Jennifer Walshe and Brian Irvine Nominated for British Composer Award

Jennifer Walshe

Jennifer Walshe and Brian Irvine Nominated for British Composer Award

'13 Vices' to be performed at the South Bank Centre in July 2017.

Jennifer Walshe and Brian Irvine have been nominated for a British Composer Award in the Chamber Ensemble category for their work 13 Vices.

The work, for ensemble, improvisers, conductor and voice, was premiered in Belfast in April 2015, then toured across Ireland, to London and Aberdeen. 

Irvine and Walshe began work on the piece after Brian Carson from Moving on Music heard Walshe perform at New Music Dublin in 2014 and brought the two composers together. Moving on Music commissioned the work. Commenting on the nomination, Carson said, ‘We are delighted Brian and Jennifer have received a British Composer Award nomination. It’s great to see a new work that has a life beyond its commission, especially for a weird and wonderful contemporary music project such as 13 Vices.’

Inspired in part by a sculpture Irvine came across in 2006 while in Moscow (Mihail Chemiakin’s Children are the victims of adult vices), 13 Vices explores the weird, funny, dark and exotic world of contemporary vices. 

The sculptures are ‘a collection of slightly grotesque figures,’ Irvine has said, ‘each representing a particular adult vice that is damaging to children. I thought it would be interesting to compose something based loosely around the idea.’

‘Because we both have very strong backgrounds as free improvisers’, says Walshe, ‘that enabled a different type of collaboration because we could… create a lot of material and think of different ways that that material could be combined in the final process…’

The work is performed by a specially formed ensemble that combines Walshe, Irvine, Paul Dunmall (saxophone), Paul Rogers (double bass) and Mark Sanders (percussion), together with the strings of the Scottish based contemporary-music group Red Note Ensemble. It will be performed again in 2017 Hull City of Culture and London’s South Bank Centre in July 2017.

Among the other 34 nominees in the 14th British Composer Awards are James MacMillan for Noli Pater, Joe Cutler for Karembeu’s Guide to the Complete Defensive Midfielder, Anna Meredith for Smatter Hauler and Tansy Davies for Between Worlds.

In the same Chamber Ensemble category are Leo Chadburn’s Freezywater and Laurence Crane’s Chamber Symphony No. 2 – The Australian. The winner of the award will be announced on 6 December.

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Published on 2 November 2016

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