Rhinegold Photo credit: Stephen Cummiskey
Philip Venables' 4.48 Psychosis

Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

Winners of 2017 British Composer Awards announced

9:38, 7th December 2017

A work exploring the experience of clinical depression and a piece paying tribute to Lilian Bland are among the winners of the British Composer Awards.

Thirteen composers were honoured at the award ceremony, which took place at the British Museum on 6 December. The winning works represent the best contemporary composition to premiere in the UK in the year leading up to 31 March 2017.

Women accounted for more than half the winners, and 70% of those to receive awards are first-time winners; these included Andrew Hamilton, who won the choral category for his setting of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, and Deborah Pritchard, who won the solo/duo category for her synaesthetic response to the aurora.

A number of composers added additional British Composer Awards to their collections: Brian Irvine and Emily Howard received their second awards, Rebecca Saunders her third, and Kerry Andrew her fourth.

British Composer Awards were also presented to two composers in recognition of their innovation in new music and influence and inspirational career.

Composer, researcher and turntablist Shiva Feshareki was presented with the British Composer Award for Innovation. The experimental composer’s work explores the physicality of sound in relation to light, perspective, movement and sculpture.

Nigel Osborne MBE was presented with the British Composer Award for Inspiration (in association with the Music Publishers Association). A prolific and influential composer, Osborne was Reid Professor of Music at Edinburgh University for 22 years and has pioneered methods of using music and the creative arts to support children who are victims of conflict. 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.

Basca chair Crispin Hunt 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 Radio 3 providing exclusive broadcast coverage. A programme dedicated to the Awards will be broadcast on Radio 3 on 10 December from 7.30pm.

2017 British Composer Awards Winners:

Amateur or Young Performers
Who We Are by Kerry Andrew

Chamber Ensemble
Skin by Rebecca Saunders

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

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 
Nigel Osborne MBE


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