British jazz saxophonist Jason Yarde won the inaugural Award for Contemporary Jazz Composition at the seventh annual British Composer Awards hosted by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composer and Authors (BASCA) in London last night.

Yarde was presented with the award during a ceremony at the Law Society which will be broadcast nationally on BBC Radio 3 at 7 pm GMT tonight. He won with his composition "Rhythm and Other Fascinations" commissioned by the BBC and premiered at London's Royal Albert Hall during its "Proms" series of concerts on Aug. 9.

In a statement, Ellis Rich, chairman of the awards sponsors PRS for Music, said: "Yet again we've seen that this country has a wealth of contemporary classical music talent and it is right that this is celebrated. It is also great to see a jazz award added to the mix."

Across the Awards' 13 categories, more than 300 submissions were received for works premiered between April 1 2008 and March 31 2009. The winners, chosen by BASCA-selected judging panels, included British veteran John Tavener's "Ex Maria Virgine," which won in the Liturgical category. The international award was won by minimalist U.S. composer John Adams for "Doctor Atomic."

English composer Simon Holt took the Orchestral award with his percussion concerto "A Table of Noises," described by the judges as "a piece of breathtaking originality, imagination, invention and wit."

Addressing the audience on the night, BBC Radio 3 controller Roger Wright said the awards "continue to reflect the immense creativity that flourishes in this field today." He added: "That they have expanded their reach to embrace a further area of work where composers earn scant acknowledgement -- this time in the jazz domain -- is a sign of the growing importance of the Awards in recognising the breadth of what composers are doing today."

A full list of winners is available at www.basca.org.uk/public-events-news/british-composer-awards.

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