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Page last updated at 17:21 GMT, Wednesday, 2 December 2009
Top composer from Northumberland
John Casken
John received his award at The Law Society in London

A musician from Northumberland has won the top prize for vocal music at the British Composer Awards.

John Casken, from Coquetdale in Northumberland, takes inspiration from the landscape and literature of the north-east of England, where he lives.

His piece, The Dream of the Rood, is based on an Old English Christian poem.

Judges at the awards, which celebrate contemporary music, said they were "immediately gripped by its gravitas and beautiful harmonic language".

John said: "I'm absolutely elated, I wasn't expecting it at all, it was a pleasant surprise".

The judges also described the text as a "powerful and emotional piece", and said it was "an epic work setting a striking text".

The ceremony was hosted by BASCA (British Academy of Songwriters, Composer and Authors) at the Law Society in London in association with BBC Radio 3.

Radio 3 will be playing highlights from the British Composer Awards at 7pm.

To listen live to Radio 3 click here

You can also listen again on the BBC iplayer

To hear a short extract from The Dream of the Rood, click on the link above.



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