The Geddes Peterson Foundation, which carries forward the legacy of John Maxwell Geddes, one of Scotland’s leading classical composers, is calling on classical composers based in Scotland to submit work and enter to win this year’s award.

Upon his death in September 2017 a lifelong colleague and friend, Hal Peterson, who lives and works in California, contacted SMC to offer a financial donation in John’s name. Together with Hal, the SMC and the Geddes family formed the Geddes Peterson Foundation with the objective of establishing an annual award to enable support and inspiration for aspiring classical composers in Scotland.


The winner of the Geddes Peterson Foundation Award 2019 is Ben Lunn, a 28 year old composer from Sunderland. He studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. He now resides in Glasgow working across conducting, musicology, teaching and composing. His work has been featured at international festivals, he’s worked with renowned ensembles, and had the privilege of lecturing at some of the world’s finest academic institutions.

Ben commented, “It is a joy to receive this award, especially when it is for a piece that one has a certain closeness with. I have not won many things in my life, it is an honour. The legacy of John Maxwell Geddes is a vital one to maintain and it is overwhelming to be associated with him.

Executive Director of the Scottish Music Centre, Gill Maxwell, said, “We had a good range of entries for this year’s award, demonstrating the breadth of talent and quality of Scotland’s emerging contemporary classical composers. Well done Ben, Scottish Music Centre look forward to supporting you in any way we can”


The criteria for entry are:

  • Composers should be based or regularly working in Scotland
  • 2-4 minute piece of classical music for solo, chamber or orchestra
  • Must be a new (previously unperformed) piece

Aileen Sweeney, who won the first ever Geddes Peterson Foundation award, encouraged her contemporaries to submit a piece for a chance to collect the prize.

She said: “Winning the Geddes Peterson Foundation award last year was a great honour. It gave a huge confidence boost in my work. It opened doors for me that wouldn’t have otherwise been available and I’d urge other up and coming classical composers based in Scotland to put forward a new piece of their work.”

This year the winner will receive a cash award (£400) and free publicity by the Scottish Music Centre.

Hal Peterson will visit Scotland this summer and – along with Glasgow based composer Oliver Searle – will make up the judging panel and will announce a winning entry in July 2019.

If you wish to make a donation please contact the SMC directly on