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The best new works by Britain’s contemporary composers have been announced today, with thirty-seven composers nominated for the 2018 British Composer Awards across 12 categories including orchestral, jazz, sonic art, chamber ensemble, stage works and wind or brass band.

Highlighting the diversity and vibrancy of contemporary composition in the UK today, the 2018 British Composer Awards nominees include: numerous works demonstrating the ways in which today’s composers give a voice to marginalised groups in society; compositions inspired by poetry and other artforms such as visual art and literature; and works that breathe new life and meaning into history.

Nominees giving a voice to disenfranchised groups in society include: a work by the world’s only ‘recovery’ orchestra (Conall Gleeson), composed and performed by an orchestra in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction; an opera reviving forgotten music by history’s overlooked female composers (Tom Green); and music composed for disabled performers (Oliver SearleLiam Taylor-West).

Compositions taking inspiration from poetry and other artforms include: a piece drawing on world music and Indian poetry to build musical bridges between cultures (Roxanna Panufnik); a reimagining of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner to apply to refugees in the world today, first performed by children who are refugees themselves (Dee Isaacs); and a brass band composition based on coal mining strikes and inspired by poet Mervyn Peake (Gavin Higgins).

Nominated composers reinterpreting and breathing new life into history include: a brass band piece inspired by the life of Alan Turing (Simon Dobson); an orchestral work exploring the notion of ‘Deep Time’ through music (Harrison Birtwistle); a sonic art installation celebrating the rediscovery of a forgotten Baptist Burial Ground (Emily Peasgood); and a full-length string concert inspired by the North Sea Flood of 1953 (Oliver Coates).

A record-breaking year for entries, 2018 saw over 560 submissions, demonstrating the volume of quality new music being composed and debuted in the UK. This year all categories have been judged anonymously for the first time, and a second jazz category has been added. In 2018 51 per cent of the composer are aged under 40, and are first-time nominees.

The British Composer Awards are presented by BASCA and sponsored by PRS for Music. The event is in association with BBC Radio 3 providing exclusive broadcast coverage.

Crispin HuntChair at BASCA, said: “In this record-breaking year for entries, BASCA is delighted to celebrate the breadth of works for the British Composer Awards, representing a wealth of UK talent. As ever it’s hugely exciting and inspiring to see the fresh passion represented by our first-time nominees. Congratulations to everyone nominated today.”

Nigel EldertonPRS for Music Chairman, commented: “I am delighted for PRS for Music to once again be supporting the British Composer Awards, with its impeccable record of recognising the best contemporary classical works. It is inspiring to see that over half of this year’s nominated composers are aged under 40 and first-time nominees, showing that the UK classical music landscape is truly continuing to flourish. Congratulations to you all and I look forward to celebrating with you at the ceremony in December.”

Alan DaveyController BBC Radio 3, added: “Broadcasting the outstanding work of composers from across the UK – throughout our schedule – is an intrinsic part of our role to connect audiences with remarkable music and culture. We look forward to sharing highlights of this year’s awards and some of these marvellous new compositions on the station.”

Celebrating the art of composition and showcasing the creative talent of contemporary composers and sound artists, the winners in each category will be announced at a ceremony at the British Museum in London on Tuesday 4 December 2018.

Presented by BBC Radio 3’s Andrew McGregor and Sara Mohr-Pietsch, the ceremony will include a performance in memory of nominated composer, Oliver Knussen and the presentation of two Gift of BASCA awards – the British Composer Award for Innovation and the British Composer Award for Inspiration, presented in association with the Music Publishers Association.

British Composer Awards 2018 Nominees:

Amateur or Young Performers
Works for voluntary, amateur or youth choirs and ensembles
• Fiery Tales by Richard Bullen
• Microscopic Dances by Oliver Searle
• The Caretaker’s Guide to the Orchestra by Jeremy Holland-Smith

Chamber Ensemble
Six or more instruments or voices written for one player or voice per part
• Libro di fiammelle e ombre by James Weeks
• O Hototogisu! by Oliver Knussen
• Tanz/haus : triptych 2017 by James Dillon

Choral
A cappella or accompanied, except works for choir and orchestra
• In the Land of Uz by Judith Weir
• Mielo by Raymond Yiu
• Unending Love by Roxanna Panufnik

Community or Educational Project
Works demonstrating a composer’s work in community engagement alongside compositional craft
• Solace by Conall Gleeson
• The Rime of the Ancient Mariner- a retelling for our times by Dee Isaacs
• The Umbrella by Liam Taylor-West

Jazz Composition for Large Ensemble
Nine or more instruments or voices that contain interactive improvisation as an essential element
• Afronaut by Cassie Kinoshi
• Rituals by Matt London
• Time by Finlay Panter

Jazz Composition for Small Ensemble
Up to eight instruments or voices that contain interactive improvisation as an essential element
• Close to Ecstasy by Simon Lasky
• Vegetarians by Ivo Neame
• You’ve Got to Play the Game by Johnny Richards

Orchestral
• Deep Time by Harrison Birtwistle
• Recorder Concerto by Graham Fitkin
• The Imaginary Museum by Julian Anderson

Small Chamber
Three to five instruments or voices written for one player or voice per part
• Chant by Charlotte Bray
• Lines Between by Robert Laidlow
• Unbreathed by Rebecca Saunders

Solo or Duo
Instrumental or vocal music performed by one or two players or voices
• A Damned Mob of Scribbling Women by Laura Bowler
• Belmont Chill by William Marsey
• The Harmonic Canon by Dominic Murcott

Sonic Art
Sound art installations, electronic music and works with live electronics
• Halfway to Heaven by Emily Peasgood
• The Otheroom by Rolf Wallin
• Two Machines by Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian and Hugh Jones as ‘Crewdson & Cevanne’

Stage Works
Works specifically written for the stage, including opera, dance and musical theatre
• Shorelines by Oliver Coates
• The Exterminating Angel by Thomas Adès
• The World’s Wife by Tom Green

Wind Band or Brass Band
• Dark Arteries Suite by Gavin Higgins
• Mindscapes by Lucy Pankhurst
• The Turing Test by Simon Dobson

Works eligible for the 2018 British Composer Awards must have received a UK premiere between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018. Works are also composed by a composer born in the UK or ordinarily resident in the UK.

For more information visit the British Composer Awards website

The Gold Badge Awards return this month to honour and celebrate eleven outstanding individuals who have inspired or supported the creator community. Ahead of the ceremony on Friday 19th October, we meet composer Sarah Rodgers, who has dedicated herself to championing music creators and will be collecting an Award in recognition of her work…

How do you feel about receiving a Gold Badge Award from the songwriting and composing community?

“Honoured and delighted! Gold Badge is a very special occasion and I’m looking forward to seeing colleagues and friends.”

What has been the most pivotal moment in your career?

“Writing the music for a film about the National Trust, which meant I then had something for people to watch and listen to. Recordings are a much more commonplace resource these days but in the 1980s it was far harder to achieve and having an audio calling-card made all the difference. Not long after that, a composer exchange involving a two week visit to Russia in 1989 (about 6 months before the Berlin Wall came down) was key to my commitment to helping UK composers find a united voice and to speaking out in the interests of all music creators.”

Which person has been the most influential figure in your career and why?

“Without a shadow of doubt, the person who has given me the most support, encouraged me to say, ‘yes’ when I might have said, ‘maybe’, conjured amazing creative projects (and funding) out of thin air, been a total realist (something we all need!) and listened interminably, is my partner of 31 years, the clarinettist, Geraldine Allen.”

What one piece of advice would you give your young self, starting out in music?

“This has to be dual! On the creative front, keep writing and keep listening to all sorts of music. The more you exercise your skills, the more prepared you will be to take on whatever compositional challenges come your way. On the practical front, get connected to writer-representative organisations and writer communities. Sorry! Advice seldom comes in small packages!”

You spent two years working with Voluntary Service Overseas in Sierra Leone before you began composing professionally. How would you say this experience impacted or influenced your composition style?

“Living in a different culture is a life-changing experience. Africa entered into my music as rhythm and colour, and persuaded me to avoid unnecessary complexity. It also became the stimulous for creating cross-cultural works, composing alongside and drawing on the traditions, at different times, of African, Indian, Indonesian, Chinese and Japanese music. Last but not least, it led me to try always to make my music, present and purposeful.”

You founded the British Composer Awards for BASCA in 2003. At the time, how important and necessary did you feel this was?

“I was a girl on a mission! The BCAs were the culmination of more than a decade of personal efforts to establish an occasion when composers could come together and celebrate the achievements of the classical composing community in the UK. I think the BCAs have done a great job in helping composers in the UK grow in confidence, become more collaborative and have a stronger artistic presence. The Awards have also helped to kick-start not a few careers! I couldn’t be happier that they are still thriving after 16 years.”

Serving as Chair of both the Composers’ Guild of Great Britain and BASCA, you have dedicated yourself to championing music creators. What are the main challenges that music creators face in today’s current climate?

“All creators face the challenge of dealing with conditions that stop them from being the best they can be – lack of time, opportunity and funding. We learn to manage our time and to create opportunities but being paid reasonably or even adequately for what we do is a constant battle, whether it is the streaming debate or changes to royalty rates driven by commercial factors or the sheer pressure of demand on finite funding budgets. In my world (classical music) it seems we have still not found an equitable way of rewarding the music that labours under the description of cultural.”

You have been working in partnership with Orchestras Live, whose mission is to ensure that communities across the country have access to world-class orchestral experiences. What is the best way to keep orchestral music relevant to people’s lives in 2018?

“I’ve been involved in a number of projects with Orchestras Live and this recent one was a commission for the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, performed to a large and enthusiastic audience in Norfolk. Orchestral music at the blockbuster level is alive and well. Look at the constant stream of new film releases with massive scores, or film music at the Proms, or the audio content of video games now translated into live performances springing up around the country. The keener question, and this is where the work of Orchestras Live comes in, is how to lead those listeners into other repertoire so that they can enjoy the orchestral experience for its whole spectrum of musical richness.”

The 45th Gold Badge Awards are presented by BASCA and sponsored by PPL and PRS for Music, taking place at The Savoy in London from 11.30am to 4.30pm on Friday 19th October. 

www.goldbadgeawards.com

The Gold Badge Awards return this month to honour and celebrate eleven outstanding individuals who have inspired or supported the creator community. Ahead of the ceremony on Friday 19th October, we meet composer, arranger, producer and former Head of Music at the National Theatre, Matthew Scott, who will be collecting an Award in recognition of his work…

How do you feel about receiving a Gold Badge Award from the songwriting and composing community?

“I’m very flattered and if I’m honest, I’m as pleased as Punch, especially because the award was voted for by colleagues rather than members of the general public. It’s recognition for a branch of musical activity which normally passes unacknowledged.”

What has been the most pivotal moment in your career?

“It’s hard to choose a single one because there seem to have been so many. I suppose that the conversation I had with Lottie Lenya in New York in 1980 on the way to the airport to fly back to London, which steered me from academia into the music industry was pretty extraordinary, if only because her advice was the opposite of everybody else’s. She saw that I was happier in the rehearsal room or theatre than in the library or archive which was surprising given my CV up to that point.”

Which person has been the most influential figure in your career and why?

“I’ve always tried to get involved in as many different areas of music as possible, so the list is long and very varied, stretching from Sister Bliss to John Berger, via Harrison Birtwistle and Christopher Logue. It would probably be Steve Hawes, who gave me a wonderful start at Granada with the drama series “Floodtide” in a fantastically generous gesture of faith, or Jeff Wayne, for whom I worked as a copyist and who gave me the nerve to grab it with both hands. In theatre, both Dominic Muldowney and Peter Hall took me seriously on the strength of frighteningly little evidence, and I hope that I’ve gone some way to repaying their faith.”

What one piece of advice would you give your young self, starting out in music?

“I wish that I’d had the confidence to believe that I could earn a living in music and that I hadn’t been obsessed by that paranoia. I have followed my own advice by trying to do anything offered that was physically possible, and to learn from every project, be it triumph or disaster, but I’m still haunted by my imaginary epitaph: that I did the best I could with what I was given.”

You are an extremely successful composer in your own right, across a broad spectrum of theatre, film and TV works. What advice would you give to composers who want to write for various forms of media, or perhaps to someone who is trying to branch out of one form into another? Are there challenges to diversifying and broadening what you write for?

“The satisfaction is very different from the sense of fulfilment which is open to colleagues who are more successful in a narrower field of endeavour. I don’t know if it’s better or more fulfilling than the alternative and I think it’s a bit late to find out! Working with Harry Birtwistle made me very aware of the limits of my imagination in the field of experimental music for the concert hall, but I don’t feel cheated or belittled by my very limited profile in concert music, and I have very little work unperformed. But I would have liked to have done more feature film work I suppose although I see friends under the most enormous stress sometimes and I wonder… There is a lot of mutual suspicion in the various branches of the industry, most of it unjustified: my theatre work makes it easier for me to read and visualise from script or screenplay, but makes me aware of the size of gestures which are allowable in theatre but are wildly inappropriate in music for the screen, particularly in television.”

As Head of Music at the National Theatre, you supported and inspired a host of composers working on productions there. What are your top tips for aspiring composers hoping to land a project as part of leading theatre production?

“If you get an interview for a theatre project, try to absorb the script in as much detail as you can beforehand. Directors’ abilities to discuss music vary very widely: they are all aware of the contribution that music can make, how powerful and immediate an impact that music can have and they want all of that but are sometimes reluctant to delegate the control of it to someone else, least of all to a composer whose ability as a self-salesman is very often in direct contrast to his or her compositional talents. I have come to the conclusion that almost any problem can be resolved by discussion, by meaningful communication, and I devoted a lot of time and energy to keeping the channels open and the conversation flowing during my time at the NT. Showreels are useful but few people know how to listen to them, in my experience – they tend to search for exactly what they want to hear, rather than try to detect the wider aesthetic outlook of the composer. Again there are some who are very good at this once encouraged, while there are others who need the advocacy of others.”

How did your project conducting and arranging for Faithless come about?

“I was asked by the London Sinfonietta to make an orchestral realisation of the piece that Ayalah Bentovin (aka Sister Bliss) had composed for the Fuse Festival in Leeds, after I had reconstructed the Sergeant Pepper album for the Milan Festival, with an amazing line-up of guest vocalists including Marianne Faithfull and Jarvis Cocker among others, and had reworked some Kurt Weill orchestrations for Anthony Hegarty and Martha Wainwirght at the Meltdown Festival. Blissy and I worked very happily together and she later invited me to join the band in Moscow for their appearance as part of the Smirnoff Festival, which came in the middle of their world tour. I enjoyed the experience despite the very short rehearsal time and had a wonderful time working with an orchestra of young Russian musicians, although I wish now that I’d been a bit braver and flamboyant in the arrangements. I got obsessed with the problems posed by the lack of rehearsal and collaboration time and focussed on the problem of synchronising orchestra and the band; of course the combination of the very rhythmic nature of Faithless’ music and the orchestras familiarity with the material beforehand meant that no such problem existed, and the performances went very smoothly. I’d love to do some more with more time for developing a sound; I have always enjoyed projects in the rock industry but my academic air, which means that I always look like a Vicar caught in a raid on a brothel, doesn’t make me the natural choice, I guess!”

The music in a theatre production or in a film is often said to be the ‘forgotten’ or ‘unappreciated’ character. How do you view the role of music and your work in the context of the films and theatre productions you’ve worked on?

“This isn’t something that has ever worried me very much because there are so many things that only music can do. It can communicate information in so many areas simultaneously and instantly: period, location, plus then myriad delicate variations of mood, aspiration, irony etc. and I have always been aware of the responsibility that accompanies its invention. I come from a largely medical family and I used to envy doctors because they never have to question whether their work is helpful or not; I no longer worry because I now realise how consistently helpful music is. Without wishing to sound gooey or impossibly cheesy, I feel very lucky to still be open to both the tears and the blasts of elation after all these years.”

The 45th Gold Badge Awards are presented by BASCA and sponsored by PPL and PRS for Music, taking place at The Savoy in London from 11.30am to 4.30pm on Friday 19th October. 

www.goldbadgeawards.com

The Gold Badge Awards return this month to honour and celebrate eleven outstanding individuals who have inspired or supported the creator community. Ahead of the ceremony on Friday 19th October, we meet inspirational conductor, composer, trombonist and singer, Scott Stroman, who will be collecting an Award in recognition of his work…

How do you feel about receiving a Gold Badge Award from the songwriting and composing community?

“It’s a great honour to be recognised by one’s peers. I’m very humbled.”

What has been the most pivotal moment in your career?

“The most pivotal moment came in Miami on New Year’s Eve 1983, when as a 23-year old I was playing trombone for Liza Minnelli. In the dressing room I observed that the band, all excellent players, were older than me, and realised that as pleasant as this was, I would never be satisfied to be here at their age. From that moment I set out to go to New York, or better, to Europe. I won a grant from the Rotary Foundation to study in London and the rest is history.”

Which person has been the most influential figure in your career and why?

“Though there have been very many, in hindsight the most influential was probably my cousin Brad Huff. Growing up in the same small town in Indiana but three years older, he was the tail end of the Vietnam generation, passionate and rebellious, and became “the” local rock drummer, turning me on to prog rock and fusion. Brad was a totally self-taught, itinerate musician and yet gave me huge encouragement as I pursued a path through formal education—a ying to my yang. He had the wits and courage to make his way to Denver, LA, Nashville, and eventually to Europe as an outstanding prog rock drummer, singer, guitarist and songwriter, full of life and discovery until his death from cancer in Prague five years ago. He accumulated few worldly possessions but untold musical ones, loads of loyal friends, and was my surrogate big brother.”

What one piece of advice would you give your young self, starting out in music?

“Have confidence in your feelings and beliefs, but be open to challenge. Prepare as best you can, trust yourself, and go for it with an open mind and open ears. Listen.”

You are a passionate educator and inspirational advocate for the genre of Jazz, what makes you positive about the future of jazz music education?

“The music itself, endlessly engaging. If it contains something inherently appealing, people will pursue learning about it. The “jazz way” is inherent in human nature and will always be there; all we can do is encourage it. What we see today is that loads of excellent young musicians are genuinely engaged by the music.”

As a prolific composer and arranger, how do you feel your Jazz background and improvising skills informs your compositions and arranging projects in other music genres?

“The short answer is the same as it did for Bach, Beethoven, Ellington, Mingus, Gil Evans, Kenny Wheeler and all my writing heroes. Working in jazz means speaking the language of the music, including internalising its harmonic structure, rhythmic language, and melodic references and doing it in time, in performance. It also requires detailed listening and spontaneous, creative response. Composing and arranging is a slowed-down version of the same thing while also offering the benefit of hindsight. Western classical music, at the same time, offers intriguing models of formal structure and architecture. I respond to all of it and have always been drawn by curiosity to be musically multi-lingual.”

You are a great supporter of inclusion and participation in music and singing is perhaps the easiest way for most people to practically engage with music. Where do you find the inspiration for your stunning vocal projects?

I can clearly remember the first time I sang in a group as a little boy. I wasn’t even sure if I could sing, but the director made it so much fun that I was swept away. She offered me a teeny little solo and I jumped at the chance–it was one of the defining moments of my life and I’ve kept searching for that “tingle factor” ever since. I find it all over the place, in many cultures. I just want everyone to experience it.

Are there any significant differences between working in the US as opposed to living and working in the UK?

I’m not sure I can be objective. Though our roots are in the US, my wife Sue and I love living and working in the UK and have raised our family here. Both countries provide great opportunities but also great challenges. What I do know is that from the moment I arrived in London in 1984 I’ve felt nothing but warmth, encouragement and constant inspiration and I’ve tried to return the favour.

The 45th Gold Badge Awards are presented by BASCA and sponsored by PPL and PRS for Music, taking place at The Savoy in London from 11.30am to 4.30pm on Friday 19th October. The award ceremony follows a three course lunch and a limited amount of tickets are still on sale. For more information contact Cindy Truong at BASCA – cindy@basca.org.uk

www.goldbadgeawards.com

The Gold Badge Awards return this month to honour and celebrate eleven outstanding individuals who have inspired or supported the creator community. Ahead of the ceremony on Friday 19th October, we meet highly respected and sought-after engineer, Nick Wollage, who will be collecting an Award in recognition of his work…

How do you feel about receiving a Gold Badge Award from the songwriting and composing community?

“I genuinely can’t think of a greater compliment. I have so much respect, admiration and affection for those incredible artists who gift the world with new music. It would be privilege enough just to spend my working days with them, recording their output. But to be recognised in the form of this wonderful award for my contribution to their work makes me proud beyond words.”

What has been the most pivotal moment in your career?

“It was when I was working as an assistant and occasional engineer at the Church Studios in Crouch End when it was owned by Dave Stewart and I was assigned to assist a visiting engineer called Geoff Foster on an orchestral session. It was in Studio B, which was the big room upstairs and rarely got used for big orchestral sessions. We had to borrow a load of chairs from the local curry house and it was all pretty chaotic, but it finished without any serious casualties and I was utterly bitten by the orchestral bug. As it turned out Geoff Foster happened to be the chief engineer at Air Lyndhurst and at that time, in 1996, Air Lyndhurst was only 2 or 3 years old and most of us engineers were forever drooling over this recording Mecca that had sprung up in our midst. So I thought it was worth a punt and said to Geoff “I don’t suppose there are any jobs going up at Air are there?” He said “funny you should say that….” and after that moment everything changed.”

Which person has been the most influential figure in your career and why?

“That would be producer/engineer/genius Steve Albini. I worked with him on a number of albums when I was working at The Greenhouse, the studio in Old Street that was owned and run by the amazing Pat Collier. I was pretty much obsessed with the albums that Steve had made with Nirvana, The Pixies and The Breeders and watching him work was probably the most star-struck I have ever been. He is known for his strong opinions and he once professed that “2 days isn’t long enough to make an album but 7 days is too long”. Everything for him is about the performance and capturing a moment. He is very focused on presenting his recordings from the point of view of being in the room. Those two concepts have stayed with me and probably drove my love of recording orchestras in (usually) time-constrained conditions. I don’t like to obsess too much in the recording or the mixing process.”

What one piece of advice would you give your young self, starting out in music?

“Don’t think too hard about how long it might take to get where you want to be, professionally. Just appreciate and enjoy the place you’re in right now.”

How have the technological advances in mixing equipment impacted the way you work?

“The advent of Protools in the late 90s changed everything. The control room side of engineering and mixing is pretty much unrecognisable from what it was when I first started out. The main way in which these changes have manifest themselves is in the sheer amount that we can record in terms of the number of tracks and takes, and the amount and versatility of processing available to us in the mix. That is obviously an advancement but there are downsides. The demise of tape being one. Not only because it sounds so much better and has never been replicated in processing technology, but also because mark-up on the sale of tape was a significant revenue stream for studios, and its disappearance is, I suspect, an influential factor in the alarming rate at which studios have closed in the last 20 years. Another result of all this flexibility that we have gained is that there is a tendency to load the decision making part of the creative process to the post-recording stage. With the need to commit to decisions earlier on in the process removed there is a danger that we become less visionary and less resourceful and economical in our practice.”

How did you realise your talent engineering and mixing scores and how did you get your first job?

“I was thrown in at the deep end by Hans Zimmer. I had been assisting Alan Meyerson on the recordings for Prince of Egypt at Air. After the score was recorded and mixed the picture was changed and so we needed to record some pickups. A discussion ensued on who would be the engineer on the pickup sessions and Hans chimed in (in his inimitable Hansian manner) with “Well Nick should engineer them, of course”. Decision made.”

Do you think it’s important for scores to feature live bands/instruments?

“I think the dimension that the performance of a human being, or a group of human beings, brings to a recording is both unnotatable and unsynthesizable. I am mesmerised daily in my professional life by what musicians do almost telepathically, the culmination of often hundreds of combined years of playing experience. If the function of the music is to evoke emotions – as in a movie or TV score – then human performance is essential.”

You’ve worked with some of the biggest names in film composition such as David Arnold, Henry Jackman, Dario Marianelli and Danny Elfman. How do you establish and maintain these relationships?

“They are established in a variety of ways. The first time I work with a composer it is usually the result of a recommendation – either from another engineer, or another composer, or a fixer. Whether that initial encounter leads to subsequent ones is largely a matter of chemistry. I would like to think that the input I have is about more than just sonic presentation. I like to be close to a composer or performer and the best relationships are based on mutual trust and respect. The production of recorded music is largely a matter of taste and so if you share common ground with the writer and/or performer then you can collaborate in a truly creative way. That’s the exciting part!”

The 45th Gold Badge Awards are presented by BASCA and sponsored by PPL and PRS for Music, taking place at The Savoy in London from 11.30am to 4.30pm on Friday 19th October. The award ceremony follows a three course lunch and a limited amount of tickets are still on sale. For more information contact Cindy Truong at BASCA – cindy@basca.org.uk

www.goldbadgeawards.com

The Gold Badge Awards return this month to honour and celebrate eleven outstanding individuals who have inspired or supported the creator community. Ahead of the ceremony on Friday 19th October, we meet acclaimed conductor and Music Director of the English National Opera, Martyn Brabbins, who will be collecting an Award in recognition of his work…

How do you feel about receiving a Gold Badge Award from the songwriting and composing community?

“In my understanding of the world of music, the composer is at the top of the food chain. Without composers…..well, it is pretty obvious isn’t it! There would be no music. I spend my Conducting life supporting composers, both living and dead, thus to be honoured by BASCA is a huge privilege and something of a vindication of the musical priorities I espouse. I am delighted!”

What has been the most pivotal moment in your career?

“I guess had I not won the Leeds Conducting Competition in 1988, none of what I have done would have been possible.”

Which person has been the most influential figure in your career and why?

“Karen, my wife. We met at Goldsmiths in December 1977, and she has been the rock, the calm, the wisdom and the love in my life ever since.”

What one piece of advice would you give your young self, starting out in music?

“My young self made many mistakes, but the one I regret the most was refusing to take piano lessons from an early age. It didn’t seem relevant to a fairly high flying young brass player, but I now know what I missed!”

The conductor’s course you founded in 2013 has inspired a new generation of exciting directing talent. What attracted you to make a home for this course in Scotland?

“The Orkney Conductors’ Course was the brainchild of Glenys Hughes and myself. Glenys was the Festival Director of the St Magnus Festival and woman who understood so well the value of music in a community and could really make things happen. Of course, behind the St Magnus Festival was the amazing spirit and personality of Max – Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. He had led a composers course for many years on the island of Hoy, and the precedent he set, led me to suggest to Glenys the establishment of a Conductors Course to run alongside the Festival. Around 100 aspiring Conductors are now OCC alumni, and it is wonderful for me to see so many of them active here and across the world stage. (I should mention my teacher, Ilya Musin, with whom I studied in Leningrad from 1986 to 1988. It was his extraordinary teaching that gave me the tools to teach myself!).

Having gained a wealth of experience in the recording studio working with several record companies, what’s your favourite aspect of the recording process?

“The constant striving for perfection and the energy generated in a recording situation, between all the performers, the engineers, the producer, are so stimulating. And then, one hopes, that a wonderful expression of musical creation is given to posterity!”

You have worked with several orchestral ensembles and opera companies in your career. Is there an ensemble or company that you haven’t worked with yet, but would like to and why?

“I am a strangely non-ambitious conductor….but am happy to work with anybody that would like to work with me. So I hope to make many new musical acquaintances in the future, as well as cementing existing relationships.”

As an award-winning interpreter of contemporary British classical music and supporter of creative performance and composition talent, what makes you positive about the future of contemporary classical music in the UK?

“The wealth of composing talent that the UK nurtures is extraordinary. All performing groups commission new work, the BBC support new talent to an unparalleled extent. The teaching of composition is stronger than ever. The only thing needed is an open minded public for all this incredible creativity. I am optimistic by nature, and given the quality of work that is produced by so many musical outfits in the UK, music will go on to provide levels of artistic excitement and stimulation that no other art form can reach.”

The 45th Gold Badge Awards are presented by BASCA and sponsored by PPL and PRS for Music, taking place at The Savoy in London from 11.30am to 4.30pm on Friday 19th October. The award ceremony follows a three course lunch and a limited amount of tickets are still on sale. For more information contact Cindy Truong at BASCA – cindy@basca.org.uk

www.goldbadgeawards.com

The Gold Badge Awards return this month to honour and celebrate eleven outstanding individuals who have inspired or supported the creator community. Ahead of the ceremony on Friday 19th October, we meet Grammy nominated and double Ivor Novello Award winning lyricist, Squeeze co-founder and solo artist Chris Difford, who will be collecting an Award in recognition of his work…

How do you feel about receiving a Gold Badge Award from the songwriting and composing community?

“I feel deeply honoured and full of pride, to receive this award is something very special.”

What has been the most pivotal moment in your career?

“Pivotal moments are like signposts, they point me in the right direction, there have been many. Possibly placing an add in a sweetshop window for a guitarist to join a band in 1973 would have been one of the most significant.”

Which person has been the most influential figure in your career and why?

“Elton John I first saw play at Wembley in 1974 supporting The Beach Boys, he played the whole of his new album to a hot and hungry crowd, which was brave. I admire his kindness and his giving back, his dedication to family and friends, his work ethic and his love. It’s inspiring.”

What one piece of advice would you give your young self, starting out in music?

“Speak up, be heard and be in the moment with everyone. Be the person you want to be and not the person others think you are.”

Your lyrical style has been described as ‘kitchen sink-drama’. Where do you draw inspiration from when writing?

“I find inspiration in day dreaming, listening and being that guy who writes songs for a living, he is the most important person. I try to always find inspiration in my day, it was easier back in the day, when there seemed to be more time.”

Why did you set up your songwriting retreats and what have you learnt since their conception over 25 years ago?

“I first went to a songwriting retreat in France run by my manager at the time, on the drive home I thought I could do that but not make it so exclusive. I wanted to open it up for everyone who picks up a pen or a guitar, and that’s what I hope to do. There is after all a song in all of us.”

In 2010, you curated Songs in the Key of London, a celebration of music from, and about, the capital. What do you think about the current climate of British music?

“The pond we look into as writers and singers is always welcoming another reflection, there are no boundaries and I think that’s great. The industry has changed so much since I began and I have no clue what the climate really is today. I think it’s always just about right, but we could do with a little more lyric.”

Your songwriting partnership with Glenn Tilbrook is one that’s definitely stood the test of time. What, in your opinion, is the key to a successful collaborative songwriting relationship?

“Good writing relationships I think depend on listening and learning, being open to change and being wrong. Knowing your boundaries strengths and weaknesses is essential. More than any of that you need a sharp pencil and a good sense of humour.”

The 45th Gold Badge Awards are presented by BASCA and sponsored by PPL and PRS for Music, taking place at The Savoy in London from 11.30am to 4.30pm on Friday 19th October. The award ceremony follows a three course lunch and a limited amount of tickets are still on sale. For more information contact Cindy Truong at BASCA cindy@basca.org.uk

www.goldbadgeawards.com

Composer and conductor, teacher and artistic director, Oliver Knussen died this week aged 66.

A towering figure in contemporary music, Knussen was one of the most influential and performed composers of his generation. He was also the recipient of the Ivor Novello Award for Classical Music,

Gary Carpenter, chair of BASCA’s classicial committee said “This week saw the sad passing of Oliver (Olly) Knussen. Apart from his achievements as one of the world’s finest composers and conductors, Olly was unstinting in his support and encouragement of at least two generations of composers, most recently as Richard Rodney Bennett Professor at the Royal Academy of Music. There are innumerable BASCA members whose lives have been enriched over the years by him and all of us at BASCA are devasted that he has gone so early and we will always be grateful and thankful for everything he was and did.”

Read The Guardian obituary

BASCA, in association with PRS for Music, announce the winners of the 63rd Ivor Novello Awards.

 

PRS FOR MUSIC MOST PERFORMED WORK
Compiled and title sponsored by The Ivors, sponsor this award credits the song that received the most broadcast, online and general performance in the UK during 2017.

Shape of You
Written by Steve Mac, Johnny McDaid and Ed Sheeran
Published in the UK by Rokstone Music – Universal Music Publishing, Spirit B-Unique – Polar Patrol and Ed Sheeran Limited – Sony/ATV Music Publishing (UK) Ltd

BEST ORIGINAL FILM SCORE
Recognising outstanding original composition for a feature film, this year’s judges described the winning score as an uncompromising, brave and definitive part of an extraordinary film.

Jackie
Composed by Mica Levi
Published in the UK by Beggars Music

INTERNATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT
Presented to Billy Ocean, in recognition of the excellence, and international success, of this song catalogue.

BEST CONTEMPORARY SONG
This award recognises outstanding originality in songwriting and this year’s judges felt the winning song captures the personal and political landscape and in particular they praised the truth and execution of the lyrics.

Question Time
Written by Dave and Fraser T Smith
Published in the UK by Warner/Chappell Music Ltd and Kobalt Music Publishing

THE IVORS CLASSICAL MUSIC AWARD
Presented to Thea Musgrave, in recognition of an outstanding body of work in the classical genre.

BEST ORIGINAL VIDEO GAME SCORE
Recognising outstanding composition for a video game, this year’s judges felt that the winning score had an impressive scope, depth and attention to detail whilst retaining sensitivity to the emotional content.

Horizon Zero Dawn
Composed by Joris de Man, Joe Henson and Alexis Smith

BEST SONG MUSICALLY AND LYRICALLY
Recognising excellence in songwriting craft, this year’s judges said that the winning song succeeded structurally, musically and with heartfelt, beautiful imagery.

Magnificent (She Says)
Written by Guy Garvey, Craig Potter, Mark Potter and Pete Turner
Published in the UK by Salvation Music Ltd – Warner/Chappell Music Publishing Ltd

PRS FOR MUSIC OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO BRITISH MUSIC
Presented to Billy Bragg, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to British Music.

BEST TELEVISION SOUNDTRACK
Recognising outstanding, original composition for a television programme, the judges said the winning work was exquisitely composed with exceptional attention to detail.

The Miniaturist
Composed by Dan Jones
Published in the UK by Faber Music and Sony/ATV Music Publishing (UK) Ltd

ALBUM AWARD
This award recognises exceptional songwriting and consistency across an album as a whole. The judges described the winning album as an astonishing open hearted body of work that fully captures the spirit of 2017.

Gang Signs & Prayer
Written by Michael ‘Stormzy’ Omari
Published in the UK by Warner/Chappell Music Ltd

SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR
Presented to a British or Irish songwriter who has released an exceptional body of work during the award year, the Ivor Novello Award for Songwriter of the Year 2017 was presented to Ed Sheeran.

THE IVORS INSPIRATION AWARD
Presented to Shane MacGowan in recognition of the power of his songwriting to inspire the creative talents of others.

OUTSTANDING SONG COLLECTION
Presented to songwriter Cathy Dennis in recognition of her outstanding body of work.

PRS FOR MUSIC SPECIAL INTERNATIONAL AWARD
The only Ivor Novello Award independently presented to an international writer, the PRS for Music Special
International Award recognises a songwriter whose work has left an indelible mark on British music. It was presented to Lionel Richie.

For more information, visit the Ivors website.

Entries are now open for the 2018 British Composer Awards.

Anyone, including the composer, can enter eligible works, and entries across all twelve award categories are judged anonymously.

Works that received a UK première performance, either live or broadcast, between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018 are eligible across the following categories:

Amateur or Young Performers
Chamber Ensemble
Choral
Community or Educational Project
Jazz Composition for Small Ensemble
Jazz Composition for Large Ensemble
Orchestral
Small Chamber
Solo or Duo
Sonic Art
Stage Works
Wind Band or Brass Band

Entries are made via our Entry Site, where you can also find our full Rules and Guidelines and Eligibility Criteria.
Visit https://basca.secure-platform.com to enter works. The closing date for entries is Monday 9 July 2018.

The British Composer Awards are presented by BASCA and sponsored by PRS for Music. The event is in association with BBC Radio 3 providing exclusive broadcast coverage.

The British Composer Awards will take place on Tuesday 4 December in the BP Lecture Theatre and East Foyer of the British Museum, London.

@ComposerAwards
www.britishcomposerawards.com

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