Ramsgate sound artist scoops two nominations in the British Composer Awards

Emily Peasgood Photo Robert Greshoff

A Ramsgate sound artist has achieved a first by receiving not one but two nominations in one category of the British Composer Awards.

Emily Peasgood, 36, has been put forward for two pieces that were performed at Turner Contemporary.

Birds and Other Stories was commissioned by the POW Thanet festival and premiered at Turner Contemporary in March.

The day-long exhibition of stories from isle residents, 50 singers and megaphones was inspired by lewd remarks made to Emily in a bar.

The piece tackled the argument of women being referred to, treated like and sometimes pet-named ‘birds’.

The performance took place against the backdrop of a piece of art created by Emily and illustrator Joe Inkpen.

Birds and Other Stories Photo by Richard Maxted

Emily said: “I was essentially inspired to do this because a man in a pub said to me: “look at the t*ts on that bird”.

“I tried to portray with the piece a sense of how women are viewed in society today; not just negative stories about being called ‘birds’ but also stories from men about women they respect and admire.”

Crossing Over

The second nomination is for last year’s Crossing Over, a surround sound installation and live performance for recorded voices, choir, mobile telephones and ocean drums that was commissioned by and premiered at Turner Contemporary with the support of Canterbury Christ Church University and the Centre for Practice Based Research in the Arts.

The piece marked the anniversary of the mass murder of 133 enslaved Africans on the slave ship Zong in 1782, which JMW Turner painted in 1840. It was also inspired in part by John Akomfrah’s Vertigo Sea installation, Crossing Over asked: ‘What does ‘home’ mean to you?’

Emily said: “I was inspired to create this piece when I became involved in local politics during Farage’s attempt to take my constituency and then Brexit. I don’t believe in borders. But the piece isn’t about that. I viewed it as a way to create a common identity about what ‘home’ means to us, aside from divisive political views.”

The awards

The British Composer Awards promote the art of composition, recognise the creative talent of composers and sound artists, and bring their music to a wider audience.

Emily Peasgood

Founded in 2003 by BASCA they are sponsored by PRS for Music and presented in association with BBC Radio 3.

There are 11 nominated categories.

Emily, who has been undertaking a PhD in composing experimental music for community choirs at Canterbury Christ Church University, trained at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama and City University.

She is best known for creating public art that is performed by community choirs, musicians and sign language interpreters.

Unusual works include last year’s LIFTED, a live performance in public lifts by a choir and beat boxer.

Emily, who also leads the BigMouth Choir, said the nominations were a surprise. She added: “Apparently I’m the first person to have two nominations for the same category of award in the same year. I’m nominated in one category titled ‘community or educational project.

“I didn’t think I’d ever receive a nomination for one of these prestigious awards, which are usually given to people like Peter Maxwell Davies and James MacMillan.”

The awards take place on Wednesday, December 6 at the British Museum, London.

1 Comment

  1. Congratulations on the nominations, Em. Awards notwithstanding, your music speaks for itself. All the very best to you. Xxx

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