Tansy Davies has received the 2023 Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Works Collection, in recognition of an exceptional body of work. The ceremony took place on 14 November at BFI Southbank and was broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s New Music Show – listen here.
Colin Currie, an acclaimed performer of Davies’ music, presented the award. In a tribute to the composer, the percussionist remarked on an “uncanny ability to reconcile the edgier elements of pop and funk into vastly ambitious and immensely satisfying structures of truly classical sensibilities”, and praised Davies’ “self-taught style, originality and resilience”. Currie described a “landscape [that] is broad, occasionally bleak, yet always beguiling”, calling her Dark Ground for solo percussion “taut, chic and yet oddly fragile.”
Recent performances of note include the North American premiere of Plumes from Gustavo Gimeno and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Chinese premiere of grind show (unplugged) from the London Sinfonietta in Beijing. In January 2024 the Sinfonietta perform Iris for soprano saxophone and ensemble at their 55th birthday anniversary concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Spring 2024 will see the premiere of Canopies of Liquid Light, a 22-minute ensemble work for Asko|Schönberg at Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ in April, as well as new songs for Ema Nikolovska and Joseph Middleton for Leeds Lieder.
Other Faber Music composers celebrated at the awards included Thomas Adès, who received the Best Chamber Ensemble Composition prize for his song cycle Növények. It is Adès’ third Ivor Novello Award, and fifth award from The Ivors Academy. The 17-minute piece was premiered by mezzo-soprano Katalin Károlyi, the Ruisi Quartet, Graham Mitchell (double bass) and Joseph Havlat (piano) at Wigmore Hall in 2022. Matthew Herbert, a DJ, sound artist, and producer represented by Manners McDade, received this year’s Innovation Award, in recognition of his pioneering work in electronic music and his experimental use of unconventional sounds as instrumentation. Tom Coult’s debut chamber opera Violet, which premiered at the 2022 Aldeburgh Festival, was nominated in the Best Stage Work category.