Julian Anderson’s Symphony was voted Best Orchestral Work at the 2004 British Composer Awards held in London on 17 December.
From a final shortlist of three works, Anderson’s 18-minute composition held off stiff competition from both Joseph Phibbs’s Lumina (also published by Faber Music) and Harrison Birtwistle’s Theseus Game, to win first prize at the ceremony held in the Ironmongers’ Hall near to the Barbican Centre. The distinguished cellist Julian Lloyd Webber presented the award.
The judges' citation read:
"A real symphony from a composer with a crystalline vision of what he wants to write in command of a masterful craft to achieve it."
Symphony, was inspired by a painting by the Finn Akseli Gallen-Kallela, 'Morning by a Lake'. The orchestra begins in near silence and ends in a massive eruption of brass. Inbetween lies some of the composer's most inventive and evocative orchestral music. It was commissioned as part of Anderson’s ongoing residency with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and was premiered by them and their Music Director Sakari Oramo in Warwick and Birmingham in December 2003.
Oramo will give the Finnish premiere of Symphony as part of Helsinki’s Musica Nova festival on 9 March 2005, part of a Finnish Radio SO concert. The programme also includes Jonathan Harvey’s orchestral song cycle White as Jasmine. Over 30 works from the Faber catalogue will be performed at the festival including Anderson’s own The Bird Sings with its Fingers and Four American Choruses on Gospel Texts.