2015 British Composer Award Winners announced
9th December 2015
Pelt by Christine Tobin
12th November 2016

2016 British Composer Award Nominations announced

BASCA announce the 33 works shortlisted for the 2016 British Composer Awards.

Thirty-four composers have been shortlisted for this year’s British Composer Awards, spanning 33 works across 11 categories, it was revealed today.

The 2016 shortlist highlights the diversity and vibrancy of the UK’s music community, with 20 per cent of composers born overseas, 38 per cent of nominees being women – the highest numbers in the Awards’ history – and 50 per cent of the shortlist being first time nominees.

The shortlist reveals that today’s leading composers are increasingly taking inspiration from science, engaging with technology, and blurring artistic boundaries.

Crispin Hunt, Chairman at BASCA, said: “This year BASCA introduced a number of changes to the submissions and judging process to ensure the British Composer Awards are representative of the wealth and diversity of talent here in the UK. The resulting shortlist announced today is a great snapshot of the creative expression that is contemporary classical, jazz and sonic art. Add to this our two new awards, the recipients of which will be announced at the ceremony, and the 2016 British Composer Awards promises to be a great night. Congratulations to everyone shortlisted today.”

Celebrating the art of composition and showcasing the creative talent of contemporary composers and sound artists, the British Composer Awards are presented by BASCA and sponsored by PRS for Music; in association with BBC Radio 3 providing exclusive broadcast coverage of the Awards.

Composers taking inspiration from science and technology include: Eduardo Reck Miranda, whose piece Activating Memory used a Brain-Computer Music Interface instrument – Miranda’s own invention – to enable motor-impaired participants to compose music by detecting electrical brain signals; Emily Howard, whose Small Chamber shortlisted work, Afference explores the neural workings of the brain; and Fumiko Miyachi, whose Au79 is part of a series of works inspired by the periodic table.

Meanwhile, shortlisted composers blurring the boundaries between music and other art forms include: Jennifer Walshe and Brian Irvine whose piece 13 Vices dissolves the boundaries between music, performance and poetry; Hanna Tuulikki, whose SING SIGN: a close duet weaves together spoken word, British Sign Language and architecture; and Sorana Santos, whose Our Lady of Stars | Book of Hours explores the relationship between the written and audible languages of music and literature.

For the full shortlist by category see below.

Julia Haferkorn and Ed McKeon, Artistic Directors of the British Composer Awards for the past three years, commented:

Julia Haferkorn: “In these uncertain times the continually high quality of work by composers living in Britain is reassuring, while its diversity is truly uplifting. Inspiration comes from a wide range of sources – from brain signals to Victorian handkerchief thieves, and from London’s topographical features to mythical women. It is particularly pleasing to see that the shortlist features 50% of first time nominees, an indication that the British Composer Awards are reaching an ever widening pool of talent.”

Ed McKeon: “The shortlist reflects just how much the richer our musical life is for the international musicians and artists who have settled here and who come here to study and to explore a rich global culture. In the process, music has become less tribal and more playful, and the same goes for audiences. It’s a great time to be listening to new music in the UK.”

Shortlisted composers born overseas include: Jennifer Walshe (Ireland); Eduardo Reck Miranda (Brazil); Alex Nikiporenko (Russia); Claudia Molitor (Germany); David Bruce (USA); Fumiko Miyachi (Japan); & Shri Sriram (India).

Guy Fletcher, Chairman at PRS for Music, said: “Once again we have an outstanding shortlist of innovative composers whose works have been submitted for the British Composer Awards 2016. We at PRS for Music congratulate BASCA for continuing to champion the diversity, originality and excellence of our contemporary composer community and are delighted to continue sponsoring this wonderful event.”

For the first time, this year entries were judged anonymously for all categories apart from Community or Educational Project, Sonic Art and Stage Works – where the presence of the composer is often integral to the performance itself – and works could be submitted by the composers themselves. In addition, the British Composer Awards will be launching two new Gift of BASCA awards this year: the British Composer Award for Innovation and the British Composer Award for Inspiration, with each category recognising the entire body of work of a composer to date.

Alan Davey, Controller at BBC Radio 3, BBC Proms and BBC Performing Groups, commented: “Since BBC Radio 3 began broadcasting, as the Third Programme, 70 years ago, the station has always sought to champion new works and composer talent. We’re really pleased to be able to connect our millions of listeners to all the new work that is championed within the British Composer Awards. It’s a treasure trove of discovery and it’s encouraging to see the evolving diversity and continuing excellence of the Awards, with more female composers, as we work together as an industry to address diversity in classical composition. Congratulations and good luck to all who are shortlisted.”

BBC Radio 3 will broadcast exclusive coverage of the Awards on Hear and Now on Saturday 10 December.

The winners in each category will be announced at the British Film Institute (BFI) on Tuesday 6 December 2016.

2016 British Composer Awards Shortlist:

Amateur or Young Performers
I am, I say by Kate Whitley
In Sea-Cold Lyonesse by John Pickard
The Monster in the Maze by Jonathan Dove

Chamber Ensemble
13 Vices by Brian Irvine and Jennifer Walshe
Chamber Symphony No. 2 ‘The Australian’ by Laurence Crane
Freezywater by Leo Chadburn

Choral
Ave Verum Corpus Re-Imagined by Roderick Williams
Noli Pater by James MacMillan
When Time is Broke by Cecilia McDowall

Community or Educational Project
Activating Memory by Eduardo Reck Miranda
Brass Roots; Musical Wings by Lucy Pankhurst
Into the Light by John Webb

Contemporary Jazz Composition
Karembeu’s Guide to the Complete Defensive Midfielder by Joe Cutler
Our Lady of Stars | Book of Hours by Sorana Santos
With One Voice by Mark Lockheart

Orchestral
Alba by Rebecca Saunders
Instability by Luke Bedford
Smatter Hauler by Anna Meredith

Small Chamber
A Day at the Spa by Oliver Leith
Afference by Emily Howard
Modus Triplex by Alex Nikiporenko

Solo or Duo
Ampelos by Martin Iddon
Five Memos by Mark Bowden
Misplaced Time Refound by Richard Whalley

Sonic Art
SING SIGN: a close duet by Hanna Tuulikki
Sonorama by Claudia Molitor
Tree Radio by Magz Hall

Stage Works
Between Worlds by Tansy Davies
Nothing by David Bruce
The Cure by Harrison Birtwistle

Wind Band or Brass Band
A Richer Dust by Nigel Clarke
Au79 by Fumiko Miyachi
Just a Vibration by Shri Sriram

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