45 works have been nominated for an Ivor Novello Award across nine categories of classical, jazz and sound art, including community projects and stage works. Thomas Adès, George Benjamin, Cecilia McDowall and Rebecca Saunders are amongst those nominated and nearly half of the shortlist are first-time nominees, including Lara Agar, Kristina Arakelyan, Laurence Osborn, Hannah Kendall and Freya Waley-Cohen.
The winners of these prestigious Ivor Novello Awards will be revealed on 15 November as part of a live awards ceremony taking place at the British Museum introduced by BBC Radio 3 presenters Hannah Peel and Tom Service. BBC Radio 3 will broadcast the ceremony on Saturday 19 November in a special edition of the New Music Show, the station’s weekly programme dedicated to the latest cutting-edge and experimental new music. The episode will also be available on BBC Sounds. The Ivors Composer Awards are supported by PRS for Music.
Tom Gray, Chair of The Ivors Academy, said: ‘I would like to congratulate every nominee and thank every composer that entered work for consideration. For twenty years, The Ivors Composer Awards have recognised and celebrated the talent and artistry of composers in this country. An Ivor Novello Award is judged by fellow composers and recognition from our peers makes these awards so meaningful. We are determined to increase the voice and influence of composers over the next two decades so that we strengthen and grow as a community.’
Andrea Czapary Martin, CEO of PRS for Music, said: ‘The Ivors Composer Awards provides an unmatched platform that recognises excellence in the classical, jazz, and sound art communities. It is encouraging to see that almost 50% of those nominated are first-time nominees, highlighting the flourishing creative talent we have in the UK. This is exactly why we are proud to have invested and supported the awards from the beginning and continue to pledge our support as the awards go beyond their 20th anniversary. Congratulations to all those nominated; we look forward to honouring the winners in November.’
Alan Davey, Controller BBC Radio 3 and classical music, said: ‘It is with great joy and pride that we renew our partnership with The Ivors Composer Awards this year, in their 20th edition – 20 years of putting a spotlight on some of the UK’s most imaginative composers. Giving our listeners across the country and around the world the opportunity to discover and appreciate new and experimental music is one of Radio 3’s core missions – as we present new work alongside familiar repertoire. That is why all of us who love classical and jazz music should get behind The Ivors Composer Awards as they give their precious support to this country’s brightest composing minds for many more years to come, so that creative exploration and innovation can keep the repertoire fresh for decades to come.’
Many of this year’s nominated works use music to reflect on human experiences. Una Lee’s Down Gone explores themes of racism and sexism, Liz Dilnot Johnson’s When a Child is a Witness – Requiem for Refugees commemorates children affected by war displacement, whilst Laurence Osborn’s Essential Relaxing Classical Hits is about self-destruction in the age of late capitalism and social media. Similarly, Hannah Conway’s The Sound Voice Project focuses on powerful stories of voice loss and identity, and John Wallace’s Opsnizing Dad looks at dementia and social care. Derri Joseph Lewis’ piece Something Exciting for National Youth Choirs of Great Britain reflects on themes of coming out as LGBTQ+.
The theme of the natural world and climate change is prominent in the nominated works, including Daylighting by Louise Drewett, Scenes from the Wild by Cheryl Frances–Hoad, Houses Slide by Laura Bowler, CORALe by Benjamin Graves, This Unquiet Autumn by Lara Agar, Beacons by Emily Peasgood, Natural World by Laurence Crane, Acts of Waves by Edmund Finnis and Birds of Paradise by Tori Freestone.
The Community and Participation category returns in 2022, this year presented in association with ABRSM. In addition to the winners of nine nominated categories, three special awards recognising sustained contributions to music will be presented on the night. The Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Works Collection, presented in association with the Music Publishers Association, will celebrate an exceptional classical composer whose music demonstrates the highest degree of skill, impact and originality. The Ivor Novello Award for Innovation, supported by the Musicians’ Union, acknowledges an innovative composer and musician whose creative practice inspires and influences successive generations. The evening will close with the presentation of an Academy Fellowship in recognition of excellence and impact in the art and craft of music creation.
As with previous years, the shortlist of nominated works highlights the importance of the commissioning process. Commissioners of this year’s nominated works include orchestras, festivals and individuals including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, BBC Singers, BBC Proms, Garsington Opera, Opera North, Oxford Lieder Festival, Juliet Fraser and many more.
In 2021 The Ivors Academy adjusted its definition of ‘first UK performance’ to include the appearance of works on a commercial recording – as long as the recording was the first time the work had been heard by the public – in addition to live streamed concerts available to UK viewers. The 2022 nominated works have been premiered across a variety of platforms, from commercial recordings to live streams on YouTube as well as concert performances all around the UK.
The identity (name, gender, age, demographic) of each composer was removed from all materials given to the juries, which are made up of composers and music practitioners who anonymously reviewed all works entered for consideration. All nominated works were premiered to UK audiences between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022 and were composed by a UK-born or ordinarily resident composer.
The Ivors Composer Awards 2022 Nominees:
Celebrating classical works composed for four to eighteen instruments, and for one instrument or voice per part.
- AESOP 2 composed by Robin Haigh
for untrained recorder soloist, 13 players and electronics
- ESSENTIAL RELAXING CLASSICAL HITS composed by Laurence Osborn
for amplified solo soprano and 6 players
- MADAME MA BONNE SŒUR composed by Brett Dean
for mezzo-soprano and string quartet
- MUSIC FOR BOSCH PEOPLE composed by Alex Paxton
for 2 saxophones, 2 trombones, 2 electric guitars, drums and loudspeakers
- THE BIG HOUSE composed by Oliver Leith
for string quartet
Celebrating classical works specifically composed for voices; either a capella or accompanied.
- ALL SHALL BE WELL composed by Joanna Marsh
for unaccompanied choir
- A SHORT STORY OF FALLING composed by Joanna Marsh
for upper voice choir and piano
- CARMINA TEMPORE VIRI (SONGS IN TIME OF VIRUS) composed by Ken Hesketh
for upper voices, harp, organ and desk bells
- SEASCAPES composed by Kristina Arakelyan
for unaccompanied choir
- THERE IS NO ROSE composed by Cecilia McDowall
for unaccompanied choir
COMMUNITY AND PARTICIPATION in association with ABRSM
Celebrating works composed for voluntary, amateur or youth performers and/or community engagement
- DAYLIGHTING composed by Louise Drewett
community opera for children’s choir, soloists, narrator and ensemble with libretto by Clare Shaw
- ISLE OF SOUND composed by Emily Peasgood
soundscape project engaging communities in different parts of Thanet, Kent
- SOMETHING EXCITING composed by Derri Joseph Lewis
for SSAATB choir
- THE SELFISH GIANT composed by John Barber
youth opera with libretto by Jessica Duchen
- WHEN A CHILD IS A WITNESS – REQUIEM FOR REFUGEES composed by Liz Dilnot Johnson
for choir, children’s choir, mezzo soprano solo, organ, piano, violin/Hardanger fiddle and refugee groups
Celebrating jazz compositions which contain improvisation as an essential element
- 22:22 composed by Dan Mar-Molinero
for jazz orchestra
- BIRDS OF PARADISE composed by Tori Freestone
for jazz trio (flute/triangle, vocals and piano)
- CWMWL TYSTION II – RIOT! SUITE composed by Tomos Williams
for voice and jazz ensemble with live visuals
- PLANT BASED PATTERNS composed by David De La Haye
for jazz trio with field recordings
- TO LOVE ITSELF composed by Alex Hitchcock
for jazz ensemble
Celebrating classical works composed for up to thirty-six players.
- CANDYFOLK SPACE-DRUM composed by Alex Paxton
for 6 players, jazz drum kit, improvising soloist, electronics and children’s choir
- CONCERTO GROSSO composed by Joe Cutler
for ten piece solo ensemble, orchestral strings and timpani
- HOUSES SLIDE composed by Laura Bowler
for cycling soprano, ensemble and fixed and live electronics
- SCENES FROM THE WILD composed by Cheryl Frances-Hoad
for tenor and chamber orchestra
- SLEEPTALKER composed by Robin Haigh
for thirty piece chamber orchestra
Celebrating large symphonic works, including works for choir and orchestra.
- ACTS OF WAVES composed by Edmund Finnis
- À MON SEUL DÉSIR composed by Brian Irvine
for violin and orchestra
- CONCERTO FOR ORCHESTRA composed by George Benjamin
- LITANIES composed by Julian Anderson
for cello and orchestr
- TO AN UTTERANCE composed by Rebecca Saunders
for piano and orchestra
Celebrating classical works composed for one to three instruments, and for one instrument or voice per part.
- CORALE composed by Benjamin Graves
for viola and piano
- FANTASIE DI STRANI E DOLCI MISTERI DELLA PAROLA composed by James Weeks
for mezzo soprano and violin
- NATURAL WORLD composed by Laurence Crane
for soprano and piano / sampler keyboard
- ROSALIND composed by Hannah Kendall
for soprano, baritone and piano
- THIS UNQUIET AUTUMN composed by Lara Agar
for soprano and piano
Celebrating non concert format works which use sound as both their medium and their subject, including installations, sculptural, electroacoustic and audience interactive pieces.
- BEACONS by Emily Peasgood
site-specific outdoor ritual performed on beaches in coastal communities that features an experimental vocal performance and sound responsive light installation.
- DOWN GONE by Una Lee
audio composition for voice and electronics that explores speech, homophonic translation and musicalisation.
- EARTHQUAKE MASS RE-IMAGINED by Kathy Hinde
sound installation featuring twelve modified turntables playing vinyl pressings of a 15th century choral mass, reconfigured in response to seismic data.
- THE MUTE STILL AIR by Ed Carter
site-specific, sculptural sound installation and live performance by Grimethorpe Colliery Band.
- THE SOUND VOICE PROJECT: PAUL, I LEFT MY VOICE BEHIND AND TANJA by Hannah Conway
performance installation exploring stories of voice loss and identity.
Celebrating works composed for the stage, including opera, dance and musical theatre.
- DANTE composed by Thomas Adès
ballet in three parts, for orchestra with pre-recorded voices and female choir
- OPSNIZING DAD composed by John Wallace
opera in one act with libretto by Elizabeth Ingram-Wallace
- SYLLABLE composed by Edward Jessen
operatic sonic theatre work
- THE SHACKLED KING composed by John Casken
drama for bass, mezzo-soprano and ensemble
- WITCH composed by Freya Waley-Cohen
opera in one act with libretto by Ruth Mariner