30 works have been nominated across six categories including composers such as Tansy Davies, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Howard Goodall and James MacMillan. 40% of the composers in the running for an Ivor Novello Award this year are first-time nominees, including Nwando Ebizie, Nikki Iles, Dave Manington, Anna Thorvaldsdottir and Alex Paxton, who has three works nominated.
The winners of these prestigious Ivor Novello Awards will be revealed on 8 December as part of a live awards ceremony taking place at the British Museum presented by BBC Radio 3’s Tom Service and Sara Mohr-Pietsch. BBC Radio 3 will then broadcast the ceremony in a special edition of the New Music Show on 11 December, which will also be available on BBC Sounds. The Ivors Composer Awards are supported by PRS for Music.
All nominated works were premiered between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021 and as a result the theme of lockdown is prominent in a number of works, including Nikki Iles The Caged Bird, Tansy Davies’ Nightingales: Ultra-Deep Field, Caroline Kraabel’s London 26 and 28 March 2020: Imitation: Inversion, Thomas Adès’s Gyökér (Root) and Howard Goodall’s Never to Forget, to name a few. Other themes include mythology which comes up in works by James Dillon (Pharmakeia), Martin Iddon (Lampades) and Robin Haigh (No One) and the natural world is presented through Lynne Plowman’s A Field Guide to Pebbles, Nikki Sheth’s Nocturnal Insights and Ed Hughes’ The Cuckmere Soundwalk.
Peer recognition is a crucial part of The Ivors Composer Awards’ judging process. Each category had a judging panel made up of composers and music practitioners who anonymously reviewed all works entered for consideration. The identity (name, gender, age, demographic) of each composer was removed from all materials given to the jury. All of the nominated works received its first UK public performance between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021 and were composed by a UK born or ordinarily resident composer.
Although the pandemic affected live performances, commissions for new works remained strong throughout and the nominated works reflect the range of commissioning in new music. Commissioners of this year’s nominated works include organisations and individuals such as Arts Council of Wales, BBC Radio 3, Oxford Lieder Festival, Oliver Zeffman, London Symphony Chorus, ORA Singers, Prestigne Festival, Royal Philharmonic Society, Hyper Duo, Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker and the International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers, amongst many others.
In addition to the six categories, four Gift of the Academy Awards will be presented at the awards ceremony on 8 December and will include Ivor Novello Awards for Innovation, Outstanding Works Collection, Impact and a Visionary Award.
Julian Joseph OBE, Chair of The Ivors Academy’s Awards Committee and Fellow of the Academy, said: “My heartfelt congratulations go to everyone nominated for this year’s Ivors Composer Awards. As these awards recognise works premiered during 2020, when venues were closed for much of the year, I feel this list of nominees is a testament to the resilience of our composers. We now need to take every opportunity to nurture, fund and champion the writing, commissioning and performance of contemporary classical, jazz and sound arts.”
Andrea Czapary Martin, CEO of PRS for Music, said: “We are immensely proud to once again support The Ivors Composer Awards. These awards provide an important opportunity for PRS for Music and The Ivors Academy to recognise excellence in the classical, jazz, and sound art communities. It is also especially pleasing to see that 18 of this year’s nominees have been supported via PRS Foundation programmes. Congratulations to all those nominated, for continuing to produce works that both inspire and captivate listeners throughout the pandemic, and we look forward to honouring the winners in person this December.”
Alan Davey, Controller BBC Radio 3 and classical music said: “Radio 3 prides itself on being a place where curious listeners can discover new and innovative music alongside the familiar repertoire. That is why we are delighted to be supporting The Ivors Composer Awards again, particularly after the last two years where we had to work hard in order to keep the relationship between audiences and live performers alive. This is the time to celebrate the breadth of creativity on the UK music scene, as we broadcast a ceremony that shines a light on the work of some of its most innovative and imaginative composers.”
Winners of Ivor Novello Awards at The Ivors Composer Awards will be announced on Wednesday 8 December at an exclusive awards ceremony taking place at the British Museum, presented by BBC Radio 3’s Tom Service and Sara Mohr-Pietsch. Audiences can also enjoy a two-hour special on BBC Radio 3’s New Music Show on 11 December at 10pm, which will also be available on BBC Sounds.