The Ivor Novello Awards were first organised by the Songwriters Guild of Great Britain (which later became BASCA) in response to the insistence of their founder Chairman, the late Bruce Sievier; that such Awards, based on outstanding merit and success, would be of great benefit to promoting British songwriting.
When Ivor Novello died in 1951, Bruce suggested that the Awards be named in his honour, to commemorate all that he had done for British musicals and music in general. Hazel Underwood, a graduate of St Martin’s School of Art, was commissioned to create the statuette, a bronze representation of the Greek Muse of lyric poetry, Euterpe.
The first Ivor Novello Awards were presented in 1956 and recognised songs released in 1955. Sponsored by Joseph Fenston, the ceremony was televised by the BBC from The Theatre Royal, Dury Lane, London. Sir Billy Butlin sponsored the awards for a number of years and during the 1960s the presentation moved to the Savoy Hotel. On 10th May 1970 TVR broadcast The Ivors as part of ‘Talk of the Town’ which included a performance of Space Oddity by David Bowie.
BASCA invited the Performing Right Society to sponsor the awards in 1974, a sponsorship partnership that has lasted over 40 years. By 1976 The Ivors had moved to the Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London – venue of the award ceremony today and our current host, Paul Gambaccini has presented every ceremony since 1988.
Since their inception The Ivors has recognised the excellence and success of over 750 British and Irish songwriters and composers. They continue to be amongst the most coveted music awards in the world.