BASCA Unveils British Composer Awards Shortlist


United KingdomUnited Kingdom BASCA Unveils British Composer Awards Shortlist

The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) has announced the 39 works shortlisted for the 2012 British Composer Awards. The shortlist is divided into 13 categories and the winners in each category will be revealed at a ceremony at Goldsmiths’ Hall on Monday 3 December.

This year over 300 works were submitted, but only one composer – Sir Harrison Birtwistle – has works shortlisted in more than one category: Vocal and Orchestral. Birtwistle’s works have appeared on previous shortlists in 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2009 when he was nominated three times. In 2005, both The Ring of the Nazarene (Choral) and Night’s Black Bird (Orchestral) won in their respective categories. Birtwistle’s Crowd ,which won the Instrumental Solo or Duo Award in 2007, will be performed at the British Composer Awards 10th Anniversary Concert presented by BASCA in the Purcell Room on 5 December.

Not surprisingly, the categories that have the greatest number of new nominees are: Instrumental Solo or Duo; Contemporary Jazz; Community or Educational Project; Making Music; and Sonic Art. Timothy Salter in the Instrumental Solo or Duo category, and Matthew Herbert and Ray Lee (Sonic Art) have had their works shortlisted for the first time this year. In Contemporary Jazz Composition, Community or Educational, and Making Music all three short-listed works are from first-time nominees.

Other new names to the shortlist are Rebecca Saunders whose Still has been nominated in the Orchestral category, and Austrian composer Thomas Larcher, whose Double Concerto for violin, cello and orchestra was premièred at the 2011 BBC Proms by Viktoria Mullova and Matthew Barley. Thomas Larcher is nominated alongside Brett Dean and Kaija Saariaho for the International Award.

The British Composer Awards celebrate the music of composers living and working in the UK, as well as UK premières of works by composers outside the UK. In order to qualify, the shortlisted work must have been completed within the five years prior to March 2012 and received a public performance – either live or broadcast – in the year leading up to March 2012. With the exception of the International Award, shortlisted composers must be have been born in the UK or resident for at least 5 years. The final judging is made by specially appointed juries selected by BASCA, with a different panel for each category.

2012 marks the 10th anniversary of the British Composer Awards, a BASCA initiative launched in 2003 by its current chairman, Sarah Rodgers. BASCA is the professional association for music writers of all genres in the UK, and the Awards exist to promote the art of composition, to recognise the creative talent of composers who live and work in the UK and to bring contemporary music to a wider audience. With membership approaching 2,000, BASCA is the single voice for British music creators.

On Wednesday 5 December, two days after the 10th Anniversary Awards Ceremony at Goldsmiths’ Hall, BASCA will present a concert at the Southbank Centre featuring 11 choral and chamber works that have won British Composer Awards in the past 10 years. The earliest of the Award winners is Gabriel Jackson’s O Doctor Optime (Liturgical Award 2003), and the most most recent is Anthony Payne’s String Quartet No. 2 which won last year’s Chamber Award. The works will be performed by the combined forces of the chamber group Endymion and the chamber choir The Vasari Singers.

2012 British Composer Awards Shortlist by Category

Instrumental Solo or Duo

Rory Boyle: Burble

Christian Mason: Learning Self- Modulation

Timothy Salter: Three Intermezzi


Thomas Adès: The Four Quarters

Ian Gardiner: spinning and weaving

Raymond Yiu: Les Etoiles au Front


Sir Harrison Birtwistle: Angel Fighter

Joe Cutler: Chanticleer and the Opera Fox

Colin Matthews: No Man’s Land


John Casken: The Knight’s Stone

Jonathan Dove: Two Sonnets

Gabriel Jackson: Airplane Cantata

Wind Band or Brass Band

Simon Dobson: A Symphony of Colours

Kenneth Hesketh: Danceries (Set II)

Andy Scott: Spirit of Mingus


Julian Anderson: The Discovery of Heaven

Sir Harrison Birtwistle: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra

Rebecca Saunders: Still

Stage Works

Gavin Higgins: What Wild Ecstasy!

James MacMillan: Clemency

Jocelyn Pook: DESH


Francis Grier: Missa Brevis

Jonathan Harvey: The Annunciation

Cecilia McDowall: The Lord is Good

Sonic Art

Matthew Herbert: One Pig

Ray Lee: The Ethometric Museum

Patrick Nunn: Pareidolia I

Contemporary Jazz Composition

Laura Jurd: Giant’s Causeway

Alex Roth: The Charm of Impossibilities

Christine Tobin: Sailing to Byzantium

Community or Educational Project

Kerry Andrew: A Lock Is A Gate

John Barber: We Are Shadows

Paul Rissmann: The Chimpanzees of Happytown

Making Music Award

Emily Howard: Mesmerism for Piano and Chamber Orchestra

Christopher Hussey: Dreamtide

Matthew Taylor: Storr

International Award

Brett Dean: Fire Music

Thomas Larcher: Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra

Kaija Saariaho: Leino Songs


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