwent Brass' International Composition Award page for full information, rules and application link.

Best of Luck!


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