British Composer Awards 2012 are Announced

British Composer Awards 2012 are Announced

The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) has announced the winners in 13 categories of the 2012 British Composer Awards. Of the 13 categories, nine have been awarded to new winners.

Four of the winners are completely new to the British Composer Awards: Ray Lee, Christine Tobin, Paul Rissmann and Thomas Larcher who are winners in the categories of Sonic Art, Contemporary Jazz Composition, Community or Educational Project, and the International Award respectively.

Christian Mason, Colin Matthews, Simon Dobson, Francis Grier, and Emily Howard, winners in Instrumental Solo or Duo, Vocal, Wind Band or Brass Band, Liturgical, and the Making Music Award respectively, are first-time winners although each has received previous nominations; whereas both Thomas Adès and Jocelyn Pook received Awards for the second time, and Gabriel Jackson’s Airplane Cantata gained him his second Award in the Choral category and his third win overall.

Sarah Rodgers, Chairman of BASCA and the British Composer Awards, said, “This has been a great year for British composers and BASCA is immensely proud to celebrate their success at the British Composer Awards. The 10th anniversary Awards have presented an authentic reflection of the new and the established, across a spectrum of language and invention which affirms the high reputation of contemporary classical composition in the UK.”

Topping the charts is Sir Harrison Birtwistle who wins his fourth British Composer Award. Birtwistle, shortlisted this year in two categories: Orchestral and Vocal, won his fourth British Composer Award when he was presented with the Orchestral Award for his Concerto for Violin and Orchestra by Ruth Mackenzie OBE, on behalf of BASCA. Birtwistle’s previous awards include both the Orchestral and Choral awards in 2005 and the Instrumental Solo or Duo award for Crowd in 2007. Crowd will be performed by Helen Tunstall, harpist with the Endymion Ensemble, as part of the British Composer Awards 10th Anniversary Concert at the Purcell Room on Wednesday 5 December.

The British Composer Awards are presented by BASCA and sponsored by the Performing Rights Society for Music in association with BBC Radio 3 who once again will provide exclusive broadcast coverage of the Awards on Sunday 9 December.

The full list of winning compositions is as follows:

Instrumental Solo or Duo: Christian Mason, Learning Self- Modulation

Chamber: Thomas Adès, The Four Quarters

Vocal: Colin Matthews, No Man’s Land

Choral: Gabriel Jackson, Airplane Cantata

Wind Band or Brass Band: Simon Dobson, A Symphony of Colours

Orchestral: Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Concerto for Violin and Orchestra

Stage Works: Jocelyn Pook, DESH

Liturgical: Francis Grier, Missa Brevis

Sonic Art: Ray Lee, The Ethometric Museum

Contemporary JazzComposition: Christine Tobin, Sailing to Byzantium

Community or Educational: Paul Rissmann, The Chimpanzees of Project Happytown

Making Music Award: Emily Howard, Mesmerism for Piano and Chamber Orchestra

International Award: Thomas Larcher, Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra

The Awards were presented at a ceremony at Goldsmiths’ Hall which opened with a performance of Gareth Moorcraft’s Rondo – winner of the third Student Competition at the British Composer Awards – performed by members of Endymion.

On Wednesday 5 December the BASCA 10th Anniversary Concert will take place in the

Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London at 7.45pm

On Sunday 9 December the BBC Radio 3 Sunday Concert will feature the 2012 British Composer Awards at 2pm


BASCA, the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, is the professional association for music writers of all genres in the UK. With membership approaching 2,000, it is the single voice for British music creators.

BASCA works to foster a sense of community amongst songwriters, lyricists and composers, and to campaign on their behalf in the domestic, European and international political arenas. As the only association in the country made up entirely of music writers, the organisation has an unparalleled insight into the issues affecting music creators in the UK today. We work closely with our members, keeping them informed in a constantly changing environment via our publications, websites, seminars and professional networking events. BASCA also presents the Ivor Novello Awards, British Composer Awards and Gold Badge Awards annually.

Membership of BASCA is open to working songwriters who are members of a royalty collection society, such as PRS for Music, BMI or ASCAP.

Academy Fellows: John Adams, David Arnold, Malcolm Arnold, John Barry, Don Black, Pierre Boulez, John Dankworth, David Ferguson, George Fenton, Elton John, Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb, Robin Gibb, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Paul McCartney, Peter Maxwell Davies and Tim Rice.


PRS for Music represents the rights of 90,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK. As a not-for-profit organisation it ensures creators are paid whenever their music is played, performed or reproduced; championing the importance of copyright to protect and support the UK music industry. The UK has a proud tradition of creating wonderful music that is enjoyed the world over and PRS for Music has been supporting the creators of that music since 1914.

PRS for Music provides business and community groups with easy access to over 10m songs through its music licences. In an industry worth £3.8bn PRS for Music is uniquely placed to be a voice for music and music creators. Collecting £630.8m in 2011 PRS for Music is one of the world’s most efficient combined rights organisations. With 150 representation agreements in place globally, PRS for Music’s network represents over 2 million music creators.


BBC Radio 3 is the home of classical music. The station also broadcasts a wide range of cultural programming including jazz, world music, arts and over 30 new drama programmes a year. BBC Radio 3 features more live classical music programming than any other and is the home of the BBC Proms, broadcasting every Prom live and over 600 complete concerts a year. The station is also the most significant commissioner of new musical works in the country and is committed to supporting new talent, composers, writers and new young performers through schemes such as the World Routes Academy, New Generation Artists and New Generation Thinkers.