Emeritus Professor Wins Top Music Medal

Emeritus Professor of Music, John Casken, has been awarded the inaugural Tippett Medal by the Royal Music Association.


The Tippett Medal is a new prize for composition which welcomed 54 submissions from a wide variety of compositional practices.  

This prestigious honour was awarded for Casken's The Shackled King, a drama for bass, mezzo-soprano and ensemble based on Shakespeare's King Lear. According to the prize jury, 'the winning piece exhbited a level of creative excellence which was impossible to ignore. Imaginatively presented and ideally matching the quality of the composition, a piece which demands a rich future life.'

The Shackled King received its first performance under lockdown at The University of Manchester in December 2020 with Sir John Tomlinson in the title role and Rozanna Madylus as Cordelia, Goneril, Regan and The Fool. Its first public performance was at the Buxton International Festival on Friday, 23 July 2021 with the same cast.

Professor Casken worked at The University of Manchester from 1992 to 2008, and while Head of the School of Music and Drama oversaw the building of the Martin Harris Centre. He retains strong links with the Music Department as Emeritus Professor of Music and has established himself as one of the most distinctive composers of his generation, with works across every genre and inspiration from literature and legend as well as landscape and the visual arts.  

His other stage works include the opera Golem (for which he was awarded the first Britten Prize for Composition in 1990), God's Liar (2000) and the monodrama Kokoschka's Doll, premiered at the Cheltenham Festival in 2017.

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