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The Ivors Composer Awards 2020 Nominations Announced

We are delighted to reveal the nominations for The Ivors Composer Awards 2020.

The Ivors Academy today [3 November] announce the nominations for The Ivors Composer Awards 2020, celebrating the best new works by composers writing for classical, jazz and sound art. The winners of these prestigious Ivor Novello Awards will be revealed on 1 December as part of a two-hour ceremony broadcast exclusively on BBC Radio 3.

This year’s nominated works demonstrate the wide diversity of settings, styles and themes of contemporary music being composed in the UK. The theme of protest is seen throughout a number of this year’s nominated works, exploring topics such as climate change (Rachel Portman’s Earth Song set to words by Greta Thunberg), the fight for universal suffrage (Emily Howard’s The Anvil), the homophobic rhetoric of the DUP in Northern Ireland (Conor Mitchell’s Abomination, a DUP opera), the Windrush Generation (Renell Shaw’s The Vision They Had), Brexit (Alex Hitchcock’s Calvados), bird conservation (Kathy Hinde’s Twittering Machines) and nuclear proliferation (Caroline Devine’s On Common Ground).

Now in their 18th year, The Ivors Composer Awards (formerly British Composer Awards) have nominated 53 works across eleven categories with over 50% by first-time nominees. Each category includes a broad range of talent representing both established and emerging composers of all ages. This year’s nominations include composers such as Sally Beamish, Harrison Birtwistle, Anne Dudley, Jonny Greenwood, Rachel Portman, Gabriel Prokofiev, Judith Weir and Ryan Wigglesworth.

Peer recognition is at the centre of this unique annual celebration. Each of the eleven categories had a separate judging panel of composers and music practitioners who anonymously reviewed all works entered for consideration. The identity (name, gender, age, demographic) of the work’s composer was removed from all materials given to the jury. All of the nominated works received a UK premiere between 1st April 2019 and 31st March 2020 and were composed by a UK born or ordinarily resident composer.

The list of nominated works also highlight the importance and breadth of commissioning in new music. Seven of the nominated works were commissioned or co-commissioned by the BBC, and four works are associated with the PRS Foundation New Music Biennial 2019. Other commissioners include leading UK performers from Britten Sinfonia, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, LSO, Nash Ensemble, London Sinfonietta and The Belfast Ensemble to Birmingham Royal Ballet, Music Theatre Wales, Choir of St John’s College Cambridge and venues such as Wigmore Hall.

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

The Ivors Composer Awards are sponsored by PRS for Music. The awards presentation is in association with BBC Radio 3 providing exclusive broadcast coverage.

Gary Carpenter, Chair of The Ivors Academy’s Awards Committee, said: “The works nominated for this year’s Composer Awards perfectly illustrate how contemporary classical, jazz and sound arts respond to the world around us and shape our understanding of the contradictions, uncertainties and hopes that create the fabric of our lives. On behalf of music creators and The Ivors Academy I would like to congratulate all nominees on their achievement. As our world feels increasingly uncertain, we must treasure what makes life so wonderful – music, inspiration and escape.”

Andrea C. Martin, CEO of PRS for Music, said: “We are proud to continue our support of The Ivors Composer Awards. Without question, this year has been incredibly difficult for our industry. While the classical community has faced its own unique challenges in recent months, the vitality of your compositions has remained a constant in our lives. Retaining their ability to truly inspire, move and affect emotion. Congratulations to all the nominees, especially those nominated for the first time, and we look forward to honouring the winners in December.”

Alan Davey, Controller BBC Radio 3 and classical music said: “One of our main commitments here at BBC Radio 3 is to put a spotlight on contemporary composers, supporting their work and giving audiences the chance to discover it. This is true in normal times, but it is much more relevant at the moment – while the careers of so many performers and composers are challenged due to the pandemic. We are therefore delighted to host The Ivors Composer Awards as a broadcast only ceremony on our airwaves, broadcasting all this amazing new music, and showcasing the brightest and most creative musical minds on our vital contemporary UK music scene.”

THE IVORS COMPOSER AWARDS 2020 NOMINATIONS:

CHAMBER ORCHESTRAL

– GRIN by ROBIN HAIGH
  for chamber orchestra
– HOVER by SALLY BEAMISH
  for two oboe, two horns and strings
– PIANO CONCERTO by RYAN WIGGLESWORTH
  for piano and chamber orchestra
– PROMETHEUS SYMPHONY by STUART MACRAE
  for soprano, bass-baritone and chamber orchestra
– UNE SAISON EN ENFER by JOSEPHINE STEPHENSON
  for tenor and string orchestra

CHORAL

– BOGORÓD̃ITSE DÉVO, RÁDUYS̃IÂ by CHERYL FRANCES-HOAD
  for SATB choir
– EARTH SONG by RACHEL PORTMAN
  for SATB choir
– I SING OF LOVE by BERNARD HUGHES
  for SATB choir (with divisi)
– PIETÀ by RICHARD BLACKFORD
  for mezzo soprano, baritone, SATB chorus, optional children’s chorus and string orchestra
– PIOUS ANTHEMS AND VOLUNTARIES by MICHAEL FINNISSY
  for soloists, organ, flute, violin and choir

COMMUNITY AND PARTICIPATION

– I AM ALBAN by ANNE DUDLEY
  for mixed choir, soloists, narrator and orchestra, with libretto by Ian McMillan
– MORE UP by OLIVER VIBRANS
  for chamber orchestra and electronics
– THE BIG PICTURE by JUDITH WEIR
  for two choirs (unison/SATB) and instrumental ensemble
– TUQUS by BUSHRA EL-TURK
  for multi ability symphony orchestra
– WHAT DO YOU DO WITH AN IDEA? by PAUL RISSMANN
  for orchestra, choir, narrator and dancer, with libretto by Kobi Yamada

JAZZ COMPOSITION FOR LARGE ENSEMBLE

– A TALL TALE by TOM HAINES
  for jazz orchestra
– CREPUSCULE by CHARLIE BATES
  for jazz orchestra
– PRESENT by JONNY MANSFIELD
  for jazz orchestra, choir and soloist, with libretto by Ella Hohnen-Ford
– THE PINK SHAGPILE CARPET STORY AKA THE KING OF SPANK by SAM EASTMOND
  for jazz orchestra
– WHAT IS UNDERSTANDING by JELLY CLEAVER
  for ensemble and vocals

JAZZ COMPOSITION FOR SMALL ENSEMBLE

– CALVADOS by ALEX HITCHCOCK
  for saxophones, double bass, drums and synthesizers
– ELEMENTAL UTTERANCES by MATT LONDON
  for alto flute, tenor saxophone, violin, double bass, drums and voice
– NEW EARS SUITE by CALUM GOURLAY
  for tenor saxophone, tenor trombone, double bass and drums
– THE VISION THEY HAD by RENELL SHAW
  for seven-piece band
– WEIRD WEATHER by MARK LOCKHEART
  for saxophones, keyboards, bass violin and drums

LARGE CHAMBER

– GLEANN CIÙIN by CLAIRE M SINGER
  for organ, violin, viola, four cello and two horns
– HONEY SIREN by OLIVER LEITH
  for string ensemble
– NO 50. (THE GARDEN) by RICHARD AYRES
  for amplified ensemble, bass voice and soundtrack
– SCAR by REBECCA SAUNDERS
  for 15 soloists and conductor
– THE CENTRE IS EVERYWHERE by EDMUND FINNIS
  for 12 string players

LARGE ORCHESTRAL

– CLARINET CONCERTO by MARK SIMPSON
  for clarinet and orchestra
– HAWAII HAWAII HAWAII by JOE CUTLER
  for saxophone and orchestra
– HORROR VACUI by JONNY GREENWOOD
  for solo violin and 68 solo strings
– NIGHT MUSIC by JASPER DOMMETT
  for orchestra
– THE ANVIL by EMILY HOWARD
  for soprano, bass baritone, chamber choir, youth choir, chorus and orchestra,
with libretto by Michael Symmons Roberts

SMALL CHAMBER

– AROHA by ROBERT LAIDLOW
  for string quartet
– IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S ME by ELENA LANGER
  for soprano, baritone and piano, with libretto by Glyn Maxwell
– KRAKEN CELLO CONCERTANTE by AMIR KONJANI
  for Kraken cello, trumpet, violin and Kraken piano
– …SHADOWS THAT IN DARKNESS DWELL… by TIMOTHY COOPER
  for counter tenor, recorder, theorbo, baroque cello and electronics
– SIX MOVEMENTS by DANIEL FARDON
  for string quartet

SOLO OR DUO

– A LINE ALONGSIDE ITSELF by NEWTON ARMSTRONG*
for solo cello with four pre-recorded cellos and electronic sounds
– CLOUD ENGINE by THOMAS GIBBS*
  for solo tuba with live electronics
– DIARIES OF THE EARLY WORM by GARETH MOORCRAFT
  for solo alto recorder
– DUET FOR EIGHT STRINGS by HARRISON BIRTWISTLE
  for viola and cello
– KINDLY, SOFTLY by GEORGIA DENHAM*
  for violin and piano

SOUND ART

– INTACT by SOPHIE COOPER*
  vocal and trombone recordings edited and manipulated for the Huddersfield Immersive
  Sound System
– ON COMMON GROUND by CAROLINE DEVINE
  abstract vocal fragments, synthesizers and electronic instruments, field recordings and voices
– REQUIEM FOR THE 21st CENTURY by KHYAM ALLAMI*
  oud, 16-piece string section and SATB chorus
– THE SCULPTOR SPEAKS by OLIVIA LOUVEL*
  electroacoustic resounding of a 1961 recording of Barbara Hepworth’s voice
– TWITTERING MACHINES by KATHY HINDE
  bespoke vinyl, objects, live electronics, field recordings and video projections

STAGE WORKS

– ABOMINATION: A DUP OPERA by CONOR MITCHELL*
opera: for chamber orchestra, six soloists and SATB chorus
– DENIS & KATYA by PHILIP VENABLES
  opera: for mezzo soprano, baritone, four amplified cellos, tape and video, with libretto by Ted Huffman
– SENSE OF TIME by GABRIEL PROKOFIEV
  ballet: for symphony orchestra and electronics

Winners of Ivor Novello Awards at The Ivors Composer Awards will be announced on Tuesday 1 December from 7.30pm on BBC Radio 3 during an exclusive live broadcast hosted by Kate Molleson and Tom Service.

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