Pankhurst wins British Composer Award

Lucy Pankhurst has created a unique piece of brass band history by winning a prestigious British Composer Award.


Composer Lucy Pankhurst has created a unique piece of brass band history, by winning a 2011 British Composer Award at the prestigious ceremony held at Stationers’ Hall in London on Wednesday evening.

In Pitch Black

Her atmospheric work, ‘In Pitch Black’ which commemorates the tragic Pretoria Pit Disaster of 21st December 1910, at Hulton Colliery, Westhoughton, close to the home of the Wingates Band – members of which were killed in a disaster that claimed 344 lives, won the Wind Band & Brass Band category – the first time ever that a work for brass has taken the award since its inception in 2003.

Cloud nine

Understandably, Lucy was still on cloud nine when she spoke to 4BR, as she started to finally enjoy the feeling of creating brass banding history, and joining a formidable list of former winners that include internationally renowned composers Adam Gorb, Philip Grange and Andy Scott.

"It’s amazing – although still a bit surreal," she modestly said. "I can’t still quite believe it. It hasn’t really sunk in yet."

Great and good

Sponsored by the Performing Rights Society and presented in association with BBC Radio 3, the great and good of the British compositional world sat back as Lucy’s name was read out accompanied by her image projected onto a large multi media screen with other nominees, Tom Davoren and Emily Howard for their works, ‘Looking In’ and ‘Obsidian’.

Moments later her name was read out, and she was presented with a framed certificate to commemorate her achievement.


"It was a bit like the Oscars," Lucy laughed. "I had to give a little thank you speech and about 30 seconds of the work was played to the audience. I just wasn’t expecting it, but the response from all the other composers on the night was amazing. I was later told it was the first time a brass band work had won, so that makes it even more special."

Lucy is hopeful that the award will not only lead to ‘In Pitch Black’ to be performed more regularly in concert, but will help raise the profile of contemporary brass band music too.

The British Composer Awards juries are consistently looking for contemporary classical music which shows flair, originality and power of communicationSarah Rodgers, Chairman of BASCA

Great talent

"I played on the original recording with Wingates for the CD release, but haven’t yet heard it as a live performance. Hopefully that will take place in the near future as it is such a powerful and emotional work that is very special to me."

New work

In the meantime, Lucy’s new composition ‘Petrichor’ will be premiered at the RNCM Festival of Brass in January, whilst she is also putting the finishing touches to a flute trio.

"Petrichor is inspired by the smell of the earth after it has rained, and is in one continuous movement of around nine minutes in length," she said.

"It's been written for the RNCM Brass Band to play as part of my prize in winning the John Golland Festival Award last year."


The quality and importance of the award to Lucy was summed up by Sarah Rodgers, Chairman of BASCA and Chair of the British Composer Awards.

"The British Composer Awards juries are consistently looking for contemporary classical music which shows flair, originality and power of communication."

The awards will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in ‘Sunday Concert’ on December 4th from 2pm.

Become a supporter and help make our future secure.

4barsrest continues to be a proudly independent voice. There are no paywalls to overcome to be able to enjoy what we do to keep our journalism at the heart of the brass banding world. Support us with a one-off donation or subscribe from just £2.50 per month.

Support us    

Perth Concert Hall

Result: 2021 Scottish Open

November 27 • It's a descriptive musical portrait full of artistry and class from Whitburn as Howard Snell's 'Gallery' gives them their seventh consecutive Scootish Open title.


Yorkshire Youth continues reinvigorated progress

November 26 • The Yorkshire Youth Band has met up again to showcase their progress and enhance their skill sets under the team of Black Dyke Band stars.


Checking the quality...

November 26 • Steven Mead and Roger Webster have been testing the latest batch of Besson euphoniums and cornets to come off the production line in Germany.


Quintet of key signings for Dobcross

November 26 • Dobcross Silver Band has welcome five new players to the ranks as they look forward to the 2022 contesting season.

Regent Hall Concerts - RAF Central Band Wind Ensemble

Friday 26 November • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. London WC1 2 DJ

York Railway Institute Band - Richard Marshall

Friday 26 November • York St John University Chapel. York. North Yorkshire YO31 7EX

Bodmin Town Band - Switch on of Christmas lights, Mount Folly, Bodmin

Friday 26 November • Mount Folly, Bodmin PL312DQ

Contest: Swiss National Championships

Saturday 27 November • Stravinski Hall, Montreaux. Claude-Nobs 5, 1820 Montreaux, Switzerland 1820

Contest: Scottish Open 2021

Saturday 27 November • Mill Street, Perth

Derwent Brass

November 26 • PRINCIPAL EEB BASS / TUBA | DERWENT BRASS | CHAMPIONSHIP SECTION | MIDLANDS. . Derwent Brass - Derbyshire's Premier Brass Band - have a rare vacancy on Principal EEb Tuba. Recent winners of 'Most Entertaining Band' at Bolsover and Wychavon Brass Festivals.

Glossop Old Band

November 26 • GLOSSOP OLD BAND, 1st Section Midlands Area, are looking to recruit the following players with immediate effect. One experienced Front Row Cornet player, position negotiable. (Principal seat available to right applicant), Solo Trombone and Solo Baritone.

Dobcross Silver Band

November 26 • Dobcross Silver Band request applications for the positions following: Eb BASS, FRONT ROW CORNET, BACK ROW CORNET. Come and complete our progressive band!

Darren R. Hawken

PGdip, BMus(hons) PGCE, dipABRSM, LRSM
Conductor, Arranger, Teacher, Adjudicator, Band Trainer


 © 2021 4barsrest.com Ltd