News and Reviews
News: Night Shift shortlisted for national award
Nov 11 2011
Work commissioned by Derby-based orchestra Sinfonia Viva has been shortlisted for a national award for the third year running. Night Shift, composed by Viva's resident composer Anna Meredith, has been shortlisted in the community and education category of the prestigious British Composer Awards.
She took her inspiration from a night spent with her sister Eleanor, a celebrated animateur, recording the sights and sounds of Derby streets between 6pm and 6am. Anna, who has been working with Viva on a two-year Composer in the House programme, teamed up with the Orchestra to work with 100 pupils from three Allestree schools and with music students from Derby College to write and perform music for Night Shift. The project was supported by Rolls-Royce plc, Derby City Council, Derby City Partnership's 'Be Inspiring' fund and D'Oyly Carte Charitable Trust. She also used the material gleaned from Derby at night to compose an electronic backing for Four Tributes to 4am - a new orchestral commission for Viva which premiered at Derby Assembly Rooms in February as part of the Association of British Orchestras (ABO) conference which Viva hosted.
This is the third year running that Viva has been shortlisted for the British Composer Awards. In 2009, the Orchestra was recognised for its work with James Redwood who composed More Glass Than Wall – the centrepiece for an education project celebrating the life and times of Bess of Hardwick. And last year's education project, Audio Lens, led by composers James Redwood and Jack Ross in partnership with QUAD was shortlisted for its innovative approach of bringing together original music and animated film.
Viva Chief Executive Peter Helps is hoping that it is third time lucky for the Orchestra to convert a nomination into the coveted prize. He said: "Although we have been thrilled to be shortlisted for the awards, it has been disappointing not to have won in the past two years so we are hoping that this year will prove that we are not always the bridesmaid and never the bride! Night Shift was a particularly spectacular project as it had two major facets – the education project and the new commission - both of which were very well received by our peers in the orchestral world at the ABO conference both were performed. Anna is a highly creative and talented composer and we were particularly delighted that her flagship project with Viva was so rooted in the city."
He continued: "Although we are keeping everything crossed for the awards on November 30, the fact that we have been nominated for three years running is testament to the ground breaking and innovative work that Viva continues to create alongside talented composers, our own musicians and of course young people in the city and county. It would cap a fantastic year for the Orchestra with highlights including the ABO conference and would be a wonderful accolade to have as we move into our 30th anniversary year in 2012 – reinforcing our reputation as an Orchestra of national reputation based in the East Midlands."
Anna Meredith is a composer of acoustic and electronic music as well as a performer, curator and animateur. As a concert composer she has also written for Ensemble Modern, the London Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, BBC Philharmonic and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. She was Resident Composer of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra from 2004-2007. She came to public attention in 2008 when her piece Froms was televised as part of the Last Night of the Proms, and was commissioned again for the 2009 Proms. She has also been involved in BBC2s Classical Goldie, when she coached Musician/DJ Goldie in composition, harmony and orchestration for a piece he wrote for the Proms.
She said: "I am delighted that my work with Sinfonia Viva has been shortlisted for this national award. I've always enjoyed working with electronics and visuals and so was keen to pair up with my sister Eleanor again for this project. We came up with the idea of exploring Derby at night – not necessarily looking for tourist or beauty spots - but to try and capture something of the atmosphere of ordinary places at the crossover of late night and early morning. We came across all sorts of different and interesting sights and sounds from a single lamp in an upstairs window on a suburban street to the hum of a generator in a deserted shopping centre and late night clubs trying to out-blare their competitors."
Well over 300 submissions were sent to BASCA for the British Composer Awards 2011 Awards which fete new works receiving their first UK performance between April 2010 and March 2011. Judging has been taking place by more than 60 music professionals – most of whom are themselves composers – took place during September and October – and the Awards ceremony will take place in London on November 30.
Composer in the House is a Royal Philhamonic Society and PRS for Music Foundation initiative.
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