Tuesday 1 November 2016

British Composer Awards

 Stage Works Shortlist - Between Worlds by Tansy Davies - Nothing by David Bruce - The Cure by Harrison Birtwistle
 British Composer Awards - Stage Works Shortlist
Tansy Davies - David Bruce - Harrison Birtwistle
It is that time of year, the short-list for the British Composer Awards has been announced and we look forward to the awards ceremony on Tuesday 6 December 2016 at the British Film Institute, with broadcast coverage on BBC Radio 3' Here and Now on 10 December 216. The shortlist include 34 composers, 22 works and 11 categories. 20% of the composers are born overseas, 38% are women (the highest numbers in the Awards' history), and 50% are first time nominees. (Has anyone tried estimating the figures for LGBT composers on the list I wonder?).

Interesting names spotted on the list include:
  • Kate Whitley, for I am, I say (Amateur or Young Performers Category) for children's choir and orchestra, premiered in the Peckham car park, London by the Multi-Story Orchestra conducted by Christopher Stark joined by John Donne, Kender, Lyndhurst, St John and St Clements, and Harris Primary Academy Primary Schools, and St Thomas The Apostle College and Harris Academy at Peckham. The soloists were Ashley Riches (bass) and Sarah Jane Lewis (soprano).
  • Roderick Williams, for Ave Verum Corpus Re-Imagined (Choral Category) commissioned by ORA and Suzi Digby as a reflection on the Kyrie Eleison from William Byrd’s Mass for Five voices. It received its UK premiere at the ORA Launch Concert at the Tower of London on 9 February 2016 (see my review).
  • James MacMillan, for Noli Pater (Choral Category), commissioned by the St Albans International Organ Festival and Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, first performed by the Choir of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, with Barnaby Brown (triplepipe) and Bernhard Haas (organ), directed by Geoffrey Webber, at the St Albans International Organ Festival on 15 July 2015.
  • Cecilia McDowell, for When Time is Broke (Choral Category), first performed on 28 January 2016 at LSO St Luke’s, London, by the BBC Singers, conductor David Hill
  • Tansy Davies, for Between Worlds  (Stage Category), received its UK premiere on 11 April 2015. Performed by English National Opera conducted by Gerry Cornelius at Barbican Centre, London (see Hilary's review on this blog).
  • David Bruce, for Nothing (Stage Category), the first project to take place in the 30th anniversary year of Glyndebourne’s education department, it received its UK permiere on 24 February 2016. Performed by Stuart Jackson (Pierre), Roberta Allegra Parton (Agnes), Marta Fontanals-Simmons (Ursula), James Hall (Johan), Tristan Hambleton (Karl), Glyndebourne Youth Opera chorus, Southbank Sinfonia at Glyndebourne
  • Harrison Birtwistle, for The Cure (Stage Category), it received its UK premiere on 12 June 2015 at the Aldeburgh Festival. Directed by Martin Duncan and performed by Mark Padmore (tenor), Elizabeth Atherton (soprano), London Sinfonietta and conducted by Geoffrey Paterson at the Britten Studio, Snape Maltings.
For the full shortlist see the British Composer Awards website, where you can also hear extracts of the selected works.

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