Preview: PRS New Music Award 2008, Nationwide

The Turner Prize of the sound world
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The Independent Culture

The English folk musician Eliza Carthy wants to create the first ever new score for a Victorian Carousel Standard 54 organ located on Brighton Beach. The premiere of the piece would be performed on this organ with a large ensemble of live musicians, on the seafront in Brighton.

Meanwhile, the sound artist Robert Jarvis proposes to create a "choir of bats" in Echolocation. He will place bat detectors around London Wetland Centre and tune into the ultrasonic bio-sonar calls of the bats that visit each night (10,000 of them at busy times). He would transmit the chirps to a central computer to be turned into a surround-sound experience, for visitors at the centre.

These are just two of the six shortlisted proposals for the prestigious PRS Foundation New Music Award 2008 that pioneers contemporary British music in much the same way that the Turner Prize does contemporary British art. The winner, to be announced today, will be able to turn a dream into a reality, with prize money of £50,000.

Other proposals include the jazz maestro Django Bates's Pedal Tones, a live, bicycle-driven musical performance that would take an estimated year to complete. Various cyclists would ride a specially designed bicycle around the UK, with pedals that, when turned, would operate four ratchet music boxes that create similar sounds to an ice-cream-van jingle.

The "human beatbox" Shlomo aims to team up with classical composer Anna Meredith, who is also composing a piece for the Last Night of the Proms, to create a new concerto for beatbox and orchestra. And creating a musical instrument based on the workings of the brain is the brainchild of two media-arts lecturers at the University of Plymouth, Jane Grant and John Matthias, with BAFTA-award-winning composer Nick Ryan. Lastly, singer/songwriter Netsayi Chigwendere hopes to create a new operetta.

The six films that will be shown at the ceremony can be viewed at ( www.prsfoundation.co.uk/newmusicaward)

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