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.
Amongst them, four CE composers have appeared, too:
Laurence Crane – Chamber Symphony No 2 The Australian (Category: Chamber ensemble)
“My Second Chamber Symphony – which carries the subtitle ’The Australian’- is a single movement of around 18 minutes duration and is scored for 13 players. As is quite frequent in my work, the starting point for the composition were a couple of fragments from previous pieces; small sequences of chords, which are taken on a walk and viewed from a different angle – or number of angles – in this new piece. These fragments come from two works completed in 2014; Pieces About Art, written for EXAUDI Vocal Ensemble and Gli Anni Prog, composed for the Italian Flautist Manuel Zurria.” The work was commissioned and premiered by London Sinfonietta conducted by Garry Walker at St John’s Smith Square, London in October 2015. More info here.
Martin Iddon – Ampelos (Category: Solo or Duo)
Ampelos, for voice and pre-recorded voices, is an extension of my earlier vocal quintet, hamadryads, and, like that earlier piece, makes use in the generation of its pitch material of Josquin’s Déploration on the death of Johannes Ockeghem, Nymphes des bois. It follows Karya (2011) for Disklavier, Syke (2013) for marimba and accordion, Balanos (2013) for organ and fixed media, Ptelea(2014) for bass clarinet, and Morea (2014) for violoncello in a series of pieces taking Josquin’s lament as a starting point, each based on a particular ‘reading’ of the source text and taking the title of one of the eight types of hamadryad named in the Greek mythological tradition. As well as being the names of the hamadryade bonded to vines, Ampelos was also the name of a satyr beloved of Dionysius. On his death, Dionysius transformed the youth into the vine, making wine from his blood. Ampelos was written for Jeffrey Gavett and lasts a little over twelve minutes. More info here.
Mark Bowden – Five Memos (Category: Solo or Duo)
“I took Italo Calvino’s series of Charles Eliot Norton Lectures, Six Memos for the Next Millennium, as a starting point to create a five-movement work for violin and piano. My ambition, to create musical responses to the artistic virtues Calvino held up as being of particular importance for writers, and artists, of the future.”Commissioned by London Music Masters Five Memos was premiered on 10 May 2015, performed by Hyeyoon Park (violin) and Huw Watkins (piano) at Newbury Spring Festival.
Richard Whalley – Misplaced Time Refound (Category: Solo or Duo)
“Early on in Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco, one of the key characters marvels at how the memory of his computer (‘A totally spiritual machine’) can be used as he wishes, so much better than human memory, which ‘at the cost of much effort, learns to remember but not to forget.’ We live in the present, yet this present is always coloured by memories of the past, by selective perception of external circumstances, and by fears and desires for the future. Memories themselves are fickle: often we misremember, or at very least remember selectively, forgetting important details and obsessing over trivialities. Sometimes an unexpected memory of something half-forgotten may emerge for whatever reason. All of this makes ‘living in the moment’ such a rich and multi-dimensional experience; it is the resulting poignancy of existence that I have attempted to capture in this piece.” Commissioned by Gavin Osborn Misplaced Time Refound was premiered on 25 February 2016, performed by Gavin Osborn at Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall, University of Manchester. More info here, browse and download its score here.
Congratulations to all shortlisted composers!