During 2014, the year of his seventy-fifth birthday celebrations, English composer John McCabe has received two awards - the 2014 Iles Medal and the 2014 Ivors Award for Classical Music.
The Ivors Award was presented to McCabe by fellow composer Christopher Gunning during a ceremony at Grosvenor House, London, UK on 22 May 2014. Despite his illness, McCabe was able to make an acceptance speech at the ceremony, and was rewarded with a standing ovation. The Ivors Award is mainly connected with the pop industry, and the event was attended by many well-known names from this world. Previous recipients of the Classical Award include Peter Maxwell Davies, Harrison Birtwistle, John Tavener and Michael Nyman.
More recently, the Worshipful Company of Musicians has chosen to present McCabe with the 2014 Iles Medal for his services to the brass band movement. The medal is due to be presented at the next British Open, at Symphony Hall Birmingham in September 2014.
Whilst working with the late Ifor James and the Besses o'th' Barn Band, McCabe was staggered by the brilliance of the playing and wrote Images (1978) for this group. He then went on to write four more works for brass band. Three of his brass band works have been used as test pieces. Cloudcatcher Fells (1985), regarded as the classic of the repertoire, was inspired by McCabe's youthful visit to Patterdale in Cumbria. The other pieces are Northern Lights (1992), Salamander (1994), and The Maunsell Forts (2001/2).
'I'm absolutely delighted', McCabe commented, 'because it's a prestigious thing - so many great musicians have received the medal, and it's an essential part of the brass band world.'
Despite his medical problems and treatment, McCabe is still busy composing, and has recently finished a short choral work for the Hallé Choir, which will receive its first performance later this year.
Other forthcoming McCabe performances this year include concerts by Mark Bebbington, Peter Broadbent and the Joyful Company of Singers, George Vass and the Presteigne Festival Orchestra, Richard Uttley, Kate Romano, Kenneth Woods and the English Symphony Orchestra, and Baker Street Brass.
Posted: 6 August 2014
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