Choir shares in national music award success

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A pioneering musical project – which received a five-minute standing ovation when Bolsterstone Male Voice Choir performed it in London in front of a 700-strong audience – has won a top national award for its composer.

John Surman, one of Europe’s top leading jazz musicians, was commissioned to write the work, called ‘Lifelines’, by BBC Radio 3 and Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.

And he chose Sheffield’s internationally-renowned Bolsterstone choir to provide the vocal backing after listening to a selection of their CDs.

After months of intensive rehearsals, the choir performed the 75-minute choral work, featuring saxophonist Mr Surman and pianist Howard Moody, at the Huddersfield Festival last November and then also at the London Jazz Festival the following day.

Now the work has won Mr Surman the 2013 British Composer Award for Contemporary Jazz Composition.

The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors described ‘Lifelines’ as a ‘groundbreaking work marrying contemporary jazz with the traditional male voice choir’.

Choir chairman Roger Pont went to London to receive the award on behalf of Norwegian-based Mr Surman.

Roger said: “We are so proud to have had such a close association with this awards success because it was probably the choir’s most ambitious project in its 80-year history.

“It was an incredible opportunity, and a tremendous privilege, to work with two such distinguished musicians as John Surman and Howard Moody and they were both delighted with the part the choir played in the work’s overall success.”