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Dr David Beard awarded Ruth Solie Prize

19 November 2020

Dr David Beard headshot

The Ruth Solie Prize for an outstanding article on British music has been awarded to a colleague at the School of Music.

Dr David Beard has been awarded the Ruth Solie Prize by the North American British Music Studies Association (NABMSA) for ‘the most outstanding article on a subject in British music’ published in 2018–2019.

The biennial prize is named in honour of Dr Ruth A. Solie, second President of NABMSA and former President of the American Musicological Society.

Dr Beard’s article, ‘Out of the Air: Judith Weir’s Emergence in 1970s Britain, or Interpreting Creative Self-Censorship’, published in Music & Letters (Oxford University Press), explores questions of gender, reception and creativity in relation to a series of early withdrawn works that reveal the importance of modernism and the avant-garde in the evolution of Judith Weir’s musical language.

Dr Beard explains: “Crucial dialogues in these works with older musical contemporaries and with more historical models are interpreted through economic theorist Pierre Michel-Menger’s positive notion of uncertainty in creativity, and his belief that artists benefit most when they ‘negotiate, cooperate and exchange points of view … putting themselves in the place of the other as much as they communicate with the other’.”

Prize committee member Professor Allan Atlas said: “We were very impressed with Dr Beard’s article, both with its originality and its presentation. We all thought that it stands as a significant contribution to the field of British music scholarship.”

Dr Beard said of the win: “I am extremely grateful and honoured to receive this award. Although Judith Weir has had a varied and distinguished career, reflected in her current roles as Master of the Queen’s Music and President of the Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain, she has received insufficient scholarly attention, a lack that this article and my monograph on her music (under contract with Cambridge University Press) seek to address.”

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