Edward Gregson has won an Ivors Composer Award for in the Amateur and Young Performers category for his work The Salamander and the Moonraker. He received his award at a ceremony held at the British Museum on Thursday, December 4. The work was premiered in Summer 2018 by its commissioners The Hallé Orchestra and conductor Stephen Bell at the Bridgewater Hall.
Setting an original text and narrative by Susan Gregson, the work for children's choir, two narrators and full orchestra charts the fantastical journey through space and myth, a quest which takes the choir to the perilous halls of Thor.
The Judges noted that:
Speaking at the ceremony, Gregson expressed his delight on receiving the award:
“This was a very ambitious piece with broad appeal, well crafted, expertly orchestrated and above all, great fun. The narrative journey is engaging, capturing the essence of the children’s imagination, adding up to an epic and colourful sound world.”
The first person I would like to thank is my wife, Sue, who wrote such a fantastic story/libretto for this piece - in fact it’s better than the music to be honest! Of course, I would like to thank the Hallé for the commission. They have this great policy for commissioning something each year for the children’s choir… I want to thank my publisher, Novello; I have been with Novello since the beginning of my career and we’ve had a wonderful relationship. Of course I want to thank the Ivors Academy, PRS for Music and Radio 3 for presenting this, it means a lot to the classical music industry...
I would echo what Crispin [Hunt] (Chairman, PRS for Music) said. I have been in music education most of my life, starting out as a peripatetic creative artist in primary schools, then later in tertiary education. But whatever happens in this election, it is important for politicians to recognise that without musical education the country would be poorer. It means so much for children to be involved in things like we have seen here and for them to be better citizens for the future of this country, and indeed the world. So let’s try to make that message clear to all our politicians. Thank you.
An honourable mention must go to other work nominated in the category: Ghost Songs by Gary Carpenter. Inventive and complex orchestral writing is expertly paired with brilliant choral writing for children's choir in this work, which has found success for each of the host of British orchestras who commissioned it: the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Basque National Orchestra.
Coverage of the Award was aired on BBC Radio 3 on Sunday December 8 from 9pm and is available on catch-up via BBC Sounds.