AFFA 2021 Choral Composition Finalists Announced!

Tanya Auclair, John Barber, Samantha Fernando and Jack Sheen have been chosen as finalists for the £10,000 award.
The finalists were chosen from a  long list of nominated UK-based composers who write music for groups of voices ranging from small ensembles to large choirs and for either amateur or professional choirs. The panel of experts was made up of soprano Juliet Fraser,  CEO of Garsington Opera Wasfi Kani OBE, and composer Orlando Gough who said:

“At a time when choral music is ferociously challenged, what a pleasure it has been to sift through a raft of strong applications from a wonderfully diverse group of composers. It makes me look forward even more to a time when we can hear live the choral work that is currently in the pipeline.” – Orlando Gough

Finalist Tanya Auclair meshes organic and electronic, pop and experimental, exploring unusual rhythms, vocal harmony and electronica, while John Barber has a passion for drama, collaboration and voices, taking him from working with refugees and asylum seekers, to professional ensembles. Juliet Fraser says of them:

“Tanya Auclair draws on music from a variety of cultures to offer a fresh perspective on the choral sound. John Barber’s catalogue of works is a testimony to the breadth of the choral tradition here in the UK. “

Samantha Fernando is credited as ‘a composer with an ear for stillness and subtext’ (The Times), while Jack Sheen is a conductor and composer whose music encompasses concert works and performance-installation. Juliet Fraser said:

“Samantha Fernando is developing a handling of the voice that looks set to equal the assuredness of her instrumental writing. Jack Sheen’s recent choral works combine compositional clarity with performer autonomy to great effect.”

In 2020 a significant number of choirs have been unable to meet and have subsequently disbanded. The Big Choral Census (Voices Now) found that there were over 40,000 regularly meeting choirs in the UK in 2017, equating to over two million singers – more than those playing amateur football each week. The Arts Foundation are delighted to be able to highlight this artform at such a challenging time.
The recipient of the 2021 Fellowship along with four further £10,000 awards in Visual Arts, Theatre Makers, Environmental Writing and Materials Innovation will be announced at the Arts Foundation Futures Awards on the 27th Jan, 2021 at an online evening of celebration from 7pm. The three runners-up will receive £1,000 awards towards their practice. Please check the AFFA2021 pages for details of all the finalists.