The Organ Of Corti was put together by composer David Prior and architect Frances Crow – netting the pair a £50,000 prize to help develop the project.
The biannual prize, which was first introduced in 2005, is presented to the most groundbreaking idea for a new musical work.
Indeed, the Organ of Corti has been named as a “piece of sound art” which will collect and recycle sounds from the atmosphere.
Essentially, the instrument sculpts sounds. Using a portable structure to collect sounds from any number of different environments it then recycles them using sonic crystals.
Its creators claim that the idea behind the unique organ is to encourage people to listen more carefully and be more aware of the sounds around them and make people listen “differently to what is there in a sound-saturated world”.
The organ will premiere at the City of London Festival in July 2011 before it begins a whistle-stop tour of a further three locations around the UK.
Among the judging panel was the Guardian’s chief arts writer Charlotte Higgins who explained that the final decision for the winning work had been unanimous.
“The judges admired the quiet beauty of the idea of ‘recycling’ sound in a world saturated by noise and overwhelmed by music,” she said.
“In a world obsessed by glitz and glamour of large-scale, bells-and-whistles events, the thoughtful, discreet and gentle idea of the Organ of Corti utterly caught [the judges’] imagination.”
Meanwhile, Sally Taylor, chair of PRS for Music, told the Guardian that the award was “about looking beyond the obvious and the commercial and envisaging the music of the future. All five ideas on this year’s shortlist, which ranged from site-specific sound art to African-inspired human beatbox, captured this spirit of adventure and discovery.”