The shortlists for the 2017 British Composer Awards (BCA) have been announced. This year's line-up features thirty composers and 33 works in 11 categories, from Solo to Stage Work, Wind Band to Contemporary Jazz.
Just four years after the annual competition caused a stir when all its winners were men, women make up 42 per cent of the shortlist. Half of the nominees are under the age of 40, and half of the shortlisted composers have been nominated for the first time.
This is the second year that the shortlists have been judged anonymously – with the exception of the Sonic Art, Community or Educational Project and Stage Works categories – and that composers, rather than publishers, have been able to submit their own pieces. It's also been the BCA's most popular year, with entries up 18.5 per cent.
Composers Sally Beamish, Emily Peasgood and Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian have all been nominated twice. For the first time in the competition's 14-year history, the Orchestral category features an all-female shortlist, with pieces by Helen Grime, Tansy Davies and Emily Howard.
Followers of the Awards may also notice that a familiar name is absent from the shortlists. Sir Harrison Birtwistle is the BCA's most-awarded composer, with seven wins to date as well as 14 nominations, but doesn't appear this year. However, his late contemporary Sir Peter Maxwell Davies has been honoured posthumously for his community opera The Hogboon, written in the last year of his life.
'The works nominated here speak to politics, ecology, art and history and somehow manage to distil the disorder about is into form,' says Crispin Hunt, chairman of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. '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 winners will be announced at a ceremony on 6 December 2017.
The shortlist in full:
Amateur or Young Performers
The Feast That Went Off With A Bang by Ed Hughes
The Hogboon by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
Who We Are by Kerry Andrew
Khadambi’s House by Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian
Skin by Rebecca Saunders
The wreck of former boundaries by Aaron Cassidy
Affix Stamp Here by Leo Chadburn
Proclamation of the Republic by Andrew Hamilton
The Temptations of Christ by Barnaby Martin
Community or Educational Project
Anything but Bland by Brian Irvine
BIRDS and other Stories by Emily Peasgood
Crossing Over by Emily Peasgood
Contemporary Jazz Composition
Loop Concerto for jazz trio & large ensemble by Benjamin Oliver
Muted Lines by Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian
You Are My World by Robert Mitchell
Forest by Tansy Davies
Torus (Concerto for Orchestra) by Emily Howard
Two Eardley Pictures by Helen Grime
In Feyre Foreste by Robin Haigh
Omloop Het Ives by Laurence Crane
Tuvan Songbook by Christian Mason
Solo or Duo
Inside Colour by Deborah Pritchard
Merula Perpetua by Sally Beamish
Piano Sonata No. 2 by Stuart MacRae
cloud-cuckoo-island by Hanna Tuulikki
Luminous Birds by Kathy Hinde
Untitled Valley of Fear by Sam Salem
4.48 Psychosis by Philip Venables
Empty Hand, Peaceful Mind by Ben Gaunt
The Tempest by Sally Beamish
Wind Band or Brass Band
Anemoi by Joseph Davies
Four Études by Edward Gregson
In Ictu Oculi by Kenneth Hesketh