RNCM alumna Emily Howard has won a British Composer Award alongside Royal Manchester College of Music graduate Sir Harrison Birtwistle, presented during a ceremony held at Goldsmiths’ Hall on Monday 3 December.

Emily, who graduated in 2003, was shortlisted for a Making Music Award for her composition Mesmerism for Piano and Chamber Orchestra, while Sir Harrison’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra won the Orchestral category.

Speaking of her win, Emily said: 'I'm absolutely delighted to have received the 2012 Making Music British Composer Award and particularly so for Mesmerism, commissioned by the Liverpool Mozart Orchestra (LMO) in its Diamond Jubilee year, with support from the PRS for Music Foundation.

'I’ve been lucky enough to be associated with the LMO since I was very young. My father was a cellist with the orchestra for 27 years and my mother has performed piano concertos with them. I grew up listening to the LMO rehearse and attending their concerts and I’m certain that this experience helped to nurture my love for orchestral writing and for composition in general. 

'The LMO has enriched Merseyside culturally for more than 60 years and continues to do so, with strong leadership from current Musical Director Mark Heron. It has been a particular pleasure to write for and to work closely with pianist (and RNCM alumna) Alexandra Dariescu and thanks must go to Mark Heron (also RNCM alumnus and staff) for dreaming up the project in the first place.' 

A total of 39 composers were shortlisted by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA), including alumni Gavin Higgins (2005) and Andy Scott (1989).