Here’s some exciting news that comes our way from the Musicians Company of the City of London, who have given out the Ivor Mairants Guitar Award for nearly two decades now: In July 2018 they will be selecting the holder(s) of the Company’s inaugural, biennial New Elizabethan Award for guitarists and lutenists performing performing solo or ensemble music (with other instruments and/or voice) from the two Elizabethan ages (i.e. Queen Elizabeth I and the current Queen Elizabeth II, a span of some 400 years between them!

Before he passed away in 2016, British composer Peter Maxwell Davies had this to say about the New Elizabethan Award:

“This award has a very special significance, in that its focus is on the two great Elizabethan ages, complementing the two main periods of development in Britain of the lute and the classical guitar. This constitutes a most important part of British musical tradition, which still needs to be brought more vividly into the public domain. Britain’s position in this repertoire of lute and guitar music is comparable to that of Spain and Portugal—from John Dowland’s [16th century] works for lute to Benjamin Britten’s [20th century] for guitar.

“In addition to the more obvious solo opportunities, this project offers something of great interest to composers today in the use of lute and guitar in chamber music. Particularly, it will offer great encouragement to a younger generation of artists, and I appreciate its forward vision, with an international dimension.”

A few details: Birth deadline for applicants is after January 1, 1987. Deadline for applications is April 30, 2018. The selection round will be held July 6, 2018 at the Royal Academy of Music. The award-holders will be celebrated at a concert at London’s historic Wigmore Hall on February 9, 2019.  —Blair Jackson

For more info, click here.

Below, Julian Bream plays a lute piece by John Dowland:

And here, Bream plays the “Passacaglia” section of Benjamin Britten’s Nocturnal after John Dowland, which Bream debuted in 1964: