The award, presented by the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters and sponsored by the Performing Right Society, is in its second year. The winners will be announced at a ceremony at Ironmongers' Hall on December 17.
In the orchestral category, the nominees are Joseph Phibbs, for Lumina, Julian Anderson, for Symphony, and Harrison Birtwistle, for Theseus Game.
Thomas Ads' opera The Tempest, a Royal Opera House commission, was nominated in the stage-works category, along with Stephen McNeff's Clockwork and Simon Holt's Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm?.
Other categories include chamber, choral, and liturgical music, among others.
The announcement was made on Tuesday, November 9, before the London premiere of Birtwistle's The Second Mrs. Kong at the Royal Festival Hall.