The winner of the RWCMD Cory Composition Prize for 2022, sponsored by New Moon Insurance, is ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’ by Benjamin Fuller. Ben, a 20-year old composition student at James Madison University in Virginia USA, beat three other shortlisted finalists to the top prize from an initial field of 35 entries and after an intense period of online audience voting and detailed scrutiny from official judges Philip Harper, Liz Lane and Nigel Seaman.
The winning composer Benjamin Fuller commented: “I’m so incredibly honoured to receive this news! The Cory Band has always been one of my go-to ensembles for brass band listening, and watching ‘The Tortoise and The Hare’ evolve from mere sketches on paper to an award-winning composition has been an absolutely fantastic journey! Thank you so much to Philip Harper, The Cory Band, and everyone who has assisted me in my musical career! “
The other shortlisted pieces were ‘Dance With the Brass Tonight’ by Kateřina Horká from the Czech Republic, ‘Aspects of the Sky’ by Hans Loirs from France, and ‘Reminiscence’ by Hendrick de Boer from the Netherlands. Cory Band released one video performance per day at the beginning of last week, and the videos attracted over 35,000 views worldwide. The band then opened a 72-hour public voting window in which over 1,500 votes were cast. The official judges then also made their decision and the final results were calculated with a 50/50 weighting between public and official judgements.
The winner of the public vote was ‘Dance With the Brass Tonight’; Both Nigel Seaman and Philip Harper’s winner was ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’, and Liz Lane’s winner was ‘Aspects of the Sky’. Philip Harper commented: “As everyone can see from the varied set of results, all four of the finalists were evenly matched and I would actually have been very happy to add any of them to our current Cory Band repertoire. We offer our congratulations to all four finalists.”
Highlights of the judges’ remarks for ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’ were as follows:
Nigel Seaman: “This is an effective and enjoyable depiction of the famous Aesop fable with great opportunities for audience participation. Careful preparation will be required for the not insurmountable technical demands of the work but it will pay off in a highly enjoyable and successful inclusion in any concert programme.”
Liz Lane: “Effective opening, and an imaginative concept which tells a great story and brings a smile to the face; nice touches include the gliss at bar 14 and free accel 4 bars before the end. Further developed melodic material and shaping, along with harmonic variety and interest, would generally enhance musical memorability, but the audience and band would have fun.”
Winning composer Benjamin Fuller will receive a £300 cash prize, sponsored by New Moon Insurance, as well as a contract to publish the piece with Wright and Round Music Publishers. ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’ will then be performed by Cory Band at its upcoming concerts.