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British composer awards

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

Composer Block Image

Thirteen contemporary composers have tonight been honoured with a coveted British Composer Award in a ceremony at the British Film Institute (BFI) in London. The annual Awards highlight the best compositions that premiered in the UK in the 12 months leading up to 31 March 2016, across Jazz, Choral, Sonic Art, Orchestral and beyond. This year, for the first time, the British Composer Awards also celebrated two composers for their musical careers and their contributions to contemporary music as a whole, with the all-new Gift of BASCA Award.

The event, hosted by BBC Radio 3 presenters Sarah Walker and Andrew McGregor, took place at the British Film Institute (BFI) in London with a speech given by British composer and broadcaster Gerard McBurney, who presented each of the main category winners with their Awards.

The ceremony included a performance of Honeyed Words, performed by Anna Meredith (electronics) and Maddie Cutter (cello), from Meredith’s current, award-winning album, Varmints, to visuals designed by Laurene Pijulet.

BBC Radio 3 will broadcast a programme dedicated to the ceremony on Hear and Now at 10pm on Saturday 10th December.

2016 BRITISH COMPOSER AWARDS WINNERS

Amateur or Young Performers
The Monster In The Maze by Jonathan Dove

Chamber Ensemble
Freezywater by Leo Chadburn

Choral
Ave Verum Corpus Re-Imagined by Roderick Williams

Community or Educational Project
Into The Light by John Webb

Contemporary Jazz Composition
Karembeu’s Guide To The Complete Defensive Midfielder by Joe Cutler

Orchestral
Alba by Rebecca Saunders

Small Chamber
A Day At The Spa by Oliver Leith

Solo or Duo
Five Memos by Mark Bowden

Sonic Art
Sonorama by Claudia Molitor

Stage Works
Between Worlds by Tansy Davies

Wind Band or Brass Band
Just A Vibration by Shri Sriram

2016 Gift of BASCA Award Recipients

British Composer Award for Innovation
Jennifer Walshe

British Composer Award for Inspiration
Simon Bainbridge

The British Composer Awards are presented by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) and sponsored by PRS for Music. For more information please visit www.britishcomposerawards.com or follow the British Composer Awards on Twitter: @ComposerAwards.

BCA logo 4-3British Composer Awards 2015 Winners Revealed
• Five first-time winners honoured including 27-year-old Kate Whitley
• Sir Harrison Birtwistle most awarded composer in BCA history with seventh Award
• Michael Finnissy and Julian Anderson are double awardees
• “Fast rising star” Jessica Cottis delivers keynote speech at the BFI

A STAR-STUDDED CEREMONY
Ten composers have tonight been honoured at the thirteenth annual British Composer Awards across 12 categories, including five first-time winners.

The event, hosted by BBC Radio 3 presenters Sara Mohr-Pietsch and Andrew McGregor, took place at the British Film Institute (BFI) in London, a new venue for the 2015 Awards, moving from London’s Goldsmiths’ Hall.

The audience were addressed by keynote speaker and rising star conductor, Jessica Cottis, who presented the winners with their awards alongside actress Juliet Stevenson. The ceremony included the UK premiere performance of A Bird Is Singing by Judith Bingham, performed by Trinity Laban Chamber Choir and conducted by Stephen Jackson.

The British Composer Awards are presented by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) and sponsored by PRS for Music. BBC Radio 3 will broadcast a programme dedicated to the ceremony on Hear and Now at 10pm on Saturday 12th December.

FIVE FIRST-TIME WINNERS
The five first-time winners included 27-year-old composer, pianist and producer, Kate Whitley, this year’s youngest winner. She took home the award for Amateur or Young Performers for her piece Alive, which premiered at Peckham multi-storey car park, celebrating our experience of beauty in the world. Composed for children’s choir and orchestra, Alive is a setting of a Holly McNish poem.

Stuart Hancock won in the Community or Educational Project category for Snapshot Songs, a piece bringing together 60 singers, 15 drummers, the London Schools of Symphony Orchestra, soloists and spoken word artists from across London.

Judges were also impressed by Yann Seznec, who won the Sonic Art award for Currents, a piece connecting discarded computer fans to real-time weather data to explore how technology shapes our environment. The work highlights the economic and social model of constant consumption and disposal – a topical theme in light of the Paris Climate talks last week.

Other first time winners included Trish Clowes and Sinan Savaskan. Clowes won the Contemporary Jazz Composition category for The Fox, The Parakeet & The Chestnut – the culmination of her two years as BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, which premiered at the London Jazz Festival. Meanwhile, Savaskan’s, Many stares (through semi-nocturnal Zeiss-Blink) – Module 30, inspired by the Abstract Expressionists, won him the Large Chamber award.

RETURNING WINNERS: THE BCA’S MOST AWARDED COMPOSER & TWO DOUBLE AWARD WINNERS
World-renowned British composer, Sir Harrison Birtwistle was recognised once more by the community of composers and musicians, winning his seventh award. His piece Responses: Sweet disorder and the carefully careless, composed for piano and orchestra, explores spatial blocks of music and won in the Orchestral category.

Michael Finnissy and Julian Anderson were both double winners. Finnissy was awarded in the Liturgical and Solo or Duo categories for John the Baptist and Beat Generation Ballads respectively. Anderson, who celebrates winning his fifth and sixth British Composer Awards this evening, won in the Small Chamber and Stage Works categories for String Quartet No. 2 and Thebans.

Meanwhile, James Dillon, one of the UK’s most celebrated composers, won his third British Composer Award for Stabat Mater dolorosa in the Choral category, and Rory Boyle took home his second award for Muckle Flugga in the Wind Band or Brass Band category – a piece inspired by the engineering of the lighthouse on the rocky Shetland Island of the same name.

Stephen McNeff, BASCA Chairman, said: “I am delighted that this year’s British Composer Awards includes such a broad range of winners – from relative newcomers to established names. We have succeeded in increasing the number of submissions by a third and this provided a much greater pool of talent from which to judge. It also bodes well for future growth and increasing inclusivity. Once again, thanks to our sponsors, PRS for Music and to our broadcast partners, BBC Radio 3 for their support and enthusiasm and for joining with us to celebrate the achievements of contemporary classical music in the UK.”

Julia Haferkorn, BCA Artistic Director, commented: “Once again the Awards celebrate the riches and range of the talent we have in Britain – from gifted newcomers like Kate Whitley and Trish Clowes to world-renowned figures like Sir Harrison Birtwistle. New music is thriving and the winning works demonstrate the sumptuous creativity in existence today.”

Ed McKeon, BCA Artistic Director, also commented: “These Awards reflect our contemporary moment, between uncertain traditions and undecided futures. They show that composers and musicians are finding the joy as well as darkness, lament and also celebration. They give us pause for thought, as well as cause for coming together.”

Guy Fletcher OBE, Chairman at PRS for Music, added: “Congratulations to BASCA for bringing us another excellent British Composer Awards and for demonstrating that those who inhabit this wonderful corner of the music community are not only alive and well but continuing to deliver a fantastic range of high quality new works. PRS for Music is delighted and proud to sponsor this event which has become a most important fixture in the classical music calendar. Well done to all the winners and our special thanks to BBC Radio 3 for giving them the respect and the profile they undoubtedly deserve.”

Alan Davey, Controller at BBC Radio 3, said: “Contemporary music is thriving in the UK. As a cultural organisation, BBC Radio 3 prides itself on using the licence fee as venture capital for the arts; supporting and developing new artists, commissioning new works and broadcasting important industry events such as tonight’s British Composer Awards. Congratulations to all the winners. It’s vital we all continue to support our composers and their works, they make such an invaluable contribution to the cultural life of Britain and beyond.”

2015 British Composer Award Winners

Amateur or Young Performers
Alive by Kate Whitley

Choral
Stabat Mater dolorosa by James Dillon

Community or Educational Project
Snapshot Songs by Stuart Hancock

Contemporary Jazz Composition
The Fox, The Parakeet & The Chestnut by Trish Clowes

Large Chamber
Many stares (through semi-nocturnal Zeiss-Blink) – Module 30 by Sinan Savaskan

Liturgical
John the Baptist by Michael Finnissy

Orchestral
Responses: Sweet disorder and the carefully careless by Harrison Birtwistle

Small Chamber
String Quartet No.2 by Julian Anderson

Solo or Duo
Beat Generation Ballads by Michael Finnissy

Sonic Art
Currents by Yann Seznec

Stage Works
Thebans by Julian Anderson

Wind Band or Brass Band
Muckle Flugga by Rory Boyle

 

Photos from the award ceremony can be found here.

BCA logo 4-3From Skateboards to Science Fiction: 2015 British Composer Awards Shortlist Unveiled

From photography to poetry and skateboarding to fine art, this year’s British Composer Awards Shortlist highlights the dynamic relationship between contemporary music and the wider creative arts, while offering a futuristic glimpse into the evolving art of music-making and a sense of where tomorrow’s composers will look for inspiration.

The British Composer Awards are presented by BASCA and sponsored by PRS for Music. The shortlist, announced today, features 33 composers across 12 categories, including Contemporary Jazz Composition, Choral, Sonic Art, Liturgical and Community or Educational Project, with 40 per cent of those shortlisted being first-time nominees.

Highlighting the diversity and innovation that defines today’s musical landscape, the 36 shortlisted works span a choral piece composed to the rhythm of skateboarders; collaborations across the creative arts; a science fiction opera; music inspired by poetry, painting and photography, as well as by history’s greatest composers and mythology; and work marking the First World War Centenary.

Stephen McNeff, Chairman of BASCA, said: This year’s British Composer Awards sees us reaping the benefits of our new digital application process and a wonderful thirty-three percent rise in submissions.  This means that the range and depth of submissions is enriched and we are reaching out across our profession to present a shortlist that reflects a wider, truer and more diverse picture of contemporary classical and jazz than ever before.”

 This year Julia Haferkorn and Ed McKeon from Third Ear return as Artistic Directors of the 2015 Awards.

Julia Haferkorn & Ed McKeon said: “Once again, the quality and diversity of entries for the Awards reflects the breadth of musical imagination found in the UK’s new music scenes. And the commitment and consideration of the panels – 60 composers, musicians and producers, 80% of whom were new and with a 50/50 male/female ratio – shows the generosity of spirit and confidence within the sector. With a huge increase in submissions and in the number of composers shortlisted for the first time, the Awards are channelling the energy of a community buzzing with invention.”

Composers nominated range from those in their twenties, to those in their seventies and eighties. The youngest composers nominated are Samuel Bordoli and Kate Whitley while internationally-acclaimed Sir Harrison Birtwistle, who has previously won a British Composer Award six times, and been nominated a further six, is this year’s oldest composer shortlisted.

Guy Fletcher, Chairman of PRS for Music, added: “It is an honour to be supporting the British Composer Awards this year. The shortlist indicates the level of talented individuals we have in the UK’s contemporary music scene and continues to reflect the immense creativity that flourishes in the field, PRS for Music is extremely proud to be a part of it.”

Celebrating the music of contemporary British composers and composers living in the United Kingdom, the British Composer Awards is now in its 13th year. This year 420 works, which received a UK premiere performance in the year leading up to 31 March 2015, were submitted by over 270 composers. Each category was judged by an independent panel, with 60 judges taking part overall.

BBC Radio 3 will broadcast a programme dedicated to the ceremony on Hear and Now at 10pm on Saturday 12th December.

 Alan Davey, Controller BBC Radio 3, commented: “The UK’s contemporary music scene is thrilling. This shortlist shows what a remarkable year it has been. As the most significant commissioner of new music, BBC Radio 3 is dedicated to bringing our millions of listeners the very latest high quality contemporary composition. We wish the shortlisted composers the very best of luck and look forward to broadcasting the awards on Radio 3’s Hear and Now in December.”

The winners in each category will be announced at the British Film Institute (BFI) on Wednesday 9th December 2015.

The British Composer Awards

Venue: NFT1, British Film Institute (BFI), South Block, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XT

Award date: 9th December 2015 5pm to 10pm

Information: www.britishcomposerawards.com where you can engage with the shortlist and listen to extracts of the shortlisted works

 

2015 British Composer Awards Shortlist

 

Amateur or Young Performers

Alive by Kate Whitley

In Search of Strategy by Chris Roe

Visioni Simultanee by Richard Bullen

 

Choral

Papaver by Dai Fujikura

Stabat Mater dolorosa by James Dillon

St Luke Passion by James MacMillan

 

Community or Educational Project

GRIND by Samuel Bordoli

Snapshot Songs by Stuart Hancock

Tycho’s Dream by Luke Styles

 

Contemporary Jazz Composition

As I Was Saying… by Django Bates

‘SAMA’ Project by Mike Williams

The Fox, The Parakeet & The Chestnut by Trish Clowes

 

Large Chamber

Many stares (through semi-nocturnal Zeiss-Blink) – Module 30 by Sinan Savaskan

Mosaic by Matthew Kaner

Winding Bodies, 3 Knots by Liza Lim

 

Liturgical

John the Baptist by Michael Finnissy

Little Mass by James MacMillan

Salve Regina by Kerry Andrew

 

Orchestral

Apollinaire’s Bird by John Casken

Études-Tableaux by Ryan Wigglesworth

Responses: Sweet disorder and the carefully careless by Harrison Birtwistle

 

Small Chamber

Piano Quintet by Richard Causton

String Quartet No.2 by Julian Anderson

The Ruins of Detroit by Gavin Higgins

 

Solo or Duo

Beat Generation Ballads by Michael Finnissy

Day Break Shadows Flee by Judith Weir

Glitschig by Sohrab Uduman

 

Sonic Art

Currents by Yann Seznec

Phantom Voices by Christopher Fox

Twinkle by Andrea Patrick Byrne

 

Stage Works

Bayadère – The Ninth Life by Gabriel Prokofiev

Thebans by Julian Anderson

Things We Throw Away by Brian Irvine

 

Wind Band or Brass Band

A Child Like You by Andy Scott

Muckle Flugga by Rory Boyle

Sonata for Brass Band on a Prelude of Orlando Gibbons by Robert Saxton

british-composer-awards (1)

The British Composer Awards promote the art of composition, recognise the creative talent of composers and sound artists, and aim to bring their music to a wider audience.  BASCA introduced electronic submissions this year which garnered a threefold increase in nominations across twelve award categories for works that received a UK premiere between 1st April 2014 and 31st March 2015.

The 2015 Shortlist will be announced the week of 26th October – details will be available on the BASCA and British Composer Awards websites.

We’re delighted to announce the 2015 award ceremony will take place in NFT1 at the British Film Institute on London’s Southbank on Wednesday 9th December.  The ceremony will form the focus of ‘Hear & Now’ on BBC Radio 3 on Sunday 12th December.

The evening, which starts at 5pm, includes the award ceremony hosted by BBC Radio 3 Presenters Andrew McGregor and Sara Mohr-Pietsch, performances, a key note speech and a networking reception.   This year tickets will be on sale to all BASCA members with details to follow shortly.  To register an interest contact Kate MacCormick via kate@basca.org.uk

The 2015 British Composer Awards are presented by BASCA and sponsored by PRS for Music in association with BBC Radio 3 providing broadcast coverage of the award ceremony.

For more information visit www.britishcomposerawards.com

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