South Bank Sky Arts Award for Thea Musgrave

South Bank Sky Arts Award for Thea Musgrave
© Brian Sheffield
Thea Musgrave has won the prestigious South Bank Sky Arts Award for Classical Music for the world premiere performance of her Trumpet Concerto, which was given by Alison Balsom and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra at Cheltenham Festival in 2019.

The announcement was made at a socially-distanced ceremony at the London Coliseum in which trumpeter Alison Balsom received the award on Musgrave’s behalf. Speaking from her home in California, the composer said “I am absolutely thrilled to receive this award - particularly as working on the Trumpet Concerto was such an enjoyable experience. In particular, I want to thank the brilliant Alison Balsom. Not only was she an inspirational soloist, but she also masterminded the programme at the Cheltenham Festival where the piece was premiered. I first worked with the CBSO over 50 years ago when they premiered my Concerto for Orchestra and I’m very happy that they are part of this award in the year they celebrate their centenary.”

The awards ceremony will be broadcast in the UK on Sky Arts television (Freeview channel 11) at 8pm on December 20.

The South Bank Sky Arts Awards is one of the UK’s most high profile annual arts events, and the only awards ceremony in the world to acknowledge and celebrate every genre of the arts; including dance, opera, theatre, comedy, film, literature, pop, TV drama and visual art. Musgrave takes her place in a list of winners that this year also includes the actor Ian McKellen, filmmaker Steve McQueen, novelist Edna O'Brien, The Royal Opera and Northern Ballet.

The Trumpet Concerto was co-commissioned by the Cheltenham Music Festival, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. The premiere formed part of Cheltenham’s 75th anniversary celebrations – Musgrave was the first female composer ever commissioned by the festival in 1956 – and was warmly received by the audience and critics. The piece was inspired by a series of paintings by the Scottish artist Victoria Crowe, which Musgrave used to create the work’s five-movement structure. There is also a nod to her own Scottish heritage with the inclusion of the traditional tune ‘The Bonnie Earl of Moray’ in the work’s fourth movement.

Following its premiere, which was conducted by Edward Gardner stepping in at short notice, the CBSO gave performances of the piece at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, and in Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie under Music Director Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla.

Read more about Thea Musgrave

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