George Butterworth Award 2023: Winner Announced

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The George Butterworth Award is awarded annually to a UK-based composer, for an outstanding new work created through one of Sound and Music’s artist development programmes. We’re delighted to announce that this year’s winner of the £1,500 award is New Voices 2021 artist Chisara Agor, for her work Nocturnal Sun.

Nocturnal Sun one of their most ambitious works to date supported by Sound and Music UK and developed as part of Britten Pear’s residency programme at Snape Maltings. This will culminate in large scale work of music, visual art and dance in a piece that explores humanity’s relationship with the sun, set primarily in a world where the nearest star is dying with a live and electronic score.

Watch Movement I: Dust below.

Artistic Director, Composer, Choreographer and Designer: Chisara Agor
Ensemble: Violin, Blaize Henry; Trumpet, Alistair Martin; Bass, Robin G Breeze; Vocals, Chisara Agor
Dancers: Maya Williams, Chisara Agor

Q+A with Chisara Agor about award-winning project, Nocturnal Sun


Q: Tell us about your piece—how did it come about, what was the creative process like?

A: Nocturnal Sun came about as an interest in expanding my inter-disicplinary practice but also a vehicle for deeper exploration into cosmology, ecology and performance art. The process was expansive and inter weaving meaning I was able to hone my skills as a composer and write for a larger and unique ensemble as well as learn more about pre-colonial cosmology in Nigeria, dance and visual and textile art.

Q: What does winning the George Butterworth Award mean to you?

A: It’s made me very happy to know that my music has connected with people and that I am able to fully transform my thoughts and feelings into music and art. Winning the award has provided a boost of confidence and support as I continue my journey with the project.

Q: How did being on the New Voices programme impact on the development of the work and on you as a composer? 

A: It gave me the space to think bigger, provided me with the support to achieve my ideas and allow time and patience for projects to come to their fruition.

About the artist


Ever-shifting environments, constantly (r)evolving juxtapositions of experience, are recurring themes in much of Chisara Agor’s art. Their works span the music, theatre, film and art world shifting between a seamless melting-pot of sounds, self-expressions and story-telling. In all the artist’s work there is an impulse to reimagine and critique worlds, while inviting public conversation and self-reflection. Chisara’s practice is informed by her performance training and philosophical practice. This is manifested through her inter-disciplinary works and commissions that showcase her evolving career.

You can find out more about Chisara by visiting her website.

If you’d like to support Sound and Music’s work to champion new music and the work of all British composers and creators you can do so here.

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