Recognised for their contributions to contemporary music, and celebrating their musical careers as a whole, the first Gift of BASCA Awards went to: Jennifer Walshe and Simon Bainbridge.
Jennifer Walshe was presented with the British Composer Award for Innovation by Graham McKenzie, Artistic Director & Chief Executive of Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, in recognition of her lifelong dedication to questioning and challenging the status quo through music and performance. Her works include a feminist opera with Barbie dolls, musical theatre using gaming graphics and game theory, gallery-based sculptural, video and performance art, and jaw-dropping vocal improvisations.
Dublin-born Walshe has been energetically involved in the European and American contemporary art and music scenes throughout her career, studying in Glasgow, Dublin and Chicago before taking on prestigious fellowships and residencies in Stuttgart and Berlin. She is recognised as one of the most innovative composers performing and making musical arts today.
Simon Bainbridge was honoured with the British Composer Award for Inspiration, presented to him by his former student, Luke Bedford – who was also shortlisted for a British Composer Award this year. Currently Senior Professor of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music, Bainbridge has devoted his working life to teaching and encouraging young composers all over the world, including at the Royal Northern College of Music, Edinburgh University, Royal College of Music, and Guildhall School of Music and Drama, as well as in Asia, Australia, mainland Europe and in the USA.
Bainbridge’s work has been extensively performed all over the world, and has won numerous awards. Bainbridge’s most significant project of recent years is Music Space Reflection, a work for 28 players inspired by and designed to be performed inside buildings designed by architect Daniel Libeskind.