The Martyn Bennett Prize for Traditional Music Composition

The Martyn Bennett Prize for Traditional Music


The Martyn Bennett Prize for Traditional Music Composition

The Queen’s Hall and the Traditional Music Forum are inviting submissions for a compositional prize for new work that takes its inspiration from Scottish traditional music. Applications are open to all composers and musicians aged 16+ based in Scotland whose work and practice evidences the influence of Scottish traditional music.

The submitted piece should be between five and ten minutes long and not previously performed in public in either informal or formal settings. The work should have its roots in Scottish traditional music and look outward to a connected world. The competition is only open to instrumental music; songs with lyrics will not be considered, but the use of vocal elements (eg chanting) is allowed. Applicants should compose for the following range of instruments: Accordion, Pipes, Whistles, Keyboard, Fiddle, Cello, Guitar, Percussion.

There is no requirement to compose for all of these instruments but there is an expectation that applicants will make good creative use of the resources available.

Entries will be anonymised on receipt and considered by a judging panel chaired by Jim Sutherland ( The judging panel will select up to six compositions which will be presented live in a concert at The Queen’s Hall on Saturday 14 September 2013. The work will be performed by a group of professional musicians under the direction of Anna Massie ( and a final winner selected by the judging panel. The concert will be open to the public and all the performances will be recorded for use by The Queen’s Hall and the Traditional Music Forum. Shortlisted composers will also have access to these recordings of their performance from the concert.

The winner will receive a cash prize of £2000 and the runner-up £1000.

About Martyn

Martyn Bennett (1971-2005) was one of Scotland's most ambitious and accomplished composers, multi-instrumentalists and performers. This prize for traditional music composition is named in his honour.

Kirsten Bennett of The Martyn Bennett Trust said: “Martyn was a forward thinking musician who paved the way with new and groundbreaking work. This prize acknowledges his immense talent and influence in music and the Martyn Bennett Trust are delighted to be associated with it.”

Adrian Harris, Chief Executive of The Queen’s Hall added: “Scottish traditional music is one of the building blocks of The Queen’s Hall’s activities and Martyn Bennett was one of its most talented ambassadors. His international reputation took Scottish traditional music to new audiences across the world and it’s an honour to be able to continue his legacy with this prize.”

David Francis, Executive Officer of Traditional Music Forum commented: “High quality composition is a key aspect of traditional music and one that is interesting more and more musicians, especially after Martyn's huge impact. It demonstrates that trad music is dynamic and evolving, driving its development forward and securing its future. This prize will encourage Scottish composers to produce their best work and expose it to a wider audience.”

Application Pack

Download the full application pack by clicking here (Word file).

A Summary of the Prize

All entries must be received by 5pm, Mon 12 August 2013

The work must be the unaided work of the entrant and be an original instrumental composition. All entries must supply the following three files for a successful entry:

  1. AUDIO FILE – the audio file should be supplied in a compressed format (eg MP3/MP4/AAC/WAV) as they need to be easily collated and distributed to the competition judges. Do not supply uncompressed audio files (eg AIF, FLAC) because of their size. Remember, this prize is for composition, not for recording quality. 
  2. MANUSCRIPT FILE - A manuscript of the music must accompany each application. Please provide this as a PDF file. 
  3. ENTRY FORM – Please complete the entry form in the application pack.
  • The composition must be titled but the composers name should not appear on any of the submitted formats (eg do not include your name on the manuscript PDF)
  • Ensure that all your submitted documents use descriptive file titles (eg Jon McKay – The Dance Tune.mp3”, not “new_song.mp3"). Any files that are not clearly identifiable will not be considered. If your files are too large for sending directly via email, please use a file-sharing service like YouSendIt, Dropbox or Google Drive.
  • Entrants aged 16-17 years old on Mon 12 August 2013 must have parental/guardian permission to enter the competition.
  • The copyright of the music shall remain with the composer.
  • No submitted material will be returned. 
  • Shortlisted composers must be available to attend one rehearsal session and the final performance at The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, from Wed 11 – Sat 14 September 2013 (the rehearsal times will be allocated once the final shortlist has been approved).
  • The competition is not open to staff of The Queen’s Hall and The Traditional Music Forum or their family members, members of the judging panel or their immediate family and those of the performers.
  • The judges’ decision shall be final. 


Fri 28 June 2013  - Competition Open.

Mon 12 August 2013  - Closing Date.

Fri 30 August 2013 - Shortlist Announced.

Wed 11 - Sat 14 September 2013 - Shortlisted composition rehearsals.

Sat 14 September 2013 - Finalists' Concert, The Queen's Hall, Edinburgh/Award of the Martyn Bennett Prize for Traditional Music Composition.