British Composer Awards 2018 Nominees Announced

37 nominated contemporary composers from the UK have been announced today The Awards celebrate the work of British composers


The nominees for this year’s British Composer Awards have been announced, with the best new works by Britain’s contemporary composers selected across 12 categories including orchestral, jazz, sonic art, stage works and wind or brass band. 


This year's nominees were chosen from a total of 560 submissions, a record-breaking number. The entrants were judged anonymously for the first time. 

Recent compositions by Oliver Knussen, Judith Weir, Harrison Birtwistle, Graham Fitkin and Thomas Adès have been selected as nominees.

Works in the list taking inspiration from poetry and other artforms include a piece by Roxanna Panufnik, which draws on world music and Indian poetry, and a reimagining by Dee Isaacs of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 1834 poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner to consider the role of refugees in the world today.

Marginalised voices have been given a platform by several compositions shortlisted in this year's British Composer Awards, including a piece composed for disabled performers by Oliver Searle and Liam Taylor-West, a work to be performed by an orchestra in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction by Conall Gleeson.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony at the British Museum in London on Tuesday 4 December. It will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 at 9pm on Sunday 9 December.

The full list of nominees are below:

Amateur or Young Performers
Works for voluntary, amateur or youth choirs and ensembles

  • Fiery Tales by Richard Bullen
  • Microscopic Dances by Oliver Searle
  • The Caretaker's Guide to the Orchestra by Jeremy Holland-Smith

Chamber Ensemble
Six or more instruments or voices written for one player or voice per part

  • Libro di fiammelle e ombre by James Weeks
  • O Hototogisu! by Oliver Knussen
  • Tanz/haus : triptych 2017 by James Dillon 

A cappella or accompanied, except works for choir and orchestra

  • In the Land of Uz by Judith Weir
  • Mielo by Raymond Yiu
  • Unending Love by Roxanna Panufnik

Community or Educational Project
Works demonstrating a composer’s work in community engagement alongside compositional craft

  • Solace by Conall Gleeson
  • The Rime of the Ancient Mariner – a retelling for our times by Dee Isaacs
  • The Umbrella by Liam Taylor-West

Jazz Composition for Large Ensemble
Nine or more instruments or voices that contain interactive improvisation as an essential element 

  • Afronaut by Cassie Kinoshi
  • Rituals by Matt London
  • Time by Finlay Panter

Jazz Composition for Small Ensemble
Up to eight instruments or voices that contain interactive improvisation as an essential element

  • Close to Ecstasy by Simon Lasky
  • Vegetarians by Ivo Neame
  • You've Got to Play the Game by Johnny Richards


  • Deep Time by Harrison Birtwistle
  • Recorder Concerto by Graham Fitkin
  • The Imaginary Museum by Julian Anderson


Small Chamber
Three to five instruments or voices written for one player or voice per part

  • Chant by Charlotte Bray
  • Lines Between by Robert Laidlow
  • Unbreathed by Rebecca Saunders

Solo or Duo
Instrumental or vocal music performed by one or two players or voices

  • A Damned Mob of Scribbling Women by Laura Bowler
  • Belmont Chill by William Marsey
  • The Harmonic Canon by Dominic Murcott

Sonic Art
Sound art installations, electronic music and works with live electronics

  • Halfway to Heaven by Emily Peasgood
  • The Otheroom by Rolf Wallin
  • Two Machines by Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian and Hugh Jones as ‘Crewdson & Cevanne’

Stage Works
Works specifically written for the stage, including opera, dance and musical theatre

  • Shorelines by Oliver Coates
  • The Exterminating Angel by Thomas Adès
  • The World's Wife by Tom Green

Wind Band or Brass Band

  • Dark Arteries Suite by Gavin Higgins
  • Mindscapes by Lucy Pankhurst
  • The Turing Test by Simon Dobson