BASCA (British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors) announced the winners of its 15th British Composer Awards at a ceremony at the British Museum on 6 December 2017.
Thirteen composers were honoured at the ceremony, which was hosted by BBC Radio 3 presenters, Andrew McGregor and Sara Mohr-Pietsch. The winning works represent the best contemporary composition which premiered in the UK in the year leading up to 31 March 2017. In addition, two composers were awarded the Gift of BASCA award in recognition of their contribution to new music.
Award-winners were as follows:
- Amateur or Young Performers – Who We Are by Kerry Andrew
- Chamber Ensemble – Skin by Rebecca Saunders
- Choral – Proclamation of the Republic by Andrew Hamilton
- Community or Educational Project – Anything but Bland by Brian Irvine
- Contemporary Jazz Composition – Muted Lines by Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian
- Orchestral – Torus (Concerto for Orchestra) by Emily Howard
- Small Chamber – In Feyre Foreste by Robin Haigh
- Solo or Duo – Inside Colour by Deborah Pritchard
- Sonic Art – Luminous Birds by Kathy Hinde
- Stage Works – 4.48 Psychosis by Philip Venables
- Wind Band or Brass Band – In Ictu Oculi by Kenneth Hesketh
- British Composer Award for Innovation – Shiva Feshareki
- British Composer Award for Inspiration in association with the Music Publishers’ Association – Nigel Osborne MBE
Winners with a particular interest in composing for children and young people included:
- Kerry Andrew, who won her fourth British Composer Award for Who We Are, a piece for children’s choir commissioned and premiered by NYCGB (National Youth Choirs of Great Britain) exploring the refugee crisis and themes of identity and otherness.
- Brian Irvine, who won his second British Composer Award for Anything but Bland, a composition celebrating the life and work of Lilian Bland, the first woman to design, build and fly an aeroplane. The piece was written for an all-female chorus bringing together girls and women from across community schools, community groups, business groups and individuals.
- Nigel Osborne MBE, who won the British Composer Award for Inspiration. Osborne’s works encapsulate ensemble music, orchestral pieces and works for the stage. He has pioneered methods of using music and the creative arts to support children who are victims of conflict, an approach that was developed during the war in Bosnia Herzegovina and has been implemented widely in Eastern Europe, Africa, India and Syria. He has been an advisor for War Child and is currently a fieldworker for SAWA for Development and Aid in its programme for refugees in Lebanon and Syria.
Crispin Hunt, Chair at BASCA, said:
‘The composers honoured this evening are testament to the UK’s thriving and vibrant new music community. Their creations challenge the status quo; push boundaries, celebrate our rich and diverse history, inspire and innovate at every turn. They demonstrate the positive impact of music on all our lives and it is an honour for BASCA to celebrate their achievements this evening.’
The British Composer Awards are presented by BASCA and sponsored by PRS for Music in association with BBC Radio 3. A programme dedicated to the British Composer Awards will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Sunday 10 December from 7.30pm.
Header photo: Kerry Andrew and NYCGB’s Esther Jones at the British Composer Awards ceremony © Mark Allan