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Yazz Ahmed, Julian Joseph, Renell Shaw, Charlie Bates honoured at 2020 Ivors Composer Awards

Two of the three Special Awards at the Ivors Composer Awards (formerly the British Composer Awards)  on 1 December went to jazz musicians Yazz Ahmed (Award for Innovation) and Julian Joseph (Academy Fellow). As the picture shows, Yazz Ahmed’s Ivor award now sits proudly alongside the two JazzFM Awards she won on 27 October. This piece also contains short videos from or about the awardees: 

 

Photo credit: Noel Langley

Here are the details: 

– Yazz Ahmed was awarded the Ivor Novello Award for Innovation

– Julian Joseph OBE becomes 21st Academy Fellow, joining the likes of Kate Bush CBE, Sir Elton John and Sir Paul McCartney

In the category awards the jazz winners were:

– Renell Shaw’s work ‘The Vision They Had’ commissioned by the Vortex and dealing with themes from the Windrush Generation to climate change won the Jazz Composition for Small Ensemble

– Charlie Bates’s ‘Crepuscule’ won the Jazz Composition for Large Ensemble

The relevant sections of the Press Relase are here: LINK TO FULL PRESS RELEASE

Renell Shaw: Written to mark the occasion of National Windrush Day, Renell Shaw’s ‘The Vision They Had’ picked up the award for ‘Jazz Composition for Small Ensemble’. Commissioned by the Vortex Jazz Club, Shaw’s work included words and audio recordings from his grandparents who are members of the Windrush Generation. Renell said “when I was writing ‘The Vision They Had’ the goal was simple – tell my grandparents’ story authentically and honestly. I didn’t want to just talk about Caribbean people who’d come to England. I wanted to talk about the deeper stories. I wanted to talk about love and loss, triumph, adventure and success.” The judges commented that “this is a work for our time…personally and politically resonant with emotional dialogue, it is beautifully composed with historical audio sampling and interplay of music and spoken word.”

Charlie Bates: The ‘Jazz Composition for Large Ensemble’ category went to Charlie Bates for ‘Crepuscule’, which had its UK premiere last year with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. With this composition Charlie aimed to capture “the feeling of facing oncoming darkness, whilst clinging to the light that remains.” The judges thought the piece was “arresting and captivating from the start, its dramatic developments are strong, clear and well applied throughout.”

Yazz Ahmed: British-Bahraini trumpet player Yazz Ahmed is recognised for her approach to jazz composition with an Ivor Novello Award for Innovation. Yazz brings together the sounds of her mixed heritage through her music, explaining that “I hope that through my music I can bring people together, building bridges between cultures, and changing perceptions about women in jazz and people of Muslim heritage.” The Academy has recognised Ahmed for “her unique creative voice that smashes the boundaries between jazz and electronic sound design by drawing on her heritage to create intoxicating musical worlds.”

Julian Joseph: Genre-defying composer Julian Joseph OBE becomes an Academy Fellow, the Academy’s highest honour, in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to music in the UK. Julian is the 21st Academy Fellow, joining a prestigious list which includes Kate Bush CBE, Sir Elton John, Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. The Academy said, “We’re delighted to honour Julian for his incredible achievements in music as an educator and as a truly unique and exceptional voice in jazz and classical composition.”

THE IVORS COMPOSER AWARDS 2020 WINNERS – FULL LIST

CATEGORY AWARDS

CHAMBER ORCHESTRAL
GRIN by ROBIN HAIGH
for chamber orchestra

CHORAL
PIETÀ by RICHARD BLACKFORD
for mezzo soprano, baritone, SATB chorus, optional children’s chorus and string orchestra

COMMUNITY AND PARTICIPATION
MORE UP by OLIVER VIBRANS
for chamber orchestra and electronics

JAZZ COMPOSITION FOR LARGE ENSEMBLE
CREPUSCULE by CHARLIE BATES
for jazz orchestra

JAZZ COMPOSITION FOR SMALL ENSEMBLE
THE VISION THEY HAD by RENELL SHAW
for seven-piece band

LARGE CHAMBER
HONEY SIREN by OLIVER LEITH
for string ensemble

LARGE ORCHESTRAL
HORROR VACUI by JONNY GREENWOOD
for solo violin and 68 solo strings

SMALL CHAMBER
SIX MOVEMENTS by DANIEL FARDON
for string quartet

SOLO OR DUO
DIARIES OF THE EARLY WORM by GARETH MOORCRAFT
for solo alto recorder

SOUND ART
TWITTERING MACHINES by KATHY HINDE
bespoke vinyl, objects, live electronics, field recordings and video projections

STAGE WORKS
DENIS & KATYA by PHILIP VENABLES
opera: for mezzo soprano, baritone, four amplified cellos, tape and video, with libretto by Ted Huffman

SPECIAL AWARDS

ACADEMY FELLOWSHIP – JULIAN JOSEPH OBE

INNOVATION AWARD – YAZZ AHMED (video of Janine Irons and Gary Crosby who commissioned Polyhymnia)

OUTSTANDING WORKS COLLECTION – CECILIA MCDOWALL

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