Encompassing some 180 works by more than 130 different composers, the list of nominations for the twelve categories of the 2005 British Composer Awards has grown for the third year running.
ìThe response to the Awards just gets better and better,î says Sarah Rodgers, Concert Chair of the British Academy of Composers & Songwriters. ìThe number of entries is up twenty per cent on 2004, so word has clearly got out about the British Composer Awards. This is a very exciting set of entries: contemporary composition in the UK is undoubtedly thriving.î
High-profile composers among the nominees include Harrison Birtwistle, Gavin Bryars, Peter Maxwell Davies, James MacMillan, Thea Musgrave, Michael Nyman, Roxanna Panufnik, John Tavener, Mark Anthony Turnage and Judith Weir.
ìMusicians in every context are acknowledging the value of the Awards,î continues Sarah Rodgers, ìand it's gratifying to see nominations coming in from orchestras, festivals and record labels. These are the people who are reaching large audiences and their ability to provide commissions is fundamental to the health of new music.î
Anyone can put forward a work for an award, entry is free and unpublished music is eligible. The democratic nature of the Awards, sponsored for the third time by the Performing Right Society, is further reinforced with the BBC Radio 3 Listeners Award. The premiËres of all seventeen works in contention were broadcast on Radio 3 between April 2004 and March 2005, and will be heard again on the network between 1 and 30 October 2005, with members of the public casting votes via the BBC website at www.bbc.co.uk/radio3.
The shortlisted composers for this yearís BBC Radio 3 Listeners Award are Richard Barrett, Judith Bingham, Harrison Birtwistle, Gavin Bryars, John Casken, Christopher Fox, Dai Fujikura, Philip Grange, Simon Holt, Nicola LeFanu, Gerard McBurney, James MacMillan, Colin Matthews, Rebecca Saunders, Howard Skempton, Joby Talbot and Errollyn Wallen. Last yearís winner, 27-year old Luke Bedford, will receive a Radio 3 performance of Rode with Darkness, originally premiered by Mark Elder and the HallÈ in 2004.
The juries for this yearís Awards will shortlist up to three works in each of the eleven remaining categories, and these will be announced on November 4th at the Barbican before Pierre Boulezís 80th Birthday Concert with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. The Awards themselves will be presented on December 9th at a ceremony taking place for a second consecutive year at Ironmongersí Hall in London, followed by a concert by the BBC Singers at St Gilesí, Cripplegate when some of the winning works from the first three years of the Awards will be included in the programme. Both the Awards and the concert will be broadcast in a special three-hour long programme on BBC Radio 3 on the following Monday, December 12th.
With the judging process now in full swing, Sarah Rodgers is anticipating some interesting results: ìThe calibre of entries for the 2005 Awards is giving the juries plenty to get their teeth into and I have no doubt we will continue to see new talent emerging.î


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