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Ivors success for Department of Music graduate student

Posted on 3 December 2020

Robin Haigh, a PhD student in Composition, has been awarded a prestigious Ivor Novello Award in the Chamber Orchestral category for his piece, 'Grin'.

Robin writes: “Grin was written and premiered in 2019 as one of my main PhD projects for that year. A commission from the Britten Sinfonia, it is an unconducted piece for chamber orchestra that deals with the fine line between frivolity and brutality, through a focus on the metaphor of a Grin. It was an incredible experience working with the orchestra and their leader, Thomas Gould, who gave three superb performances of the piece in Norwich, Saffron Walden and London.

Being nominated for the Ivor Novello Award in the Chamber Orchestral category was a huge shock, and having my rather short ten-minute piece up against works by four established composers whose work I deeply respect and admire, I was fully prepared to be happy with just the honour of being a nominee. Finding out that I had won was an incredible moment for me in what has been a difficult year for all musicians, and all people. It's saddening that I was not able to spend the night of the awards in the company of the many fantastic composers nominated, in the grand surroundings of the British Museum as in previous years, but I also come away impressed at the resilience of The Ivors Academy managing to find a way to go ahead with the awards in their new, very 2020, capacity.

I look forward to developing on the orchestral ideas I developed in Grin with a new piece for members of the LPO conducted by Brett Dean, set to be premiered, live or virtually, in summer 2021.”

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