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David Ferguson’s legacy

During Ivors Week the David Ferguson lecture explored music and climate change with Brian Eno, Prof Brian Cox, Dr Tamsin Edwards and Hannah Peel. Composer Alfons Karabuda reflects on David's legacy.

David Ferguson David Ferguson

I’m Alfons Karabuda, composer and president of ECSA, the European Composer and Songwriter alliance. Something I would not have been without David Ferguson.

In fact, I doubt if our European alliance of songwriters, composers and lyricists would have existed today without him.

David was one of Britain’s most successful television composers and Chair of BASCA, now The Ivors Academy, where he put the organisation on the political map with the authors finally speaking on their own behalf, and this with a solid and unified voice.

David was as easy to like as he was someone you would probably want to avoid if you were a counterpart. Passionate, never afraid and very, very outspoken.

His passionate arguments were always based on solid, well-researched facts and seasoned and with a lot of humour. I’m confident that the cute animated shark in his PowerPoint presentation was aimed at not only entertaining but also making the demands for a more sustainable music industry easier to absorb for anyone attending.

I can honestly say that I haven’t met someone as intelligent, generous and brave as David Ferguson. Pushing not only himself to the limit but also his colleagues because he saw what we could achieve together and the needs of developing and safeguarding the livelihoods of songwriters and composers globally.

He had a vision. He made us all part of making it come true, and we, the authors and performers of music, all have a reason to be grateful for that. The best way is, of course, continuing the work of protecting intellectual property rights in music compositions and songs, where we, the authors, are at the core of the value-chain but still struggling for fair remuneration and credit when our music is being used.

The last time I saw David was at the Ivor Novello awards, where he was awarded a Fellowship, the Academy’s highest honour. He was very proud of the award as he would have been seeing “his” organisation continuing working so successfully on the path set by many but maybe more by David than anyone else.


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