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Jonny Greenwood's Horror vacui Nominated for an Ivors Composer Award

Nov. 01, 2020

Jonny Greenwood’s violin concerto Horror vacui has been nominated for an Ivors Composer Award, in the Large Orchestral Work category. The winner will be announced on December 1 on BBC Radio 3. 

Horror vacui premiered at the 2019 BBC Proms to great critical acclaim. Jonny Greenwood describes the work:

"Horror vacui is the fear of empty space, usually in paintings. Children, and outsider artists generally, are liable to feel that a picture is unfinished if there’s any space left unfilled. For this music, I’ve focused on all the different ways there are to electronically create reverb and echoes, and translated them into the complexities of a string orchestra. Daniel Pioro’s solo violin treats the orchestra like a big reverb chamber, triggering resonances, echoes and granular-style stretching of time that emulates how artificial reverbs work. Reverbs that range from the early 20th century, with amplified resonating strings, though tape echoes and analogue delays, to today’s latest digital treatments that stretch and compress time. Perhaps this comes across as an attempt to copy electronic music – in fact it’s meant to be better. Only meant to be – I get to find out [in rehearsal] at the same time as everyone else which parts of it, if any, work, so it’s a wide-open goal for hubris. But that’s alright. I love these sounds. I feel lucky and honored to be given access to the musicians who can make them."

(Horror vacui/Jonny Greenwood/National Orchestra of Wales and the Proms Youth Ensemble/Hugh Brunt, conductor)

To learn more about Jonny Greenwood, visit 

Jonny Greenwood

Horror vacui (2019)
for solo violin and 68 strings (