Dr Ben Gaunt nominated for British Composer Award

By Kath Hartley


Senior Lecturer in Classical Music Dr Ben Gaunt is nominated in the 2017 British Composer Awards

The prestigious awards seek to celebrate Britain’s foremost contemporary composers, seeing 30 composers nominated across 11 different categories.

Gaunt is nominated in the ‘Best Stage Works’ category for the piece, Empty Hand, Peaceful Mind.  Composed for two musicians and one martial artist, the piece is inspired by Karate, and explores movement, myth and music - and how these ideas intersect.

Gaunt presents five different Kata (a choreographed sequence of moves in Karate) accompanied by music specifically written for each sequence. The Karateka (Karate practitioner) acts as a conductor for the piece, directing the musicians.

“It feels amazing to be nominated,” says Gaunt. “The other nominees in my category wrote large pieces (a ballet and a chamber opera), so I feel very lucky that my little composition was considered.”

A record number of entries were received for the 2017 British Composer Awards, following an 18.5% increase compared to 2016. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at the British Museum in London on Wednesday 6 December.

“I don't get nominated for awards very often,” adds Gaunt. “I'd like to win the award, obviously, but I won't be too upset if I don't. This feels particularly prestigious because there were so many entries. It’s also very encouraging, because nearly half of the entries were by composers under the age of 40. Career-wise, I hope to receive more commissions and find funding applications easier as a result of being nominated in the British Composer Awards.”


Find out more about the British Composer Awards.

Read Ben’s blog about his piece Empty Hand, Peaceful mind.

Find out more about Classical Music at Leeds Conservatoire.

By Kath Hartley

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