British Composer Awards? Make that British Male Composer Awards. Last week, of 13 prizes awarded by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA), 13 went to men. Yes, every last one. Women composers were not merely sidelined – they were completely absent. This is a disgrace to the UK's whole classical music industry.
Out of 300 pieces up for consideration, just six works by women were shortlisted. They then got nowhere. The top prizes went to such esteemed figures as Sir Harrison Birtwistle, George Benjamin and Colin Matthews.
No one would want to denigrate these marvellous composers, even if "award for Birtwistle" is a type of British classical music Groundhog Day. Still, the British Composer Awards' website asks: "British composers: who are they?" This year's roster of prizes seems to suggest that they are all men. This is nonsense. Infuriating, maddening, frustrating, idiotic nonsense.
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