The 1st Peter Rosser Composition Award with Hard Rain Soloist Ensemble

29 Apr 2016 - 4:00pm


PETER ROSSER 1970 - 2014

“It’s a familiar irony, and a great comforter, that troubled and destructive places are often blessed with a superabundance of creativity. In the early 1990s, pre-ceasefires, Belfast may have been scarred and exhausted... but visitors were always surprised.. at how, in this most compact of cities, its writers, artists and musicians were so clearly evident.” Peter Rosser (2012) ‘Global Ear, Belfast’, The Wire. PETER ROSSER

Peter Rosser was a composer, writer, educator, and catalyst for the Arts in Northern Ireland. He was born in London and moved to Belfast in 1990 where he studied composition with David Morris at the University of Ulster and was awarded a DPhil in 1997. His music featured at the Spital elds Festival in London, the Hudders eld Contemporary Music Festival, the Belfast Festival at Queen’s, Between the Lines Literary Festival, the Dartington International Summer School and the Crash Festival in Dublin. Performers of his music include Irvine Arditti, Mieko Kanno, the Composers’ Ensemble, the Ulster Orchestra, Nua Nós, Concorde, Isabelle O’Connell, Simon Mawhinney, Scott Heron and Aoife Miskelly.

In 2012 his Second String Quartet was premiered by the JACK Quartet as part of the opening concert at Belfast’s new Metropolitan Arts Centre; the project was supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Major Individual Artist Award. Peter championed local composers and performers, inspired young people through his teaching, and was unafraid to question the musical status quo of his adopted homeland through his journalism. It is our intention through this competition, to encourage a new generation of Irish and Northern Irish composers by challenging them to create exciting new work for the Hard Rain Soloist Ensemble.


The Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble is the only musical group in Northern Ireland to specialise in the performance of modern and contemporary repertoire. Its remit
is to give a voice to local composers and to perform their music in the context of music by leading exponents of contemporary music from elsewhere in Europe and the rest of the world. It aims to programme music that otherwise cannot be heard live locally, while serving as an outlet for the talent of highly specialist performers and acting as a meeting point for their innovation, ideas and enthusiasm.

The ensemble was founded by the composer Greg Ca rey, who remains their Artistic Director. The core ensemble features Aisling Agnew ( utes), Sarah Watts (clarinets), Joanne Quigley (violin), David McCann (cello) and Sean Morton Rooney (piano).

Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble’s incredible line-up of players make the performance of contemporary music a central aspect of their creative lives.


The 1st Peter Rosser Composition Award, 2016 was jointly established by Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble and the Peter Rosser Foundation in memory of our esteemed colleague and friend. It is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland,
The Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland, Cormac O’Kane of Red Box Recording Studio, Belfast as well as through generous donations made in Peter’s memory by friends and colleagues.


Submission to the award is open to composers born or domicile in N. Ireland and Republic of Ireland. The competition is open to composers regardless of age. However, the award is aimed at emerging composers. The organisers, therefore, welcome submissions from composers at the start of their careers and composers without a substantial track record of performances or commissions.


  • Deadlines for Submission 4pm Friday 29th April 2016

  • 3 prizewinning composers will be shortlisted by Friday 13th May 2016 and the shortlisted composers will be informed by email

  • All Shortlisted works will be workshopped, performed and recorded (as well as video streamed) by Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble at a special event in Red Box Recording Studio, Belfast on Friday 27th May 2016


The following awards will be bestowed:

  • 1ST PRIZE £1,000

  • 2ND PRIZE £500

  • 3RD PRIZE £250


  1. 1.1  One shortlisted place will be reserved for a composer domiciled or born in Northern Ireland.

  2. 1.2  Allsubmittedcompositionsshouldnothavebeenperformedbefore,must not be published and should be written speci cally for the 1st Peter Rosser Composition Award and the Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble.

    The following statement must appear in a preface page of the score:

    “This score was written for submission in the 1st Peter Rosser Composition Award 2016 and for the Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble”.

  3. 1.3  Compositions must use all 5 of the following instruments: Violin, Cello, Flute (optional doubling picc & alto), Bb Clarinet (optional doubling bass clarinet) and piano. Scores that di er in any way from this instrumentation will not be admissible. The use of electronics or a tape element is not permitted.

  4. 1.4  Thecompositionshouldbebetween5and8minutesdurationandshould state the exact duration in the preface page.

  5. 1.5  OnlycomposerswhocanattendtheworkshopandperformanceinBelfast on Friday 27th May 2016 will be eligible for the award. A travel bursary for composers traveling to the event from within NI and ROI will be made available through the Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland.

  6. 1.6  Thedecisionofthejuryinrelationtotheshortlistingofworksandthe bestowing of awards is nal. No further correspondence will be entered into.

  7. 1.7  The jury reserves the right not to make awards where it feels a minimum required standard has not been met.

  8. 1.8  Only one piece may be submitted by a composer.


Submissions must be sent in 2 separate emails. Please send your submission using the email address that you would like us to use for all future correspondence to: [email protected]

The rst email must contain:

  1. 2.1  The composition (along with a full set of parts) submitted as PDF les
    (A synthesized recording of the piece as an mp3 le is optional).
    Any extended techniques or non-standard notation must be explained in the preface page.

  2. 2.2  Neither the performance materials (including score), nor the mp3 should contain the composer’s name. If the composers name is included anywhere on the submitted materials the submission will be deemed ineligible.

  3. 2.3  The score and parts must be marked with a logo or pseudonym.

The second email must contain:

  1. 2.4  An A4 PDF document with your name, postal address, date of birth, place of study (if applicable), contact telephone number and the identifying logo or pseudonym used to identify the score. You should copy and paste the following statement onto this document and sign it.

    I can con rm, if this piece is shortlisted, that I will be available for the workshop and performance in Belfast on Friday 27th May 2016 and that I accept the rules of the award as set out in Section 1. and the guidelines for submission as set out in Section 2. This piece was written exclusively for
    the 1st Peter Rosser Award and Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble and has never been previously published, performed or recorded. I understand that the copyright of the work will remain with the composer, however the recording made during the workshop or performance will remain the property of Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble and may be used in the future by the composer for promotional purpose only, not for commercial purposes and only with the ensembles permission. I accept that any breach of the rules or guidelines for submission will result in the work being deemed as ineligible for the award.

    Signed Composer

  2. 2.5  A photocopy of the photo page in either a Irish or UK passport showing your place of birth as being in either N. Ireland or Rep. of Ireland. In
    the case of an applicant originally from outside N.Ireland or ROI who
    is claiming to be domicile in NI or ROI, in addition to your passport photocopy showing your nationality, you must provide a utility bill in your name showing your address in either NI or ROI.

  3. 2.6  A short biog (less than 200 words) and high res photo.