Jennifer Walshe, Ian Wilson, and Ailís Ní Riain have each scooped major awards recently .
From Cork, composer Ailís Ní Ríain is one of the latest recipients of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s (PHF) Awards for Artists 2016. The announcement came at a reception hosted by the foundation in London in November last. The PHF Awards for Artists has been running since 1994 and are the largest individual awards made to visual artists and composers in Britain. The awards are designed to give artists the time and freedom to develop their creative ideas, and this is a major international recognition of Ailís as a distinctive artistic voice with an impressively wide–ranging body of work. Ailís was one of three composers to receive this major award in 2016 each valued at £50,000.
In London in December Jennifer Walshe was presented with an award for innovation at the 2016 British Composer Awards, which celebrates composers’ contributions to new music. British-based, a striking performer and one of the most distinctively engaging, wide-ranging and original of Irish composers, Jennifer won the award for innovation ’in recognition of her lifelong dedication to questioning and challenging the status quo through music and performance’. The award, which celebrates a composer's career and contributions to contemporary music, was presented for the first time by the British Composer Awards.
Slightly closer to home, just before Christmas, Ian Wilson, from Belfast but now based in Cork, was announced as the winner of a Major Individual Award from the Arts Council Northern Ireland. These awards, worth £15,000 are given in recognition of the contribution an artist has made to creative life in Northern Ireland. Ian Wilson joins a list of composers who previously benefitted from the award, including Elaine Agnew and Deirdre McKay, among others. Ian plans to use his award to produce three new works.
Congratulations to all three! Well-deserved recognition for each and a sign of the health, vitality and impact at home and abroad of Irish composition.