Winners will be revealed in a live ceremony on 15 November at the British Museum

  • 45 works nominated for an Ivor Novello Award across nine categories of classical, jazz and sound art, including community projects and stage works
  • Thomas Adès, George Benjamin, Cecilia McDowall and Rebecca Saunders amongst those nominated
  • Nearly half of the shortlist are first-time nominees, including Lara Agar, Kristina Arakelyan, Laurence Osborn, Hannah Kendall and Freya Waley-Cohen
  • Robin Haigh, Joanna Marsh, Emily Peasgood and Alex Paxton are each nominated twice
  • BBC Radio 3 presenters Hannah Peel and Tom Service to host the live awards ceremony, which will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 19 November as part of the station’s New Music Show

The Ivors Academy have today [18 October] announced the nominations for the 20th edition of The Ivors Composer Awards 2022, which celebrate the best new works by composers writing for classical, jazz and sound art. The awards, formally known as the British Composer Awards, were launched in 2003 and take place annually. Composers nominated this year include both established and emerging names, with 46% first-time nominees.

The winners of these prestigious Ivor Novello Awards will be revealed on 15 November as part of a live awards ceremony taking place at the British Museum introduced by BBC Radio 3 presenters Hannah Peel and Tom Service. BBC Radio 3 will broadcast the ceremony on Saturday 19 November in a special edition of the New Music Show, the station’s weekly programme dedicated to the latest cutting-edge and experimental new music. The episode will also be available on BBC Sounds. The Ivors Composer Awards are supported by PRS for Music.

Tom Gray, Chair of The Ivors Academy, said: “I would like to congratulate every nominee and thank every composer that entered work for consideration. For twenty years The Ivors Composer Awards have recognised and celebrated the talent and artistry of composers in this country. An Ivor Novello Award is judged by fellow composers and recognition from our peers makes these awards so meaningful. We are determined to increase the voice and influence of composers over the next two decades so that we strengthen and grow as a community.”

Andrea Czapary Martin, CEO, PRS for Music, said: “The Ivors Composer Awards provides an unmatched platform that recognises excellence in the classical, jazz, and sound art communities. It is encouraging to see that almost 50% of those nominated are first time nominees, highlighting the flourishing creative talent we have in the UK. This is exactly why we are proud to have invested and supported the awards from the beginning and continue to pledge our support as the awards go beyond their 20th anniversary. Congratulations to all those nominated, we look forward to honouring the winners in November.”

Alan Davey, Controller BBC Radio 3 and classical music, said: “It is with great joy and pride that we renew our partnership with The Ivors Composer Awards this year, in their 20th edition – 20 years of putting a spotlight on some of the UK’s most imaginative composers. Giving our listeners across the country and around the world the opportunity to discover and appreciate new and experimental music is one of Radio 3’s core missions – as we present new work alongside familiar repertoire. That is why all of us who love classical and jazz music should get behind The Ivors Composer Awards as they give their precious support to this country’s brightest composing minds for many more years to come, so that creative exploration and innovation can keep the repertoire fresh for decades to come.”

Many of this year’s nominated works use music to reflect on human experiences. Una Lee’s Down Gone explores themes of racism and sexism, Liz Dilnot Johnson’s When a Child is a Witness – Requiem for Refugees commemorates children affected by war displacement, whilst Laurence Osborn’s Essential Relaxing Classical Hits is about self-destruction in the age of late capitalism and social media. Similarly, Hannah Conway’s The Sound Voice Project focuses on powerful stories of voice loss and identity, and John Wallace’s Opsnizing Dad looks at dementia and social care. Derri Joseph Lewis’ piece Something Exciting for National Youth Choirs of Great Britain reflects on themes of coming out as LGBTQ+.

The theme of the natural world and climate change is prominent in the nominated works, including Daylighting by Louise Drewett, Scenes from the Wild by Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Houses Slide by Laura Bowler, CORALe by Benjamin Graves, This Unquiet Autumn by Lara Agar, Beacons by Emily Peasgood, Natural World by Laurence Crane, Acts of Waves by Edmund Finnis and Birds of Paradise by Tori Freestone.

The Community and Participation category returns in 2022, this year presented in association with ABRSM. In addition to the winners of nine nominated categories, three special awards recognising sustained contributions to music will be presented on the night. The Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Works Collection, presented in association with the Music Publishers Association, will celebrate an exceptional classical composer whose music demonstrates the highest degree of skill, impact and originality. The Ivor Novello Award for Innovation, supported by the Musicians’ Union, acknowledges an innovative composer and musician whose creative practice inspires and influences successive generations. The evening will close with the presentation of an Academy Fellowship in recognition of excellence and impact in the art and craft of music creation.

As with previous years, the shortlist of nominated works highlights the importance of the commissioning process. Commissioners of this year’s nominated works include orchestras, festivals and individuals including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, BBC Singers, BBC Proms, Garsington Opera, Opera North, Oxford Lieder Festival, Juliet Fraser and many more.

In 2021 The Ivors Academy adjusted its definition of ‘first UK performance’ to include the appearance of works on a commercial recording – as long as the recording was the first time the work had been heard by the public – in addition to live streamed concerts available to UK viewers. The 2022 nominated works have been premiered across a variety of platforms, from commercial recordings to live streams on YouTube as well as concert performances all around the UK.

The identity (name, gender, age, demographic) of each composer was removed from all materials given to the juries, which are made up of composers and music practitioners who anonymously reviewed all works entered for consideration. All nominated works were premiered to UK audiences between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022 and were composed by a UK-born or ordinarily resident composer.