CELLIST Robert Irvine was a double winner at the inaugural Scottish Awards for New Music in Glasgow on Wednesday evening. Irvine, who is head of cello studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, collected the prize for Best Recorded New Work for his Delphian Label album Songs & Lullabies, and also the award for New Music Performers of the Year, which went to Red Note Ensemble, the group he founded and of which he is co-artistic director.
Irvine brought the proceedings, held at Drygate micro-brewery in the city's East End, to a close with a solo performance of one of the works on the album, Safety, written by his son, Tom Irvine. It is one of 18 works, commissioned for the project from established and younger composers and inspired by the plight of disadvantaged and mistreated children around the world. All profits from the release are going to Unicef.
The awards have been established by New Music Scotland, with financial support from Creative Scotland, to celebrate the achievements of Scotland’s composers, musicians, sound artists and ensembles and aim to highlight the innovative, experimental and ground-breaking work taking place in the country. Trophies created by Orkney-based artist Elaine Henderson were unglazed black porcelain bowls each containing an image created from the music of the winner, and the awards dinner was hosted by mezzo-soprano Andrea Baker.
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Other awards went to composer David Fennessy, creator of the touring vocal project Echoes & Traces Ailie Robertson, sound artist Hanna Tuulikki, Drake Music Scotland, and Helen Grime for her works Two Eardley Pictures, premiered at last years's BBC Proms by the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
Head of Music at Creative Scotland Alan Morrison, who presented the award for the Songs and Lullabies album, said: "The inaugural New Music Scotland Awards have instantly claimed their place on the classical calendar. These are the performers, composers and ensembles who are driving forward one of Scotland’s most exciting and experimental music sectors."