In 2003, The Ivors Academy (then known as BASCA) created the British Composer Awards, the only dedicated awards celebrating creative excellence by UK classical composers.

As the professional association for the UK’s songwriters and composers, the aim was to create a moment of impact that shone a light on the incredible talent and innovation demonstrated by living composers in this country. Building on the Academy’s legacy of presenting Ivor Novello Awards since 1957, a British Composer Awards represented peer recognition with submissions judged by composers and practitioners across the new music community.

Sound Art was brought into the awards and in 2009 contemporary jazz composition was recognised.

In 2019, alongside the Academy’s rebrand, the British Composer Awards became The Ivors Composer Awards. This evolution brought the Academy’s celebration of classical, jazz and sound art into its annual presentation of Ivor Novello Awards.

Together with our sponsor, PRS for Music, and in association with BBC Radio 3, for twenty years we have continued to celebrate the creative talent of composers and to promote the art of composition.

Over the past twenty years more than 700 works by over 350 composers have been nominated, and nearly 240 awards have been presented.

The first British Composer Awards were presented on Thursday 18th December 2003 at the Barbican Centre in London. Eleven awards were presented and notable winners included Helen Grime, Jocelyn Pook, James Dillon and the late Jonathan Harvey.

The most recognised composer is the late Sir Harrison Birtwistle who collected 8 awards and composed a further 8 nominated works. Judith Bingham, who celebrated her 70th birthday earlier this year, is the second most honoured with four awards and a further five nominations. Closely followed by Julian Anderson with four awards and four nominations. Rebecca Saunders, Kerry Andrew and Michael Finnissy have also received four awards since 2003.

The 20th Ivors Composer Awards take place on Tuesday 15th November at the British Museum in London. Sponsored by PRS for Music the awards ceremony is in association with BBC Radio 3 who will broadcast an exclusive edition of the New Music Show dedicated to the awards on Saturday 18th November from 10pm.

Nominated categories will recognise new music premiered to UK audiences between 1St April 2021 and 31st March 2022 for Small Chamber, Chamber Ensemble, Large Ensemble, Orchestral and Choral settings, Jazz, Community and Participation projects and Sound Art will also be celebrated.

In addition an Academy Fellowship will be presented along with Ivors for Outstanding Works Collection and Innovation, all celebrating sustained contributions by leading composers in their field.


Tuesday 18th October, Nominations announced

Tuesday 15th November, The Ivors Composer Awards, British Museum, London

For more information visit www.ivorsacademy.com or follow @IvorsAcademy #TheIvorsComposerAwards