News: The Chagrin Award results - meet the artists!

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Sound and Music

Meet the latest recipients of the Francis Chagrin Awards

The Francis Chagrin Award is for composers looking for that quick top-up to get them to the next step in creating new work. 

With three rounds a year, meet the latest artists who have benefitted from that extra bit of money to make their projects a reality

Aidan Deery 

Image of Aidan Deery

Aidan Deery is a Belfast-based composer and sound artist. Aidan completed a PhD in composition at the Sonic Arts Research Centre, Belfast, in 2014. Often making use of field recordings, Aidan's output has included fixed medium compositions, works for instrument with electronics, as well as installations, and has had regular performances at a range of international festivals. Aidan has also collaborated with various artists including arts collective Mak9, and works with Matilde Meireles to form the field recording duo bunú.

#soundscape #liveelectronics #electroacoustic #field recording

Aidan Deery said:

"Being selected for the Chagrin award has given me confidence and enthusiasm to start work on new material, allowing me to invest in equipment that will enhance my live performance setup. 

I will use this award to buy a Novation Launch Control XL Software Controller. The addition of a tangible and programmable midi controller will allow for a more flexibility and greater control over the material, allowing me to concentrate on manipulating and shaping the sound. This equipment will help with the creation of this work and additional works in the future."



Alexander Campkin

Image of Alexander Campkin

Alexander Campkin's music, described as 'fresh and attractive' by Gramophone, has attracted the attentions of some of the top ensembles. His work has been performed or broadcast in over thirty countries and features on over 20 CDs, one of which was Classic FM Christmas CD of the Year. Alexander (b. 1984) has received over ninety commissions from organisations including The Royal Opera House, The London Mozart Players, The Royal Ballet Sinfonia, Aldeburgh Music, The BBC Performing Arts Fund, The Swedish Arts Council, Ampersandance Contemporary Dance Company, New London Children's Choir, The Theatinerkirche Vokalkapelle Munich, The Fulham Camerata Choir and Orchestra and Neresheim Abbey in Germany. He has been elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music for services to music. Alexander is conductor of The Oxbridge Singers, minimaLIST ENsemble and Future Opera. He studied at Oxford University, the Royal Academy of Music and the University for Performing Arts in Vienna. 

Alexander Campkin said:

"I am thrilled to have been selected for the Chagrin Award.

I used the award for software to create recorded electronics and printing costs, for my piece ‘I watched the dying light’. This was commissioned by The Portsmouth Grammar School for 150 singers, The London Mozart Players and electronics. Previous composers commissioned for the annual Portsmouth remembrance concert include Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Jonathan Dove, Stephen Montague and Tarik O’Regan."





Alastair Putt 

Portrait image of Alastair Putt

Alastair Putt was born in London in 1983. He studied at New College, Oxford and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. In 2011, he was accepted onto the London Symphony Orchestra’s Panufnik Young Composers Scheme, and his subsequent commission for the orchestra, Spiral, was premiered in June 2014 in the Barbican Hall and released on CD in 2016. In 2012, he was a Composition Fellow at Tanglewood Music Center, and returned the following year for the premiere of his commission for brass ensemble, Blaze. Recent commissions have included works for EXAUDI, the Brinkburn Festival, the Choir of New College, Oxford and the London Contemporary Orchestra.

Alastair Putt said: 

"I'm very pleased and grateful to have been selected for a Francis Chagrin Award, which will be used to provide a learning fee for the guitarist Sam Cave, who will be playing a new piece of mine (commissioned with funds from the Bliss Trust) later this year!"


Amanda Johnson

Image of Amanda Johnson playing violin

Amanda is a violinist and composer, based in Sheffield on the edge of the Peak District National Park, and is currently artist in residence at Buxton Museum, Derbyshire. Her work is held in a number of permanent collections and has been exhibited in museums, art galleries, at festivals and has featured in radio broadcasts. Combining traditional composition, digital sounds and live performance her work aims to stimulates an emotional response in her audiences. Paradoxically the material used is often derived from scientific data or patterns originating from objects, features in the landscape, DNA samples, isotope profiles or even chemical formulae. 

#classical #electro-acoustic #digitalrecording #liveperformance #data

Amanda Johnson said:

"I feel very privileged to have been selected for the Francis Chagrin award and I appreciate the support that this shows for my work. Without this award it would not have been possible for me to fully realize my ambitions for this project.

The Francis Chagrin award has made it possible for me to purchase the specialist equipment necessary to effectively record sounds from the hills and caves within Derbyshire’s landscape. The recordings made will form part of a series of electro-acoustic compositions based on cave lion, hyena and scimitar-toothed cat DNA as part of my work as artist in residence at Buxton Museum."


Camillo Mendez

Image of Camillo Mendez

My work is characterised by the composition of musical cycles based on texts and extra-musical stimuli. My compositional approach intends to explore different ways in which texts can be translated into numerical sequences and how these sequences can be transformed into musical materials.I completed a PhD and a MMus in composition under the supervision of Dr Jonathan Cole, Dr Alison Kay and William Mival at the Royal College of Music in London. I also studied privately with Rebecca Saunders and Pierluigi Billone.My music has been performed by ensembles and soloists, who especialised in performing contemporary concert music and has been featured in international festivals such as Darmstadt New Music Festival, Next Generation Donaueschingen, Fifth Saxophone Festival in Mallorca, Klasik Keyifler in Turkey, June in Buffalo and Spanish Music Festival in Cadiz just to mention a few. I am an associate composer of the London Symphony Orchestra Soundhub scheme and co-founder and co-artistic director of London-based clapTON ensemble.



 Collide, Splinter, Splatter

Camillo Mendez said:

“I am delighted to be selected for the Francis Chagrin Award. It is nice to be recognised and to receive support that will help me to produce a new work.

In the past few years I have been working on a compositional cycle titled BURSZTYN. In this cycle all the instruments are prepared. I will use the Francis Chagrin Award to buy the necessary materials to experiment in the preparation of musical instruments that, subsequently I will use in the composition of a new work of BURSZTYN that will be premiered by Nou Ensemble as part of EMA Festival in Madrid” 

Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch 

Image of Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch

Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch is a London based, Paris born composer and pianist who studied Composition at Goldsmiths.Her debut album, 'Like Water Through The Sand', came out in 2015 through FatCat Records' 130701 imprint. She has performed her compositions at Union Chapel, Tallinn Music Week, Organ Reframed and Brighton Festival.Emilie has scored a number of award winning films and her music has been heard on BBC Radio 4 and 6, NPR, HBO as well as at SXSW. She regularly collaborates with visual artists, and has been commissioned to create sound pieces by the V&A and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch said:

“I'm very grateful to be one of Sound and Music's Francis Chagrin Award recipients, which will enable me to acquire a new four track portable digital recorder.”




Eugene Birman

Image of Eugene Birman

A composer of music of "high drama" and "intense emotion" (BBC), "at once, ingenious, hypnotic, brave, and beautiful” (Festival Internazionale A.F. Lavagnino), Eugene Birman (b. 1987) has written for symphony orchestras (London Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra), choirs (BBC Singers, Latvian Radio Choir, Eric Ericsons Kammarkör), and leading ensembles and soloists across four continents in venues ranging from London's Southbank Centre to Carnegie Hall to above the Arctic Circle. His highly public career, with appearances on CNN, BBC World TV, Radio France, and others, is characterized by a fearless focus on socially relevant large-scale compositions covering the financial crisis, Russian border treaties, and more. A Fulbright scholar and D.Phil recipient from the University of Oxford, he also holds degrees from Columbia University, the Juilliard School, and the Accademia Musicale Chigiana.

#PoliticalTheatre #VocalAcrobatics #MusicAsStatement

Eugene Birman said:

"I'm honored to have been chosen for the Francis Chagrin Award this year. The money will go towards printing costs for my latest commission for the Helsinki Chamber Choir, a piece for 16 solo voices titled Lamentations, which will also feature on my first commercially released portrait CD, due out in late 2017. The support from Sound and Music goes a long way towards making all these things actually possible and I'm immensely grateful for the indispensable role SAM continues to play in my career in the UK and abroad."


Kim Ashton

Image of Kim Ashton

Composer - conductor - teacher - gardener. Alongside concert works performed by the LSO, Ensemble InterContemporain, Clare Hammond, Orchestra of Opera North and Orquestra Gulbenkian, Kim has a longstanding interest in opera/music theatre (his two most recent stage works being performed with Arts Council funding). 'The Albatross', in development with director Sinead O’Neill, reworks Coleridge’s 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner', exploring notions of  wildness – and humankind’s ambiguous and often destructive relationship with it – in the contemporary context of climate change and biodiversity loss. Scored only for baritone, countertenor and accordion, the piece’s soundworld evokes vast spaces of sea and air.

#opera #musictheatre #newsounds #environmental art

Kim Ashton said:

"I'm absolutely delighted to receive the Francis Chagrin Award - it's a real boost in the first stages of The Albatross' development. More than other kinds of work, operas can sometimes need an extra lift to get them off the ground, so I'm particularly grateful for this early show of support from Sound and Music. 

The accordion has long fascinated me, but it is a forbidding instrument to write for since it is unlike any other common instrument. The award will enable me to have several sessions with leading player Bartosz Glowacki, who is dedicated to developing new works and furthering awareness of the instrument. As well as getting some insight into the instrument's playing techniques, possibilities and limitations, we will work together on sketch materials for 'The Albatross'. 


Lizabett Russo

In 2013, self-released her EP entitled The Traveller’s Song, which found favour with online publications from across Europe, the US and Canada. Her stock across Europe is high, having played shows in Amsterdam, Zurich, Barcelona, Paris and Bucharest while her presence in UK led to supporting acclaimed musicians such as Rachel Sermanni, Rozi Plain, Tim Edey and Trembling Bells and playing at some prestigious festivals such as the Cambridge Folk Festival.IronStar Films have selected 2 of her songs to be played in an independent short movie called 'Bloodloss'. The movie has received special mentions at independent film festivals in Los Angeles, Calgary, Marbella and Melbourne and Ontario.In 2015, Lizabett toured Japan and Seoul promoting her debut album 'Running with the Wolves' and she was back in Asia in 2016 with another tour promoting her new album 'The Burning Mountain' (released April 2016). 

#neo-folk #experimental #cinematic #jazz

Lizabett Russo said:

"I am really happy and grateful to have been given some financial help to create something different.  I will use the award to create a live score of the silent movie ‘The Golem’ with the amazing composer Graeme Stephen."



 Lizabett Russo 


Vikki Stone

Image of Vikki Stone

Composer and comedian Vikki Stone is probably best known for her comedy songs, but is also gaining notoriety as a composer, with her work being performed on many TV and radio shows. Commissions include: a comedy choral piece for the NYCGB that had it’s debut at the Royal Albert Hall, as well as a full scale musical. Vikki attended Wells Cathedral School and The Royal Academy Of Music, and was awarded a Fellowship by Wells in 2013 and more recently the honour of Associate of The Royal Academy (ARAM), so she has more letters after her name, than in her name: VIKKI STONE PG DIP RAM LRAM ARAM (a ding dong).

#cross-genre #classicalmeetscomedy #experimental

Vikki Stone said: 

"I am delighted to have been selected for the Chagrin Award.  My upcoming "Concerto For Comedian and Orchestra" would simply not have been possible without funding, and to have been chosen for this award is a fantastic step on the journey for this unique piece. 

I am using the funding from this award towards the admin costs associated with the first orchestral workshop of "Concerto For Comedian And Orchestra" - the money will be used towards the printing and preparation costs involved with the scores ahead of the workshop." 


Francis Chagrin was the founder of the Society for the Promotion of New Music (SPNM). During his career he composed symphonies, songs, chamber music, and over 200 film scores. His music is collected in Sound and Music’s British Music Collection.

The Francis Chagrin Award is accepting applications!

Next deadline: 26th February 2018

Find out more here>>

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