On May 31 at the 63rd Ivor Novello Awards held at Grosvenor House, London, the Scottish-American composer Thea Musgrave was presented with The Ivors Classical Music Award, in recognition of her outstanding body of work in the classical genre.
The award coincides with Musgrave’s ninetieth birthday (May 27), which is being celebrated throughout 2018 at a host of events.
Thea Musgrave, upon receiving the award, said:
Music! Whether one dances for joy or laments for loss, we are able to communicate our truest human nature to others through music even as we experience it to the fullest for ourselves. Music is basic to the human spirit.
Those of us who work in the arts have the sacred mission to sustain a legacy which confirms the common bond of all human life even as we do it through our own unique cultural, temporal, ethnic, and individual voices. The fact that those voices — of the Ancient Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Chinese, Africans — are still heard today attests to both the importance and tenacity of artistic communication.
Closer to our own time, the fact that Monteverdi, Bach, Mozart, Wagner, Stravinsky and Britten are still top of the charts even after all of these years, confirms the power of classical music. That is the mission I am proud to be part of. And I believe that is the true meaning of the life and legacy of Ivor Novello. I am enormously proud to now be part of that legacy.
Now I would like to thank some people. There are just too many to be able to mention them all... but I want to mention a few.
Composers cannot exist on their own, because obviously above all we need performers. So, as a representative of all those fabulous performers, a big thank you to Nicholas Daniel. Apart from his quite extraordinary gift as a performer he has just begun something which I think is incredibly important: he has called it ‘Every Child a Musician’. He wants to bring musical instruments into schools so indeed every child would have the opportunity to make music a meaningful part of their lives.
So, thank you performers. And that includes conductors, as well as stage directors, set designers and so on.
I must also thank my publishers. They have to put up with me being very old fashioned....you see, I decided in the 90s that I was just too old to learn about Sibelius. By Sibelius I mean the way that music can be inputted into a computer rather than the old fashioned engraved. So publishers, thank you for your patience.
Finally one other thing: it is very difficult for a young composer to get good practical experience of writing for an orchestra. So I want to thank the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. When I was just starting out they performed several of my very early orchestral works, some under the baton of Colin Davis who was the assistant conductor at that time… he was just starting out on his great career.
So again, thank you for this award. It is indeed a great honour.
The Ivor Novello Awards are the UK’s pinnacle recognition of song writing achievement, celebrating composers of all genres of music. Created by BASCA in 1956, The Ivors have been sponsored by PRS for Music since 1974. Previous recipients of The Ivors Classical Music Award include: Richard Rodney Bennett (2004), John Tavener (2005), Harrison Birtwistle (2006), Jonathan Dove (2008), James MacMillan (2009), Peter Maxwell Davies (2010), Michael Nyman (2011), Errollyn Wallen (2013), John McCabe (2014) and Judith Weir (2015).