The Ivors Academy has announced the nominations for the 20th edition of the Ivors Composer Awards 2022, which celebrate the best new works by composers writing for classical, jazz and sound art. Composers nominated this year include both established and emerging names, with almost half first-time nominees.
The winners of these prestigious Ivor Novello Awards will be revealed on 15 November as part of a live ceremony taking place at the British Museum and introduced by BBC Radio 3 presenters Hannah Peel and Tom Service. The Ivors Composer Awards are supported by PRS for Music, which represents the rights of songwriters, composers, and music publishers in the UK and around the world.
BBC Radio 3 will broadcast the ceremony on 19 November in a special edition of the New Music Show, the station’s weekly programme dedicated to the latest cutting-edge and experimental new music. The episode will also be available on BBC Sounds.
This year’s nominees comprise 40 composers and 45 compositions across nine categories of classical, jazz and sound art. Some 46% of nominees were on the list for the first time, while four were nominated twice.
Tom Gray, chair of The Ivors Academy, commented: “I would like to congratulate every nominee and thank every composer that entered work for consideration. For 20 years The Ivors Composer Awards have recognised and celebrated the talent and artistry of composers in this country.
“An Ivor Novello Award is judged by fellow composers and recognition from our peers makes these awards so meaningful. We are determined to increase the voice and influence of composers over the next two decades so that we strengthen and grow as a community.”
The Ivors Composer Awards are open to UK-born composers or those usually working in the country. To qualify for the nominations, the works had to be premiered to UK audiences between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022. For the first time this included works on commercial recordings and live-streamed concerts.
The identity (name, gender, age, demographic) of each composer was removed from all materials given to the juries, which are made up of composers and music practitioners who anonymously reviewed all works entered for consideration.
There is plenty of operatic content among the nominees. This includes Louise Drewett’s Daylighting, a community opera which revolves around the River Tyburn, a now-underground tributary to the Thames, as flooding causes its waters to swell while also threatening a family home with devastating flooding.
The Selfish Giant by John Barber is a youth opera telling the tale of a giant, his garden and an equal share of paradise, based on a story by Oscar Wilde. Both operas are nominated in the Community and Participation category.
The Stage Works category includes John Wallace’s Opsnizing Dad, an opera looking at dementia and social care, and Witch by Freya Waley-Cohen, offering two visions of witchcraft four centuries apart.
In addition to the winners of nine nominated categories, three special awards recognising sustained contributions to music will also be presented at the awards ceremony. The Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Works Collection, presented in association with the Music Publishers Association, will celebrate an exceptional classical composer whose music demonstrates the highest degree of skill, impact and originality.
The Ivor Novello Award for Innovation, supported by the Musicians’ Union, acknowledges an innovative composer and musician whose creative practice inspires and influences successive generations. And finally, the evening will close with the presentation of an Academy Fellowship in recognition of excellence and impact in the art and craft of music creation.
Freya Waley-Cohen’s one-act opera Witch has been nominated for an Ivors Composer Award in the Stage Works category.