The George Butterworth Award was a prize of £1,500 given annually between 2013 and 2023 to a UK-based composer for the creation of an outstanding new work developed through one of our artist development Programmes.  

The George Butterworth Award was awarded by the Society for the Promotion of New Music annually between 1993 and 2008 after which it was then incorporated into Sound and Music. 

The George Butterworth Memorial Fund was established in 1921 by the composer’s family, together with initial trustees including Ralph Vaughan Williams and George Dyson. It was funded by income from the estate of the composer himself who was tragically killed on the Somme during the First World War, having been awarded the Military Cross. 

Who was George Butterworth?

George Butterworth (1885-1916) was a British composer, folk song collector and country dancer born in London.

He is best known for the orchestral idyll The Banks of Green Willow and his song settings of A. E. Houseman's poems, and was friends with Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Butterworth joined the British Army at the outbreak of the First World War. He was killed in 1916 at Pozières, France during the Battle of the Somme aged just 31. In the chaos of war Butterworth was buried where he fell and his remains were never subsequently identified.

Previous winners

Awarded by Sound and Music:

"Receiving the George Butterworth Award is a really special moment, not least because within the context of the shocking amount of racism towards Chinese communities catalysed by Covid-19, it brings a touch of optimism that it is possible to present different narratives of what it can mean to be of Chinese heritage today."
Alex Ho
George Butterworth Award

Thank you

Supported using public funding by Arts Council England

Paul Hamlyn Foundation logo
PRS TDP logo

Featured composer

See also


In Motion is an 18-month artist development programme supporting anyone working with music and sound to innovate fundamental breakthroughs in the way they make work and sustain their career. 

Find out more about In Motion and how to apply 

A white man with dark hair and a white shirt is making notes on a score while a white woman with glasses makes corrections

All applicants to our In Motion programme who have been shortlisted and interviewed are awarded a targeted package of support, including coaching sessions and a small grant.

Find out more about our Seed Award

Shamima Ruddock, a Francis Chagrin Award winner

In the Making is our annual trailblazing artist development programme for young people aged 14-18 and it is the only programme of its type in the UK that supports young composers.   

Find out more about In the Making