The Ivors Academy last night [15 November] revealed the winners of 12 Ivor Novello Awards at the 20th edition of The Ivors Composer Awards, celebrating the best new music in classical, jazz and sound art. The winners were announced during a ceremony hosted by BBC Radio 3’s Hannah Peel and Tom Service at the British Museum.
Three composers, Sir George Benjamin, Judith Weir and Talvin Singh, were recognised with special Ivor Novello Awards for their innovation, influence and legacy.
Considered as one of the most important voices in contemporary music, Sir George Benjamin received the Award for Outstanding Works Collection. Recent retrospectives of his work have taken place in San Francisco, Frankfurt, Toronto, Turin, New York and Paris.
Judith Weir (below) was honoured with Fellowship of The Ivors Academy, the highest accolade it bestows. A composer with a distinctive and persuasive voice, Judith Weir succeeded Sir Peter Maxwell Davies in 2014 as Master of the Queen’s Music. The first woman to hold this role, she composed pieces for the late Queen’s 90th birthday and Platinum Jubilee, as well as Her Majesty’s state funeral.
The Award for Innovation was presented to Talvin Singh. A virtuoso tabla player and percussionist, producer and composer, Singh is “a unique, original and deeply influential creative force”.
Winning works were premiered at some of the UK’s leading venues and festivals. Liz Dilnot Johnson’s requiem for refugees was performed at Coventry Cathedral as part of the 2021 UK City of Culture celebrations and Southwark Cathedral hosted Cheryl Frances-Hoad’s winning work, commissioned to mark the 50th anniversary of the City of London Sinfonia. The Southbank Centre’s new music festival SoundState premiered the Orchestral winner and Oxford’s world class Leider Festival premiered two winning pieces.
EFG London Jazz Festival, Britten Pears’ Festival and voces8 foundation’s Live from London Summer Festival premiered the Jazz, Sound Art and Choral winners. And the Stage Works category returned, won this year by Thomas Adès for the Wayne McGregor and Royal Ballet project Dante, at the Royal Opera House, London.
Tom Gray, Chair of The Ivors Academy said, “A hearty congratulations to all our winners, who have been recognised for their incredible achievements in composition. The range of innovation and level of accomplishments make this an outstanding year. We have proudly celebrated creative excellence in composing for the past twenty years and thank PRS for Music and BBC Radio 3 for supporting us since the start.”
Alan Davey, BBC Radio 3 Controller, said: “Congratulations to all the winners of The Ivors Composer Awards in their 20th edition. Tonight marked 20 years of celebrating and supporting some of the UK’s most innovative composers. We are grateful to The Ivors for putting a spotlight on these talents, as encouraging creative exploration and pushing boundaries is vital for the future of the music industry. It is the only way to keep music alive and thriving and to attract new audiences who have a sense of exploration and adventure. Radio 3 absolutely shares these ambitions, as we strive to give our listeners across the country and around the world the opportunity to discover and appreciate new and experimental music, alongside the familiar repertoire. We are proud of our partnership with The Ivors Academy and we hope we can renew our collaboration for many more years to come!”
The Ivors Composer Awards are supported by PRS for Music. BBC Radio 3 broadcast the ceremony in a special edition of the New Music Show, which is available on BBC Sounds. The Community and Participation category was presented in association with ABRSM, the Award for Outstanding Works Collection with the Music Publishers Association and the Award for Innovation was presented with the Musicians’ Union.
Ivor Novello Awards are judged by fellow composers and music creators for creative excellence. The jury included 48 composers and practitioners from across the classical, jazz and sound art community who judged the nine nominated categories, and the Academy special awards were decided by The Ivors Academy Awards Committee. The Ivors Composer Awards (formerly known as British Composer Awards) were first awarded in 2003.