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AT THE IVORS COMPOSER AWARDS 2020, Cecilia McDowall was presented with a Gi of the Academy Award for Outstanding Works Collection.





First presented in 1956, the Ivors Composer Awards celebrate excellence in composition with categories judged by those within the UK music creator community. The Outstanding Works Collection is a new award title for 2020. It was presented to McDowall at an awards ceremony, broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 1 December.

Gary Carpenter, chair of the awards committee at the Ivors Academy, told C&O: ‘Cecilia McDowall is one of the leading choral and vocal composers of her generation. Her music has been commissioned and performed by choirs, ensembles and festivals worldwide. O en inspired by extra-musical influences, her writing combines a rhythmic vitality with expressive lyricism. She is a highly skilful and captivating composer who communicates through her music with stunning sensitivity and impact.

‘One of the leading choral and vocal composers of her generation’: Cecilia McDowall

‘McDowall has, and continues to leave, a legacy of exquisite classical works, especially works for the voice. This is why the Ivors Academy is honoured to recognise her contribution by presenting the Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Works Collection 2020.’

McDowall commented: ‘I feel very honoured to have been presented with the prestigious Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Works Collection. It is very humbling to have been singled out to follow in the footsteps of previous recipients when there are so many other deserving composers. Thank you, the Ivors Academy, for this wonderful award.’ The winner of the choral category of the 2020 Composer Awards was Richard Blackford for his piece Pietà, commissioned by the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and St Albans Choral Society. Pietà was given its UK premiere in June 2019 by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, and Bournemouth Symphony Youth Chorus, at the Lighthouse arts centre in Poole. A commercial recording of the work is available on Nimbus [NI 6396].


Errollyn Wallen CBE has been appointed visiting professor of composition at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS). In addition to one-to-one teaching, seminars and workshops, she will contribute to PLUG, the RCS’s annual festival of contemporary music.

Cheryl Frances-Hoad has been appointed visiting research fellow in the creative arts at Merton College, Oxford. The Fellowship runs throughout 2021 and will see FrancesHoad work on several substantial projects in addition to writing for Merton College Choir.

Henry Fairs has taken up the position of professor of organ at the Institute for Church Music, University of the Arts, Berlin.

The Academy of Ancient Music (AAM) has appointed Laurence Cummings as music director from the 2021/22 season.

Timothy Parsons leaves Exeter Cathedral, where he has been assistant director of music since 2016, to succeed James Thomas as director of music at St Edmundsbury Cathedral.


Thomas Trotter has been awarded the 2020 Queen’s Medal for Music. Instituted in 2005, the award is made by HM The Queen to ‘an outstanding individual or group of musicians who have had a major influence on the musical life of the nation’; only one Medal is awarded each year.

The 2020 Royal Philharmonic Society awards included: the Concert Series and Events award to ‘Venus Unwrapped’, a yearlong celebration of female composers at Kings Place, London; the Inspiration award (for music-making during lockdown) to six initiatives, including the Stay at Home Choir and the Diocese of Leeds Schools Singing Programme; the Gamechanger award (for breaking new ground in classical music) to conductor Jane Glover; and the RPS Gold Medal to composer John Williams.

An album recorded by the Poor Clares of Arundel topped the iTunes, Classical Artist and Classical Specialism charts within days of its release on 18 Oct. Light for the World [Decca 481 9694] has music by


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Juliette Pochin and James Morgan to words by St Clare and St Francis. The composers worked with the nuns, aged 40-90, from late 2019 until the 2020 March lockdown, then produced the album in their home studio.

Recipients of grants from the UK Government’s Culture Recovery Fund include Birmingham Town Hall and Symphony Hall (£2.53m); and Oundle for Organists (£58,823 – see p.37 for details of organ courses planned for 2021).


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