5 UK composers win £60,000 Paul Hamlyn awards

5 UK composers win £60,000 Paul Hamlyn awards


norman lebrecht

November 13, 2019

The composers Eleanor Alberga, Laura Jurd, Mark Lockheart, Nathaniel Mann and Shiori Usui have received Paul Hamlyn awards.

Each award offers recipients £60,000 over three years – with no obligations or conditions as to how the money is used. Not only the largest award of its kind in the UK, this ‘no strings attached’ approach sets the awards apart from other schemes by giving artists the time and freedom to develop their creative ideas and to further their personal and professional growth.


  • Gustav says:

    Always the women getting special treatment based on their gender, not their talent.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Well done and good luck to all of them!!

  • Mr. Knowitall says:

    Do you mean Mark or Nathaniel?

    And very restrained of you not to suggest that it was ethnicity that resulted in awards to Eleanor Alberga and Shiori Usui. One bias at a time is the way to go.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Before making any judgment, one should hear what these composers are actually writing:

    Eleanor Aberga:

    Laura Jurd:

    Mark Lockheart:

    Nathaniel Mann:

    Shiori Usui:

    All this is very interesting. To avoid any shocked indignation, best is to approach this post not from a musical, but from a cultural-anthropological position.

    Jurd and Lockheart are some kind of jazz/pop composers, Mann and Usui produce concept sonic art; Aberga writes postmodernist hip. None of them show any relationship with serious musical culture, and only Aberga relates to the ‘modern music territory’ as it has developed as an alternative circuit to classical music since the sixties of the last century. From this awarded group, only Aberga can claim serious consideration if the awards were meant for music.

    After digesting one’s impressions, the only fair conclusion can be that personal growth is indeed the thing all these people need, and one should be appreciative of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation that they want to make such perilous trajectory, which cannot be embarked upon without money, possible.

    So far, cultural anthropology.

    My personal, rather cultural impression however, is that they need much more money if they need it to develop.

    • Mr. Knowitall says:

      Before making a judgement on what these composers are writing, one should bear in mind that the Paul Hamlyn awards are not classical composer commissions. They are for artists from all disciplines.

      Here’s my one-click research, from the foundation’s website:

      “Our mission is to help people overcome disadvantage and lack of opportunity, so that they can realise their potential and enjoy fulfilling and creative lives.

      We have a particular interest in supporting young people and a strong belief in the importance of the arts.”