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The Ivors Composer Awards

The Ivors Composer Awards sees the presentation of Ivor Novello Awards to recognise creative excellence in classical, jazz, and sound arts.

Winners were announced on Tuesday 1 December 2020

The Ivors Composer Awards celebrates the best new works by UK composers writing for classical, jazz and sound art.

Recognised as a pinnacle of achievement since they were first presented in 1956, an Ivor Novello Award represents peer recognition with categories judged by those within the UK music creator community.

The Ivors Composer Awards 2020 celebrates works that are composed by a UK born or ordinarily resident composer and received a UK premiere performance, either live or broadcast, between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020.

Following a public call for entries earlier in 2020 the Academy received a 25% increase (from 2019) in works submitted  for consideration.

Nominations were announced on Tuesday 3 November. The winners were revealed on Tuesday 1 December as part of a two-hour ceremony broadcast exclusively on BBC Radio 3.

In addition to the eleven categories, three Gift of the Academy Awards were presented as part of the BBC Radio 3 broadcast on 1 December. These included an Academy Fellowship, the highest honour bestowed by The Ivors Academy, the Innovation Award and the Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Works Collection.

2020 Awards Presentation

Winners were announced on Tuesday 1 December from 7.30pm on BBC Radio 3 during an exclusive broadcast only event presented by Kate Molleson and Tom Service.

  • Date
  • Time
    19:30 - 22:00
  • Address
    BBC Radio 3
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2020 Nominations and Winners

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Recipient

Julian Joseph

An Academy Fellowship, the highest honour that The Ivors Academy bestows, recognises excellence and impact in the art and craft of music creation. This year has seen it awarded to Julian Joseph OBE, in recognition of his extraordinary achievements in music.

The Academy said, “We’re delighted to honour Julian for his incredible achievements in music as an educator and as a truly unique and exceptional voice in jazz and classical composition.”

Listen to Julian Joseph on Apple Music

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Winner

GRIN

Composed by Robin Haigh
for chamber orchestra
10mins
commissioned by Britten Sinfonia

watch Robin talk about the piece on YouTube

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Nominee

HOVER

Composed by Sally Beamish
for two oboe, two horns and strings
13 mins
commissioned by the Academy of St Martin in the Fields

for more information click here

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Nominee

PIANO CONCERTO

Composed by Ryan Wigglesworth
for piano and chamber orchestra
22 mins
commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

for more information visit Schott Music

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Nominee

PROMETHEUS SYMPHONY

Composed by Stuart MacRae
for soprano, bass-baritone and chamber orchestra
32 mins
commssioned by Lammermuir Festival and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

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Nominee

UNE SAISON EN ENFER

Composed by Josephine Stephenson
for tenor and string orchestra
20 mins
commissioned by Wigmore Hall

watch Josephine talk about the piece on YouTube

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Nominee

BOGORÓD̃ITSE D̃ÉVO, RÁDUYS̃IA

Composed by Cheryl Frances-Hoad
for SATB choir
3 mins
commissioned by Steve Chevis in loving memory of Barbara Chevis for Sonoro’s Choral Inspirations Project

listen on YouTube
watch Cheryl talk about the piece on YouTube

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Nominee

EARTH SONG

Composed by Rachel Portman
for SATB choir, with libretto by Nick Drake and Greta Thunberg
20 mins
commissioned by BBC Radio 3

listen on SoundCloud
watch Rachel talk about the work on YouTube

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Nominee

I SING OF LOVE

Composed by Bernard Hughes
for SATB choir (with divisi)
13 mins
commissioned by Brian and Lynn Grant for the Seattle Pro Musica

Listen on YouTube
Watch Bernard talk about the piece on YouTube

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Winner

PIETÀ

Composed by Richard Blackford
for mezzo soprano, baritone, SATB chorus, optional children’s chorus and string orchestra
39 mins
commissioned by Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and St Albans Choral Society

listen on Apple Music
watch Richard talk about the piece on YouTube

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Nominee

PIOUS ANTHEMS AND VOLUNTARIES

Composed by Michael Finnissy
for soloists, organ, flute, violin and choir
84 mins
commissioned by the Master and Fellows of St John’s College, Cambridge

listen on Apple Music
watch Michael talk about the piece on YouTube

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Nominee

I AM ALBAN

Composed by Anne Dudley
for mixed choir, soloists, narrator and orchestra, with libretto by Ian McMillan
30 mins
commissioned by Hertfordshire Schools Music Service

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Winner

MORE UP

Composed by Oliver Vibrans
for chamber orchestra and electronics
16 mins
commissioned by Orchestras Live

listen to Oliver talk about the piece on YouTube

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Nominee

THE BIG PICTURE

Composed by Judith Weir
for two choirs (unison/SATB) and instrumental ensemble
19 mins
commissioned by Sound Festival and Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums

listen on Apple Music

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Nominee

TUQUS

Composed by Bushra El-Turk
for multi ability symphony orchestra
9 mins
commissioned by LSO Discovery

watch Bushra talk about the piece on YouTube

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Nominee

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH AN IDEA?

Composed by Paul Rissmann
for orchestra, choir, narrator and dancer
28 mins
commissioned by Adelaide Symphony Orchestra

listen on Soundcloud

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Recipient

Yazz Ahmed

The Ivor Novello Award for Innovation represents peer recognition for achievement, and an innovative approach to composition. It is presented to Yazz Ahmed in 2020. The Academy has recognised Yazz for “her unique creative voice that smashes the boundaries between jazz and electronic sound design by drawing on her heritage to create intoxicating musical worlds.”

Listen to Yazz Ahmed on Apple Music

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Nominee

A TALL TALE

Composed by Tom Haines
for jazz orchestra
8 mins

watch Tom talk about the piece on YouTube

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Winner

CREPUSCULE

Composed by Charlie Bates
for jazz orchestra
8 mins

watch Chalie talk about the piece on YouTube

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Nominee

PRESENT

Composed by Jonny Mansfield
for jazz orchestra, choir and soloist, with libretto by Ella Hohnen-Ford
10 mins

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Nominee

THE PINK SHAGPILE CARPET STORY AKA THE KING OF SPANK

Composed by Sam Eastmond
for jazz orchestra
18 mins
commissioned by JW3 and PRS Foundation

Watch Sam talk about the piece on YouTube

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Nominee

WHAT IS UNDERSTANDING

Composed by Jelly Cleaver
for ensemble and vocals
6 mins

listen on Apple Music
watch Jelly talk about the piece on YouTube

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Nominee

CALVADOS

Composed by Alex Hitchcock
for saxophones, double bass, drums and synthesizers
6 mins

listen on Apple Music
watch Alex talk about the piece on YouTube

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Nominee

ELEMENTAL UTTERANCES

Composed by Matt London
for alto flute, tenor saxophone, violin, double bass, drums and voice
12¾ mins

listen on Soundcloud
watch Matt talk about the piece on YouTube

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Nominee

NEW EARS SUITE

Composed by Calum Gourlay
for tenor saxophone, tenor trombone, double bass and drums
48 mins

listen on Apple Music
watch Calum talk about the work on YouTube

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Winner

THE VISION THEY HAD

Composed by Renell Shaw
for seven-piece band
10 mins
commissioned by The Vortex Jazz Club

listen on Apple Music
watch Renell talk about the piece on YouTube

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Nominee

WEIRD WEATHER

Composed by Mark Lockheart
for saxophones, keyboards, bass violin and drums
8 mins

watch Mark talk about the piece on YouTube

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Nominee

GLEANN CIÙIN

Composed by Claire M Singer
for organ, violin, viola, four cello and two horns
17 mins
commissioned by London Contemporary Orchestra for the PRS Foundation New Music Biennial 2019 with support from the Richard Thomas Foundation

watch Claire talk about the piece on YouTube

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Winner

HONEY SIREN

Composed by Oliver Leith
for string ensemble
17 mins
commissioned by 12 ensemble

listen on Apple Music

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Nominee

NO 50. (THE GARDEN)

Composed by Richard Ayres
for amplified ensemble, bass voice and soundtrack
52 mins
commissioned by Asko|Schönberg and London Sinfonietta with initial development funded by The Royal Opera

for more information visit Asko|Schönberg

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Nominee

SCAR

Composed by Rebecca Saunders
for 15 soloists and conductor
19 mins
commissioned by Festival Acht Brücken | Musik für Köln with financial support from the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Casa da Música Porto & Festival d’Automne à Paris

listen on Soundcloud

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Nominee

THE CENTRE IS EVERYWHERE

Composed by Edmund Finnis
for 12 string players
13 mins
commissioned by Manchester Collective and PRS Foundation New Music Biennial

watch on YouTube

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Nominee

CLARINET CONCERTO

Composed by Mark Simpson
for clarinet and orchestra
15 mins
commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and the BBC Philharmonic

for more information visit Boosey & Hawkes

Read more
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Nominee

HAWAII HAWAII HAWAII

Composed by Joe Cutler
for saxophone and orchestra
20 mins
commissioned by BBC Radio 3

watch Joe talk about the piece on YouTube

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Winner

HORROR VACUI

Composed by Jonny Greenwood
for solo violin and 68 solo strings
30 mins
commissioned by BBC Proms

watch an excerpt on You Tube

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Nominee

NIGHT MUSIC

Composed by Jasper Dommett
for orchestra
10 mins
commissioned by BBC National Orchestra of Wales

listen on Soundcloud
watch Jasper talk about the work on YouTube

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Nominee

THE ANVIL

Composed by Emily Howard
for soprano, bass baritone, chamber choir, youth choir, chorus and orchestra, with libretto by Michael Symmons Roberts
40 mins
commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and Manchester International Festival

for more information visit Manchester International Festival
watch Emily talk about the piece on YouTube

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Recipient

Cecilia McDowall

The Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Works Collection recognises an exceptional body of classical works. In presenting the award to Cecilia McDowall the Academy said that Cecilia is “a highly skilful and captivating composer who communicates through her music with stunning beauty, sensitivity and impact.”

Listen to Cecilia McDowall on Apple Music

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Nominee

…SHADOWS THAT IN DARKNESS DWELL…

Composed by Timothy Cooper
for counter tenor, recorder, theorbo, baroque cello and electronics
17 mins
commissioned by The Night With…

listen on Apple Music
watch Timothy talk about the piece on YouTube

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Nominee

AROHA

Composed by Robert Laidlow
for string quartet
11 mins

listen on Soundcloud
watch Robert talk about the piece on YouTube

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Nominee

IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S ME

Composed by Elena Langer
for soprano, baritone and piano
11 ½ minutes
commissioned by Independent Opera

watch on YouTube

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Nominee

KRAKEN CELLO CONCERTANTE

Composed by Amir Konjani
for Kraken cello, trumpet, violin and Kraken piano
10 mins
commissioned by London Symphony Orchestra (LSO Jerwood composer+)

watch Amir talk about the piece on YouTube

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Winner

SIX MOVEMENTS

Composed by Daniel Fardon
for string quartet
20 mins
commissioned by Royal Philharmonic Society & Wigmore Hall

listen on Soundcloud
watch Daniel talk about the piece on YouTube

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Nominee

A LINE ALONGSIDE ITSELF

Composed by Newton Armstrong
for solo cello with four pre-recorded cellos and electronic sounds
22 mins
commissioned by Séverine Ballon

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Nominee

CLOUD ENGINE

Composed by Thomas Gibbs
for solo tuba with live electronics
10 mins
commissioned by Stuart Beard

watch Thomas talk about the piece on YouTube

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Winner

DIARIES OF THE EARLY WORM

Composed by Gareth Moorcraft
for solo alto recorder
5 mins

listen on Apple Music
watch Gareth talk about the piece on YouTube

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Nominee

DUET FOR EIGHT STRINGS

Composed by Harrison Birtwistle
for viola and cello
14 mins
commissioned by Nash Ensemble with funds provided by Arts Council National Lottery, Dr Shirley Ellis & the Nash Concert Society

for more information visit Boosey & Hawkes

Read more
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Nominee

KINDLY, SOFTLY

Composed by Georgia Denham
for violin and piano
15 mins
commissioned by Music We’d Like to Hear

listen on Soundcloud
watch Georgia talk about the piece on YouTube

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Nominee

INTACT

Composed by Sophie Cooper
vocal and trombone recordings edited and manipulated for the Huddersfield Immersive Sound System
15 mins
commissioned by Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (hcmf//)

listen on Bandcamp
watch Sophie talk about the piece on YouTube

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Nominee

ON COMMON GROUND

Composed by Caroline Devine
abstract vocal fragments, synthesizers and electronic instruments, field recordings and voices
24 mins
commissioned by Brave New Worlds Theatre Company

listen on Bandcamp
watch Caroline talk about the piece on YouTube

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Nominee

REQUIEM FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

Composed by Khyam Allami
oud, 16-piece string section and SATB chorus
38 mins
commissioned by Opera North

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Nominee

THE SCULPTOR SPEAKS

Composed by Olivia Louvel
electroacoustic resounding of a 1961 recording of Barbara Hepworth’s voice
35 mins
commissioned by Resonance Extra – Resonance FM

listen on Vimeo
watch Olivia talk about the piece on YouTube

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Winner

TWITTERING MACHINES

Composed by Kathy Hinde
bespoke vinyl, objects, live electronics, field recordings and video projections
30 mins

listen on Soundcloud
watch Kathy talk about the piece on YouTube

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Nominee

ABOMINATION: A DUP OPERA

Composed by Conor Mitchell
opera: for chamber orchestra, six soloists and SATB chorus
70 mins
commissioned by The Belfast Ensemble with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland
produced by The Belfast Ensemble and Outburst Arts

Read more
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Winner

DENIS & KATYA

Composed by Philip Venables
opera: for mezzo soprano, baritone, four amplified cellos, tape and video, with libretto by Ted Huffman
65 mins
commissioned by Opera Philadelphia, Music Theatre Wales and Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier

watch trailer on YouTube
watch Philip talk about the piece on YouTube

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Nominee

SENSE OF TIME

Composed by Gabriel Prokofiev
ballet: for symphony orchestra and electronics
28 mins
commissioned by Birmingham Royal Ballet in partnership with the Royal Philharmonic Society

watch Gabriel talk about the piece on YouTube

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2020 Awards Programme

DELVE INTO OUR ARCHIVE

Discover some of the exceptional contemporary classical, jazz and sound art that has won a British Composer Award or Ivor Novello Award since 2003 on Apple Music.

2020 Judges

Christopher Augustine – trombonist
Ain Bailey – sound artist
Michael Bawtree – conductor and organist
Naomi Belshaw – consultant for composers and artists
Ned Bigham – composer
Gary Carpenter – composer
John Casken – composer
Aaron Cassidy – composer and conductor
Jane Chapman – harpsichordist
Lloyd Coleman – Associate Music Director, Paraorchestra
Toks Dada – classical music programmer, curator & producer
Tansy Davies – composer
Nathaniel Facey – composer and alto saxophonist
Alice Farnham – conductor
Mark Forkgen – principal conductor, Kokoro
Camilla George – saxophonist
Sally Groves MBE – former Creative Director, Schott Music
Thomas Guthrie – stage director and musician
Geoff Hannan – composer
Clifton Harrison – Kreutzer Quartet violist
Pete Harrison – freelance conductor
Cathy Heller Jones – Director of Music, Musarc
Richard Henry – bass trombonist
Gavin Higgins – composer
Fenella Humphreys – violinist
Julian Joseph OBE – pianist, composer and broadcaster
Deborah Keyser – Director, Tŷ Cerdd – Music Centre Wales
Dominique Le Gendre – composer
Anne Lovett – pianist and composer
Fiona Maddocks – Observer Classical Music Critic
Carol Main MBE – Director, Live Music Now Scotland
Christian Mason – composer
Colin Matthews OBE – composer
Stephen McNeff – composer
Lisa Meyer – CEO/Artistic Director Capsule
Alcyona Mick – jazz composer and pianist
Haroon Mirza – artist
Madeleine Mitchell – violinist and Director, London Chamber Ensemble
Martel Ollerenshaw – Director, Arts & Parts
Pelin Opcin – Director of Programming, Serious
Ruby Philogene-Doran MBE – mezzo-soprano and Professor of Voice, GSMD
Anna Picard – writer
Lynne Plowman – composer
Gweneth Ann Rand – soprano
Alison Rayner – composer and bassist
Kate Romano – CEO Stapleford Granary, Artistic Director Goldfield Productions
Lucy Schaufer – performer and Artistic Director, Wild Plum Arts
John Slack – clarinettist, Berkeley Ensemble
Stan Sulzmann – saxophonist and composer
Gabriella Teychenné – conductor
Igor Toronyi-Lalic – Artistic Director, London Contemporary Music Festival
Cleveland Watkiss MBE – vocalist and composer
Roger Wright CBE – CEO, Britten Pears Arts
Raymond Yiu – composer

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