The Ô£50,000 award will go to support the creation of a music project, broadly defined: all three finalists' works resemble sound installations more than concert pieces.
The finalists are Jem Finer, a founding member of the Irish rock band the Pogues; composer Terry Mann; and composer and producer Craig Vear.
Finer's proposed project is titled Score for a Hole in the Ground. He seeks to dig a shaft with bowls of different sizes suspended within; as rain falls, it will cause the bowls to ring and change their timbre as they fill and spill water into the bowls below. The resulting sound will be carried 20 feet about the surface by a brass horn.
Mann has proposed recording every cathedral bell in the U.K. and then manipulating their sounds into a piece of installation art, in a project called The Bells of Paradise. Vear plans to capture live sounds from a buoy off the coast of southwestern England and then feed them into an installation at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.
The winner will be announced in London on July 12; he will have until September 2006 to present his work. The judges include percussionist Evelyn Glennie, film composer Annue Dudley, comedian Stewart Lee, BBC host Verity Sharp, and Aniruddha Das of the electronica group Asian Dub Foundation.