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Award recipients announced for the BAN BAM Commission & Development Award

Improvised Music Company and Moving on Music are pleased to announce the award recipients of the BAN BAM Commission & Development Award 2020/2021. The award is a new creative commissioning and career development opportunity which was open to Irish-born or resident female and gender-minority composers on the island of Ireland (North and South).

Large numbers of high quality applications, across a broad spectrum of the jazz genre, were assessed and scored by an independent panel of music professionals. A detailed scoring and evaluation process revealed three clear winners in Úna Monaghan, Cora Venus Lunny and Sue Rynhart, each of whom will receive a commissioning award of €2,500, guaranteed performance opportunities, and a bespoke development programme with IMC and MOM during 2021.

Úna Monaghan is a harpist and sound artist from Belfast. Monaghan examines the intersections between Irish traditional music, experimental music practices, improvisation and interactive technologies. She frequently mixes electro-acoustic textures and ambient sound recordings with traditional tunes and harp improvisations. Monaghan said "I am very happy to receive this award to support my composition work.It is a valuable and rare thing to have the space to experiment, to make new work, and to benefit from the infrastructure and expertise of two organisations I admire and respect. I am really looking forward to developing this piece."

Cora Venus Lunny is an improvising violinist, violist, vocalist and composer with extensive performing, touring, and recording experience in contemporary, classical, improvised, and folk musics. A member of Yurodny and Fovea Hex, they frequently perform with Crash Ensemble, solo as a free improviser and in free duo with Izumi Kimura. A fascination with consciousness, groove, and the social realities of music drives their compositional curiosity. Lunny said; “I'm thrilled, surprised and delighted to have the honour of being chosen for this award from amongst such a heavily accomplished pool of talent - the support will make an enormous impact on my life as an artist. I'm so grateful that I'll get to realise my musical idea, and can't wait to work on getting it performed safely with some of my favourite musicians.”

Dubliner Sue Rynhart has been crafting her unique and captivating blend of neo-folksy, jazz-laden, classically-inspired original music to international critical acclaim, stemming from her groundbreaking work as part of Dylan Rynhart’s 10-piece Fuzzy Logic Ensemble. Her songs, both soulful and severe, are a fine fusion of the avant-garde and the emotive. On receiving the award, she said; "I'm so happy to have received this commission and development award. I am very much looking forward to the composition period and the 12 months of bespoke creative and career development support and consultation from IMC, MOM and selected industry professionals during 2021."

Speaking of the commission award, IMC Director Kenneth Killeen said; “We were heartened to see so many applicants for this inaugural Ban Bam award for composition and development, and look forward to working with these 3 winners to develop their original work and resultant opportunities together with them over the next 15 months. Our expert panel certainly had a difficult task given the breadth and quality of the applicants overall. With many strong applications from artists as yet unknown to us, this process has been fruitful on many levels, not just for the 3 deserving winners. Ban Bam exists, ultimately, to raise the profile of as many female and gender-minority composers as possible.”

Partner organisation Moving on Music’s Creative Producer Paula McColl said; “We are delighted to have partnered with IMC for the first Ban Bam Commission and Development award for women and gender-minority music makers. It was fantastic to see the quantity and quality of applications received. This is just one small step but we hope it will help stimulate further development opportunities, raise awareness of gender imbalance issues within jazz and improvised music, and create more connections among the female and gender-minority artists. Congratulations to the three winners, we very much look forward to working with you!

Audiences north and south can look forward to performances of new works from the award winners in 2021.

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