NEWS: Shabaka Hutchings and Pat Thomas win 2014 Paul Hamlyn Composer Awards

Pat Thomas. Photo credit: Siobhan Bradshaw

Paul Hamlyn Foundation has announced the three winners of its Awards for Composers 2014, which are now in their 20th year: 

Martin Green

Shabaka Hutchings

Pat Thomas

Each award consists of £50,000 spread over three years, so these awards are the largest individual awards made to visual artists and composers in the UK. “The awards are made with no obligations or conditions as to how the money is used. The gift is intended to give artists the time and freedom to develop their creative ideas and to further their personal and professional growth.” MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE AWARDS

The judges have a very different bias from last year’s panel chaired by Jonathan Reekie. This year’ judges were Joanna MacGregor, OBE (Chair), Eliza Carthy, Folk musician, Hamish Dunbar of Cafe Oto, journalist Kevin LeGendre and Alasdair Nicolson, Director of the Bath Festival.


Martin Green (b.1977) writes music and plays the accordion, and anything with knobs on that you can plug into the mains. The traditional music he grew up with is at the core of his approach, as is the use of live electronics. His interest is in taking the power he finds in traditional music into new contexts and settings. Much of Green’s compositional output of the last few years has been with the folk trio Lau, with whom he has written works for many collaborators including Northern Sinfonia and Elysian Quartet. Since moving in 2004, he has become a mainstay of both the traditional music scene and Edinburgh’s unique jazz/folk crossover music. Crossover projects have also included travelling to Canada with folk big band The Unusual Suspects and touring in Europe with Salsa Celtica. Green lives in Pathhead near Edinburgh

 Shabaka Hutchings (b. 1984) plays the saxophone and clarinet. He is a band leader and composer and part of London’s community of younger jazz musicians as well as the city’s thriving improvised music scene. As part of the Caribbean diaspora, he sees his role as that of pushing the boundaries of what musical elements people consider to be Caribbean. Hutchings has shared the stage with many top jazz musicians and ensembles, but his primary project is the group Sons of Kemet, which last year won the 2013 MOBO Award for Jazz Act of the Year. In June 2014 Shabaka was invited to join the Sun Ra Arkestra, performing with them and recording a session for BBC Radio 3. Hutchings lives in London.

 Pat Thomas (b. 1960) has been involved with some of the leading practitioners in creative music, whether that music be composed or improvised, for over 30 years. He has developed a personal vocabulary on the piano, as well as a personal approach to electronics particularly, in the use of interactive playing with computers in a real time setting. In composition he has developed a personal pedagogy, enabling him to utilize the skills of improvisers to create new works in real time, through hand signals. Thomas was born in 1960 and studied classical piano from aged 8. He started playing Jazz from the age of 16 after seeing legendary pianist Oscar Peterson on television. By 1979, Thomas was performing seriously as an improviser. His experimental leanings manifested themselves in the form of electronics — he plays and programs electronic keyboards and uses pre-recorded tapes in his music. He has since gone on to develop an utterly unique style – embracing improvisation, jazz and new music. Thomas is based in Oxford.

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