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Issue 5959

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Edward Gregson among BASCA nominees

Wednesday 8 November, 2017

Those in the running for Britain’s foremost contemporary composers awards have been revealed, with 39 composers nominated, including Edward Gregson for his work for brass band, Four Études, for the British Composer Awards, spanning 33 works across 11 categories. From a community project exploring the refugee crisis and featuring Donald Trump quotes, to a work examining societal perceptions of women through the metaphor of birds, to a composition calling on humankind to re-programme its attitude towards the natural world by giving nature a musical voice, the 2017 nominations underline the many ways in which contemporary composers are using music to engage in current affairs.

The 2017 nominations highlight the UK’s thriving contemporary music scene, with a record number of entries received this year (up by 18.5 per cent in 2016). The number of young composers nominated increased by 16 per cent, with 46 per cent of nominees under the age of 40, and the number of women nominated has continued to increase year on year, with women making up 42 per cent of the shortlist. Half of the composers are first-time nominees.

Crispin Hunt, Chairman of the British Association of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA), said: “Britain is home to a flourishing and bold community of enlightened and reformist contemporary composers, whose work continues to accelerate music’s role in society. The works nominated here speak to politics, ecology, art and history and somehow manage to distil the disorder about us into form. It’s inspiring to note a significant uplift in submissions this year, especially to see so many first-time nominees and young composers shortlisted - further testimony to the pioneering musical spirit of today.”

The works shortlisted in the Wind Band or Brass Band category are Anemoi by Joseph Davies, Four Études by Edward Gregson and In Ictu Oculi by Kenneth Hesketh. The winners will be announced at the 15th British Composer Awards at the British Museum, London on Wednesday 6 December.