Ivors Composor Awards

The Ivors Composer Awards 2021 winners ‚Äčannounced

Six of the winners won their first Ivor Novello Award, highlighting a fresh and vibrant year for the UK composing scene.

Jamie MacMillan
  • By Jamie MacMillan
  • 9 Dec 2021
  • min read

Last night (8 December), The Ivors Academy revealed the winners of 10 Ivor Novello Awards as part of the Ivors Composer Awards 2021 in a celebration of music by composers writing for classsical, jazz and sound art.

The winners were announced during a ceremony hosted by BBC Radio 3’s Tom Service and Sara Mohr-Pietsch.

The awards, supported by PRS for Music, were presented to ten composers – with six of them winning for the first time in a range of categories covering jazz, classical and sound art compositions.

Anna Thorvaldsdottir picked up an award for Large Scale Composition for CATAMORPHOSIS, a work that explores the 'fragile relationship between humankind and the planet,' with the jury commenting that the piece was a “a wonderfully distinct and exquisitely curated sound world.'

The Jazz Composition award went to Nikki Iles for her work The Caged Bird. Iles wrote the piece during the early stages of the UK lockdown in 2020 when her work and new collaborations were cancelled. She explains that “the whole process of writing this piece was the start of re-connecting me to my music and it gently evolved, reflecting my journey through this time”. The Ivors Academy jury for this category referred to the piece as 'beautifully crafted, balanced and realised.'

The youngest award-winner this year is 32-year-old Alex Paxton, who was nominated for three works and was awarded the Small Chamber Composition award for his work ‘Sometimes Voices’, commissioned and premiered by Hyper Duo.

In addition to the six category winners, four composers were awarded Gift of the Academy awards from the Ivors Academy. Alexander Goehr was awarded an Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Works Collection, recognising his achievements across a career spanning seven decades.

MOBO Award winning jazz composer and pianist Zoe Rahman was recognised with the Impact Award. Throughout her career, she has infused influences from her English, Irish and Bengali heritage to write music with swing, lyricism, energy, and intimacy. Her sound is drenched with originality and a jazz legitimacy that recognises her pedigree as a world class artist, composer, and performer. The Ivors Academy described Rahman as 'one of Britain’s most powerful compositional voices and important contemporary artists who puts a spotlight on Jazz from the UK as an international musical force.'

Andrea Martin, chief executive, PRS for Music, said: 'Congratulations to all of the winners at this year’s Ivors Composer Awards. The resilience of the classical, jazz, and sound art communities throughout the pandemic has been inspirational, and we look forward to enjoying their remarkable work in the live setting when it is safe to do so. I am also proud to say that five of this year’s winners have received support through our charity partner, PRS Foundation. The Ivors Composer Awards shine a light on the excellence these communities have to offer, and we wish the winners every continued success in their careers.'

Julian Joseph OBE, chair of The Ivors Academy’s Awards Committee and Fellow of the Academy, said: 'Every Ivor Novello awarded tonight goes from composers and performers to their peers, it’s what makes each one so distinct and special. I’m honoured to be part of recognising the artistry, imagination and determination that goes into creating such wonderful music and soundscapes. Our winners’ achievements fill me with huge admiration and respect and I wish them all my fullest congratulations.'

See the full list of winners.

BBC Radio 3 will broadcast the ceremony in a special edition of the New Music Show on 11 December at 10pm, which will also be available on BBC Sounds.