conor mitchell

Nominations for The Ivors Composer Awards 2020 announced

Many nominated works tackle the turbulence of our times as composers address issues around climate change, Brexit, the Windrush Generation, universal suffrage, bird conservation, nuclear proliferation, and homophobia in Northern Ireland.

Maya Radcliffe
  • By Maya Radcliffe
  • 3 Nov 2020
  • min read

The Ivors Academy has today announced the nominations for The Ivors Composer Awards 2020.

The Awards are designed to recognise creative excellence in classical, jazz and sound arts.

Recognised as a pinnacle of achievement since they were first presented in 1956, an Ivor Novello Award represents peer recognition with categories judged by those within the UK music creator community. The Ivors Academy presents awards twice a year to honour and celebrate exceptional songwriting and composing.

This year’s winners will be revealed on 1 December as part of a two-hour ceremony broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

The works nominated demonstrate the wide diversity of settings, styles and themes of contemporary music being composed in the UK. The theme of protest is seen throughout a number of this year’s nominated works, exploring topics such as climate change (Rachel Portman’s Earth Song set to words by Greta Thunberg), the fight for universal suffrage (Emily Howard’s The Anvil), the homophobic rhetoric of the DUP in Northern Ireland (Conor Mitchell’s Abomination, a DUP opera), the Windrush Generation (Renell Shaw’s The Vision They Had), Brexit (Alex Hitchcock’s Calvados), bird conservation (Kathy Hinde’s Twittering Machines) and nuclear proliferation (Caroline Devine’s On Common Ground).

Gary Carpenter, chair, The Ivors Academy’s Awards Committee, said: ‘The works nominated for this year's Composer Awards perfectly illustrate how contemporary classical, jazz and sound arts respond to the world around us and shape our understanding of the contradictions, uncertainties and hopes that create the fabric of our lives. On behalf of music creators and The Ivors Academy I would like to congratulate all nominees on their achievement. As our world feels increasingly uncertain, we must treasure what makes life so wonderful – music, inspiration and escape.’

Andrea C. Martin, chief executive, PRS for Music, said: ‘We are proud to continue our support of The Ivors Composer Awards. Without question, this year has been incredibly difficult for our industry.

‘While the classical community has faced its own unique challenges in recent months, the vitality of your compositions has remained a constant in our lives.

‘Retaining their ability to truly inspire, move and affect emotion. Congratulations to all the nominees, especially those nominated for the first time, and we look forward to honouring the winners in December.’

Alan Davey, controller, BBC Radio 3, said: ‘One of our main commitments here at BBC Radio 3 is to put a spotlight on contemporary composers, supporting their work and giving audiences the chance to discover it. This is true in normal times, but it is much more relevant at the moment – while the careers of so many performers and composers are challenged due to the pandemic.

‘We are therefore delighted to host The Ivors Composer Awards as a broadcast only ceremony on our airwaves, broadcasting all this amazing new music, and showcasing the brightest and most creative musical minds on our vital contemporary UK music scene.’

View the full list of nominees.