5 Young composers you need to know about

Music is an ever-changing genre, and one of the only ways to keep up is to engage with some of the young people creating it. Of all the nominees of The Ivors Composer Awards 2020, here are five young composers whose names you should know 

Jelly Cleaver  

Called “the next artist to make an impact on the London jazz scene” by Supreme Standards, Jelly Cleaver is a singer-songwriter based in South London, who is heavily involved in the jazz and punk London scenes. A self-described activist, Cleaver’s music often features themes of political dissent. Jelly released an album last year called The Dream Jazz Manifesto. One of the tracks “What Is Understanding” was inspired by Dr Susuki and the ideas of Zen Buddhism and has been nominated for an Ivor Novello Award.  

  

Alex Hitchcock  

A London-born virtuosic saxophonist, Alex Hitchcock has found success through his quintet “Aub”, for whom he helps write a variety of music throughout their burgeoning reputation on the international jazz stage. In 2018, he won the Help Musicians UK Peter Whittingham Award, leading to a 2019 recording and tour featuring Jazz FM vocalist of the year Cherise Adams-Burnett and MOBO-winning drummer Shane Forbes.  

His performing highlights not only boast major international jazz festivals, but he’s also performed at Glastonbury, the Barbican and Glyndebourne Opera House. Named as “one to watch” two years in a row by Jazzwise magazine, Hitchcock is a musician who will be going places! 

  

Jasper Dommett 

Aged just 23, Jasper Dommett has already had his music performed by the likes of BBC National Orchestra of Wales, London Sinfonietta, Berkeley Ensemble, and the Tredegar Band. Starting life as a brass-player in Devon, Dommett’s composing takes inspiration from a rich range of genres, with works ranging from solo sonatas to electronic installations.  

An award-winning student of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Dommett’s first opera Coram Boy—based on the play of the same name by Helen Edmundson—is due to be premiered in 2021.   

 

Robin Haigh  

East-London-based Robin Haigh has had his works described as everything from “magical” to “remarkably discombobulating”. Having played in a progressive metal band as a teenager, his musical style is influenced by his early experiences of writing for this band. The composer won a British Composer Award (now The Ivors Composer Awards) in 2017 aged 24 and has since been commissioned to write for the London Symphony Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Sage Gateshead and many more. Looking ahead to 2021, Robin will be writing a new piece for members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Brett Dean. 

 

Georgia Denham  

A recent graduate of The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Georgia Denham draws on a love of visual arts, anecdotal experiences and working with individuals to create new music. Already a multi-award-winning composer, Denham has had her works featured by the likes of Leeds Lieder Festival, as well as continuing to be an active musician on the experimental and contemporary music scenes.  

Georgia is particularly interested in the relationship between composition and the voice and has recently been exploring this through electronics. Aside from composition, Georgia has curated events for Ideas of Noise and Emulsion, focusing on the celebration of new artists and transdisciplinary collaborations.  

These five exciting composers have all been nominated for The Ivors Composer Awards. Find out more about the Awards  here.


Read more: What's it like being a 21st Century composer?

Read more: 5 Classical music albums to listen to during lockdown


Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter