Making Music announces shortlist for new awards


Making Music’s awards celebrate leisure-time music groups and their activity, and the often unrecognised talent which helps the sector to flourish across the UK. This year, four new awards will be presented by Making Music President Debbie Wiseman OBE at a special online awards ceremony on Tuesday 8 September.

Shortlist for best music creator

  • Aleksandar Kostić, Hymns of the Night, for Eclectic Voices (London)
  • Tom James, Mad Meg, for Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra (Yorkshire)
  • John Gourlay, Concerto di Famiglia, for the Kirkcaldy Orchestral Society (Scotland)

Special mentions from the panel:

  • Errol Lewis, Señor Panman, for the Melodians Steel Orchestra (London)
  • Chris Long, Songs of the Soul, for Ex Urbe Chamber Choir (West Midlands)

The panel, headed by Making Music President Debbie Wiseman OBE, also included Tom Farncombe from Hal Leonard Europe, Steve Dummer from the Horsham Symphony Orchestra and Dorothy Wilson MBE FRSA, Chair of Making Music. Given the wide variety of talent and different kinds of music in the submissions, the panel commented that it was difficult even to shortlist.

“The overall standard was so good,” Debbie Wiseman confirmed, “and it was great to see that groups all over the UK are commissioning new music and enjoying engaging with living composers. We would like to celebrate them all!”

Shortlist for best arranger

  • George Morton, arranging Clara Schumann’s Quatre Pièces Caractéristiques for Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra (originally piano score)
  • Heather Lane, arranging songs from the musical Calamity Jane for ladies’ barbershop chorus Gem Connections
  • Jesse D Vernon, arranging Jynweythew Ylow by the Aphex Twins for the Fantasy Orchestra

The same panel found decision-making once again difficult, especially given the different genres represented in the submissions and shortlist.

Making Music CEO Barbara Eifler said: “Great arrangers are crucial to our member groups, making a wide range of repertoire available to them, and the skills of arrangers are beautifully exemplified in this varied shortlist.”

Shortlist for best project involving new music

  • Reading Phoenix Choir – Walter Hussey Composition Competition, theme: ‘Gold’, receiving nearly 200 entries from all over the world
  • Music Action International – Conflict and Compassion, in partnership with refugee torture survivor collective, Stone Flowers, and Manchester Camerata Orchestra
  • Kirkcaldy Orchestral Society – Schools Composition Project, in partnership with Dunfermline High School and The Waid Academy

The panel for this award comprised Carl Stevens, Arts Council England Senior Manager, Audience Insight & Innovation / Music; Peter Lawson, promoter and former Making Music Chair; conductor and producer Clare Edwards; and Dorothy Wilson MBE FRSA, Making Music Chair.

“It was a pleasure and privilege to review so many innovative and interesting projects from all over the UK,” said Dorothy Wilson, “In the end, alongside quality, we considered innovation, diversity and community involvement when reaching our difficult decision.”

Shortlist for best photo capturing the spirit of a leisure-time music group (photos attached)

  • Melodians Steel Orchestra UK
  • Thames Valley Chorus (Reading Barbershop Harmony Club)
  • Streetwise Opera

Special mention from panel:

  • The Fantasy Orchestra

The panel comprised head of creative agency Cog, Michael Smith, professional photographer Sam Reed, Making Music trustee Andrew Rixon and Making Music Communications & Marketing Manager Natalie Joanes.

“I loved being part of the judging panel for these awards. The passion of the groups and the poignancy of their backstories shone through in the entries,” said Michael Smith, Director of Cog Design. “Congratulations to everyone who entered and, of course, especially to the well-deserved winner.”

The winners in each category will be announced on Tuesday 8 September at 7.15pm during a special Zoom Awards Ceremony. To receive an invitation, contact

A news item announcing the shortlist for the awards is available on the Making Music website.