Douglas Lilburn

The Lilburn Prize

The Lilburn Prize was established in 2000 as a national composition competition. It is jointly run by Radio New Zealand Concert and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. It was first run in 2000 as the "Music 2000 Prize". It was renamed for the 2003 competition in memory of Douglas Lilburn.

Periodically New Zealand composers, and composers resident in New Zealand, are invited to enter a newly composed symphonic score of approximately 8 to 12 minutes. A judging panel appointed by the two organisations chooses five finalists. The finalists' works are recorded by the NZSO and broadcast on Radio New Zealand Concert.

The winning piece is judged by votes from the panel, audience, and orchestra, and is subsequently performed in an NZSO subscription concert. The winning composer is awarded a substantial cash prize, as well as a further commission from the NZSO. There are also prizes for panel, audience and orchestra favourites.


  • Overall Winner, Orchestra Prize and Audience Prize: Lissa Meridan this present brightness
  • Panel Prize: Chris Watson circuit:spiral
  • Finalists: Jonathan Besser Reflections in Thirds, Patrick Shepherd cryosphere, Craig Utting Lahar


  • Overall Winner, Orchestra Prize and Audience Prize: Michael Norris Rays of the Sun, Shards of the Moon
  • Finalists: Craig Utting Cirrus, Lucy Mulgan Cape Reinga, Anthony Young Mamaku


  • Overall Winner and Orchestra Prize: Penny Axtens Part the Second
  • Audience Prize: Christopher Marshall Hikurangi Sunrise
  • Finalists: Jonathan Besser Predawn Meditation, Michael Norris Nightdances, Craig Utting Spirals