British Composer Awards 2016 Shortlist Unveiled

Thirty-four composers have been shortlisted for this year’s British Composer Awards, spanning 33 works across 11 categories, it was revealed today.

British Composer Awards logo
  • More Women Nominated than Ever Before & Fifth of Nominees Born Overseas
  • 21st Century Composers Increasingly Inspired by Science and Technology
  • New for 2016: Anonymous Judging, and Gift of BASCA Awards

The 2016 shortlist highlights the diversity and vibrancy of the UK’s music community, with 20 per cent of composers born overseas, 38 per cent of nominees being women – the highest numbers in the Awards’ history – and 50 per cent of the shortlist being first time nominees.

The shortlist reveals that today’s leading composers are increasingly taking inspiration from science, engaging with technology, and blurring artistic boundaries.


This year BASCA introduced a number of changes to the submissions and judging process to ensure the British Composer Awards is representative of the wealth and diversity of talent here in the UK. The resulting shortlist announced today is a great snapshot of the creative expression that is contemporary classical, jazz and sonic art. Add to this our two new awards, the recipients of which will be announced at the ceremony, and the 2016 British Composer Awards promises to be a great night. Congratulations to everyone shortlisted today.

Crispin Hunt, Chairman at BASCA

Celebrating the art of composition and showcasing the creative talent of contemporary composers and sound artists, the British Composer Awards are presented by BASCA and sponsored by PRS for Music; in association with BBC Radio 3 providing exclusive broadcast coverage of the Awards.

Composers taking inspiration from science and technology include: Eduardo Reck Miranda, whose piece ‘Activating Memory’ used a Brain-Computer Music Interface instrument – Miranda’s own invention – to enable motor-impaired participants to compose music by detecting electrical brain signals; Emily Howard, whose Small Chamber shortlisted work, ‘Afference’ explores the neural workings of the brain; and Fumiko Miyachi, whose ‘Au79’ is part of a series of works inspired by the periodic table.

Meanwhile, shortlisted composers blurring the boundaries between music and other art forms include: Jennifer Walshe and Brian Irvine whose piece ‘13 Vices’ dissolves the boundaries between music, performance and poetry; Hanna Tuulikki, whose ‘SING SIGN: a close duet’ weaves together spoken word, British Sign Language and architecture; and Sorana Santos, whose ‘Our Lady of Stars | Book of Hours’ explores the relationship between the written and audible languages of music and literature.


Once again we have an outstanding shortlist of innovative composers whose works have been submitted for the British Composer Awards 2016. We at PRS for Music congratulate BASCA for continuing to champion the diversity, originality and excellence of our contemporary composer community and are delighted to continue sponsoring this wonderful event.

Guy Fletcher, Chairman at PRS for Music

For the first time, this year entries were judged anonymously for all categories apart from Community or Educational Project, Sonic Art and Stage Works – where the presence of the composer is often integral to the performance itself – and works could be submitted by the composers themselves. In addition, the British Composer Awards will be launching two new Gift of BASCA awards this year: the British Composer Award for Innovation and the British Composer Award for Inspiration, with each category recognising the entire body of work of a composer to date.


Since BBC Radio 3 began broadcasting as the Third Programme, 70 years ago, the station has always sought to champion new works and composer talent. We’re really pleased to be able to connect our millions of listeners to all the new work that is championed within the British Composer Awards. It’s a treasure trove of discovery and it’s encouraging to see the evolving diversity and continuing excellence of the Awards, with more female composers, as we work together as an industry to address diversity in classical composition. Congratulations and good luck to all who are shortlisted.

Alan Davey, Controller at BBC Radio 3, BBC Proms and BBC Performing Groups

BBC Radio 3 will broadcast exclusive coverage of the Awards on Hear and Now on Saturday 10 December.

The winners in each category will be announced at the British Film Institute (BFI) on Tuesday 6 December 2016.

2016 British Composer Awards Shortlist

Amateur or Young Performers

  • I am, I say by Kate Whitley
  • In Sea-Cold Lyonesse by John Pickard
  • The Monster in the Maze by Jonathan Dove

Chamber Ensemble

  • 13 Vices by Brian Irvine and Jennifer Walshe
  • Chamber Symphony No. 2 ‘The Australian’ by Laurence Crane
  • Freezywater by Leo Chadburn


  • Ave Verum Corpus Re-Imagined by Roderick Williams
  • Noli Pater by James MacMillan
  • When Time is Broke by Cecilia McDowall

Community or Educational Project

  • Activating Memory by Eduardo Reck Miranda
  • Brass Roots; Musical Wings by Lucy Pankhurst
  • Into the Light by John Webb

Contemporary Jazz Composition

  • Karembeu's Guide to the Complete Defensive Midfielder by Joe Cutler
  • Our Lady of Stars | Book of Hours by Sorana Santos
  • With One Voice by Mark Lockheart


  • Alba by Rebecca Saunders
  • Instability by Luke Bedford
  • Smatter Hauler by Anna Meredith

Small Chamber

  • A Day at the Spa by Oliver Leith
  • Afference by Emily Howard
  • Modus Triplex by Alex Nikiporenko

Solo or Duo

  • Ampelos by Martin Iddon
  • Five Memos by Mark Bowden
  • Misplaced Time Refound by Richard Whalley

Sonic Art

  • SING SIGN: a close duet by Hanna Tuulikki
  • Sonorama by Claudia Molitor
  • Tree Radio by Magz Hall

Stage Works

  • Between Worlds by Tansy Davies
  • Nothing by David Bruce
  • The Cure by Harrison Birtwistle

Wind Band or Brass Band

  • A Richer Dust by Nigel Clarke
  • Au79 by Fumiko Miyachi
  • Just a Vibration by Shri Sriram


BASCA is the voice for music writers; the independent professional association representing music writers in all genres, from songwriting, through to media, contemporary classical and jazz and can trace our history back over 70 years. Whilst we are well known for putting on the British Composer Awards, the Gold Badge Awards and The Ivors every year, there is far more to us than these events.

BASCA campaigns in the UK, Europe and throughout the world in order to protect the professional interests of our members. We count on the best songwriting and composing talent in order to do this important work and are entirely self-funding, relying on the continuing support of our members, who include Paul McCartney, Dizzee Rascal, Michael Nyman, Gary Barlow, David Arnold, Elton John, Imogen Heap, Howard Goodall, John Powell, Kate Bush, Chris Martin, and many more.

About BBC Radio 3

Since it launched in 1946, the Third Programme/ BBC Radio 3 has been a bold pioneer in the cultural world. It is one of the world’s foremost presenters, creators, commissioners and curators across classical, folk, world, jazz and contemporary music as well as drama, philosophy and ideas. The station is also the most significant commissioner of new and contemporary music in the UK, with 35 new works commissioned annually and broadcasts over 600 concerts a year, including live broadcasts from the greatest classical music festival in the world (BBC Proms). Radio 3’s In Concert programme alone reaches the equivalent of 250 packed concert halls a week, and the BBC Performing Groups give around 400 concerts a year in over 60 UK locations. The station has always nurtured extraordinary artistic talents, provided a platform for important scientific and political debates/announcements, and broadcast ground-breaking experimental drama – always while delivering its core aim of connecting audiences with pioneering music and culture.

About PRS for Music

Here for music since 1914, PRS for Music is a world-leading music collective management organisation representing the rights of more than 175,000 talented songwriters, composers and music publishers. Redefining the global standard for music royalties, PRS for Music ensures songwriters and composers are paid whenever their musical compositions and songs are streamed, downloaded, broadcast, performed and played in public. 

For 110 years it has grown and protected the rights of the music creator community, paying out royalties with more accuracy, transparency and speed. In 2023, PRS for Music paid out £943.6m in royalties and collected a record £1.08 billion in revenues.

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