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Composer Jasper Nominated for Ivor Novello Award

3 November 2020

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All good news in the arts is welcome during lockdown, but we are particularly delighted to announce that Composition student Jasper Dommett has been nominated for one of the UK’s most prestigious music prizes, the Ivor Novello Award, as part of The Ivors Composer Awards 2020.

Jasper at rehearsals for Night Music at BBC NOW’s Hoddinott Hall

An Ivor Novello Award, named after the legendary Welsh composer, is recognized as the pinnacle of achievement, celebrating exceptional craft in music creation and judged by fellow music creators.

Jasper, nominated in the Large Orchestral category of The Ivors Composer Awards 2020 for a composition he wrote for BBC National Orchestra of Wales’ Composition Wales, is one of the youngest ever nominees.

‘Music picks up where our words fail and therefore should leave a room for each of us to imagine our own world when we listen.’ Jasper Dommett, Composer

Listen to Jasper’s Ivor Novello Award shortlisted composition, Night Music.

The awards presentation is broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 1 December from 7.30pm.

The Nomination 

‘I’m incredibly honoured to receive this nomination. The Ivors Composer Awards are such an important part of contemporary music in Britain.

Each year a group of composers is nominated as recognition of their achievement, with reference to a work which has been premiered in the last twelve months.

Having this nomination, I can’t help but have severe impostor syndrome because artists who have been previously been nominated, in particular the orchestral category, have been towering figures who I truly look up to.’

Jasper conducting the contemporary opera Spinning Jenny at the College’s Atmospheres new music festival last year. Photo credit: Kirsten McTernan

‘To have this nomination for a piece which I wrote for BBC NOW is also very special to me. This orchestra has been integral to my development as a composer, not only by enabling me to have my music realised over the last two years, but also through their expansive programming.

Experiencing a diverse range of live music on a regular basis is a composer’s best education; over my last four years at RWCMD I have been fortunate enough to experience these amazing concerts.’

‘RWCMD has been at the centre of my development, not only as a composer, but also as a person. I have the most amazing tutors who I trust completely and who’s guidance is invaluable.

By having a completely 50:50 split between acoustics and electronics, I have been facilitated with the skills of looking at composition through so many different lenses which was essential when writing Night Music.’

Night Music: The Composition 

‘I had no intention of writing this piece specifically for BBC NOW’s Composition Wales 2020 and actually it almost wasn’t performed. Because I’d worked with BBC NOW in 2019 I wasn’t going to submit it for the call of scores but both my 1:1 Tutor Joseph Davies, and the Head of Composition John Hardy, convinced me to enter it and I am so glad they did!

Even when you don’t believe in yourself, your tutors do – that is one of the best qualities about RWCMD.

Night Music has a very special place in my heart. Dedicated to my late grandmother, Mary Dommett, I feel it’s not only a celebration of her life, but also a goodbye letter after a long illness. She is quite literally embedded in the piece with the main melody, which underpins the whole work, outlining a whistle call which we would do to each other to find one another when we were exploring.

If anything, I see this nomination as an appraisal to her, without whom I wouldn’t be where I am today.’

Celebrating BBC NOW’s Performance of Night Music at Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff

‘While this piece has this deep personal connection, the programmatic nature is one that explores nighttime and my emotional response to it. Conjuring up images of stillness juxtaposed with moments of energy to give a sense of all the nighttime creatures rustling around. Through different lenses, a listener can interpret this piece in many different ways and I am okay with that. Gone are the days where a piece is set into its own programme note and that is the universal means to listen to the work.’

Head of Composition John Hardy on Jasper: 

‘Jasper is a perfect combination of passionate, creative, technically assured, well organised and brilliant at making connections with people. He is a performing musician as well as composer, so he is fully aware of the needs of performing musicians – singers and instrumentalists; he’s at home in the recording studio, and comfortable with all forms of technology, too.

But above all he knows himself well enough to be confident to hold back, to use only the material that is needed to make the point. So many young composers fill the page with notes and noise.’

‘Jasper knows what he is communicating through his music, and he chooses just the right amount of material to express what needs to be said in the most powerful, impactful and memorable way.’

Read more in this Tŷ Cerdd article on Jasper’s Ivors nomination

Find out more about Jasper on his website:  or follow him on twitter @JasperDommett

and you can read more about The Ivor Composers Awards here.

Interested in studying Composition at the College? Check out the link to our website.

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