Toru Takemitsu Composition Award[Results]

2015

Kaija Saariaho

[Judge]
Kaija Saariaho (Finland)

Comments

[Final Concert]
Sunday. 31 May 2015 | Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall : Takemitsu Memorial
Kazumasa Watanabe, conductor / Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra

[WINNERS]

  • 1st Prize
    Sebastian Hilli (Finland)
    Reachings for orchestra
    Cash Award
    750,000 yen
  • 1st Prize
    Yiğit Kolat (Turkey)
    [difeʁãs] for orchestra
    Cash Award
    750,000 yen
  • 2nd Prize
    Fabià Santcovsky (Spain)
    cuadro de presencia for orchestra
    Cash Award
    750,000 yen
  • 2nd Prize
    Thomas Wally (Austria)
    loop-fantasy for orchestra
    Cash Award
    750,000 yen
photo

Thomas Wally, Yiğit Kolat, Kaija Saariaho, Sebastian Hilli, Fabià Santcovsky
photo © Michiharu Okubo

Comments by Kaija Saariaho, judge

The Toru Takemitsu Composition Award is a unique and prestigious institution. I am honored to follow as the judge my esteemed colleagues whom I admire. I have been also especially happy to share my music this week with Japanese musicians and audiences.
I thank the Tokyo Opera City Cultural Foundation for the confidence and all the organization and help concerning the conditions of my work as a judge.

151 orchestral scores were sent to the competition this year, and it was a demanding task to study all of them. But it gave me also a clear idea of the musical interests of younger composer generations worldwide.

Four works were asked for this final concert. My selection principles were clear: I was looking for skillfully realized and imaginative orchestral pieces, which would reveal something fresh concerning the orchestral writing.
I was especially interested in the realization of musical form, as well as the solutions concerning harmony and the use of the orchestral instruments. I hoped to find pieces which would bring us personal views of orchestral music today. I was glad to recognize that many more than four works filled my criteria, and to eliminate scores was the most difficult part of my task.

I realized once again that I don't really believe in hierarchy in art competitions. Who has the right to decide whether Claude Debussy had more genius than Jean Sibelius, or that Leonardo da Vinci was a greater painter than Katsushika Hokusai? Every artist is a unique individual, and as such incomparable.

But finally only four works stayed on my table. I didn't know the names of the composers or their origins, but I believed to have recognized some national styles. When I received information about the chosen composers, I could see that in all cases but one – the Spanish composer – I was wrong! This reveals how international the music life is today, and how much also the young composers travel already during their studies.

I was happy to understand that music can cross cultural borders, In today's difficult world, we artists and art lovers should actively use our international connections to advance the ideas and causes we believe in, to speak for the importance of generosity, equality and peace; we should be attentive to share the planetary resources and protect them, and act for freedom and access to dignity of living conditions for everybody.

I will now mention shortly some characteristics of the four finalist works, in the order we heard them in tonight's concert.

Reachings by Sebastian Hilli struck me by its sense of formal plan and its realization. The music is directional, yet surprising. The range of different musical characters is large and emotionally fulfilling. The fresh quality of music reaches the very end of the piece.

Fabià Santcovsky has found in cuadro de presencia an original and coherent orchestral universe. The piece is carefully planned, and also realized with patience and sensitive sonic imagination. The delicate, immaterial cells grow skillfully into strong orchestral tutti.

[difeʁãs] by Yiğit Kolat impressed me by its unusual and daring format and musical conception. This piece is notated in great detail to express the composer's ideas, and it advances in graphic gestures rather than measured music, even if the time is carefully notated.

loop-fantasy by Thomas Wally is like an obsessive and inventive series of variations on the musical idea exposed in the beginning of the piece. This work has much physical energy, and is realized with efficient and realistic knowledge of the orchestral instruments.

Having chosen myself all four works, it means I strongly believe in all of them. All these four composers are immensely talented. They all have different strengths, they are together complementary and these works open doors for the future of orchestral music.
Until the very last moment, the decision was really difficult to take. This year, there are no fourth or third prizes. The shared second prize goes to Fabià Santcovsky and Thomas Wally. The shared first prize goes to Sebastian Hilli and Yiğit Kolat. The sum of three million yen will be shared equally among the four winners.

[Edited by Tokyo Opera City Cultural Foundation]

Prizewinners

1st Prize
Sebastian Hilli (Finland)
Reachings for orchestra

Born in Helsinki, Finland in 1990. After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in composition the Sibelius-Akatemia Helsinki with Lauri Kilpiö, he spent a year at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna with prof. Michael Jarrell as his teacher. He is currently finishing his Master’s degree in composition with prof. Veli-Matti Puumala.
His works have been performed both in Finland and abroad, including Oslo, Vienna, New York, Copenhagen, Esbjerg, Dresden, Freiburg and Helsinki at various festivals. Ensembles such as Avanti!, Zagros, Curious Chamber Players, Esbjerg Ensemble, Cikada, Ensemble Mise-en and Ensemble Recherche have played his music.
http://www.sebastianhilli.com/

[Speech]
Dear audience, today is a very special day for me. Ever since I started composing, it has been a dream of mine to participate in the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award.
Reachings is my first piece for orchestra. It was also the most intense working period I had and included many sleepless nights. However, I feel that through this piece I have been able to express my musical thoughts in a more direct and honest way than ever before. Even though this experience is coming to an end now, it still at this very moment feels surreal having Reachings premiered in Tokyo in such a prestigious location.
It has been a great honor for me to be part of this experience and I would like to thank all who have been involved in it. First of all, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and Maestro Kazumasa Watanabe for a dedicated and excellent performance. The piece demands a lot from the players and I am thankful for all the hard work they have done with Reachings. I would also like to thank the members of the Tokyo Opera City Cultural Foundation, President Mr. Shunsuke Wada, Mr. Tetsuo Ikeda and Mr. Shin Sato, for the hospitality and making this competition possible. I admire the support the organization has for young composers to write new, innovative music for orchestra. This kind of encouraging attitude is truly unique and invaluable. I also would like to address a special thank to producer Mr. Jun Sawahashi for his assistance and dedication during the whole competition, and for making us feel so welcome during our stay in Tokyo.
I am also grateful for judge Kaija Saariaho for her helpful advice and comments on the piece. It has been inspiring to meet you.
As the title of my piece refers to "reaching" for something, I feel I have reached something today which I will never forget. Thank you very much.

1st Prize
Yiğit Kolat (Turkey)
[difeʁãs] for orchestra

Born in Ankara, Turkey in 1984. He, who described as "a voice of integrity and vision," (P. Sheppard-Skaerved) has garnered international acclaim and awards for his compositions, including the Queen Elisabeth Competition (Finalist, 2013), and the 7ème Concours International de Composition Henri Dutilleux (2nd Prize, 2012). His works have been performed and premiered by leading ensembles and performers including Solistes de L'Orchestre de Tours, Nieuw Ensemble, Talea Ensemble, Seattle Symphony, the Presidential Symphony Orchestra of Turkey, Pascal Gallois, Donatienne Michel-Dansac, and Peter Sheppard-Skaerved. He is a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Washington, studying with Joël-François Durand.
http://www.yigitkolat.com/

[Speech]
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to begin my words by thanking the people who made this competition possible. President of the Tokyo Opera City Cultural Foundation Wada-san, Managing Director Ikeda-san, General Manager Sato-san, and Producer Sawahashi-san. They were the best hosts imaginable.
Maestro Watanabe and the musicians of the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra gave life to our music with their meticulous work, commitment, support and patience. It was an honor to work with them. I also would like to thank Maestra Saariaho. It has been a great privilege to have her consider our works and to have her invaluable suggestions and support in the rehearsal process.
Lastly, I would like to thank you all for being with us here today and for supporting the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award, one of the most unique musical events in the world. Over the years, the Takemitsu Award has become a meeting point for young composers who strive to think beyond trends and conventions, who value developing their craftsmanship rather than their résumés, and who seek to explore unchartered fields of musical expression without losing their connection with the poetics of music. One could say that today's contemporary music scene is sharply divided between conformist attitudes and superficial inventiveness. It is a great comfort to know that there is a major event like the Takemitsu Award, which supports young composers who wish to take an alternative route. Domo arigato gozaimasu.

2nd Prize
Fabià Santcovsky (Spain)
cuadro de presencia for orchestra

Born in Barcelona, Spain in 1989. He enters into the music during his teens through the guitar and the electric guitar, and the compositional approach is present already from the very first moment in his relation to the instrument. After having started Physics at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, he will enter the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya to study Composition in 2009. It is necessary to mention the invaluable support of Gabriel Brnčić, Mauricio Sotelo, Manel Rodeiro, Marco Stroppa and Ramon Lazkano for his development as composer. He is currently studying the Master in Composition at the Universität der Künste Berlin with Prof. Daniel Ott.
https://soundcloud.com/fabia-santcovsky/

[Speech]
Dear ladies and gentlemen, honestly only good words can come from my speech. The deep preservation of Toru Takemitsu's legacy, the profound belief in the creation of new music, and the materialization of an extremely professional framework where these creations can happen, are for me the three treasured values of this exceptional award. This award is unique and is recognized around the world. It is an honor to be here.
In these times of several crises, the art and more concretely the music get to be endangered if their supporting structures are abandoned or neglected and this has already happened in other parts of the globe.
Here I've met Tokyo Opera City Cultural Foundation, an amazing place that gives to art such an important space and a major presence in the Japanese society. This is wonderful and I feel so fortunate I had the chance to come here and experience this for myself through this competition.
I want to express my most sincere gratitude to Ms Kaija Saariaho. By giving her time, effort and knowledge for judging in this competition, she assumed an invaluable responsibility and this is a big present for the young composers.
President Wada Shunsuke san, Managing Director Ikeda Tetsuo san, General Manager Sato Shin san, thank you so much for your deep commitment to this project and for believing and making it real through this infrastructure. Thank you very much to Watanabe Kazumasa san and the musicians of the magnificent Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. All the sound of today comes from your enormous professionality and dedication. Thank you for having the ears so open to listen to the musical wishes of the composers. Many, many thanks to Sawahashi Jun san who was so attentive and generous to us. He put all his spirit to make all function at its best.
Thanks to my colleague participants for their music and effort, and for sharing this competition with me. And last and not least, thank you dear audience from Tokyo. You are who complete our music through your listening this evening. Domo arigato gozaimasu.

2nd Prize
Thomas Wally (Austria)
loop-fantasy for orchestra

Born in Vienna, Austria in 1981. Thomas Wally studied composition and violin at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna and spent an exchange year at the Sibelius-Akatemia Helsinki. In 2008 he won the 3rd prize in the international music+culture composition competition. In 2009 and 2012 He received the Austrian State Scholarship for Composition and in 2009 won the Helmut Sohmen Composition Competition with his violin concerto. In October 2010 he received the Outstanding Artist Award from the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture. In 2012 he received the "Förderungspreis der Stadt Wien" for composition. His music has been performed in Europe, in Teheran, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires and New York. Since 2012 he teaches "Historische Satztechniken" at the University of Music and Performing Arts.

[Speech]
Dear ladies and gentlemen, herewith I want to express my deep gratitude that you made a dream come true. To be honest, a dream I did not expect to come true.
One morning in December, I woke up, looked at my mobile phone and saw that I received a call from an unknown strange number. My first thought was that some Austrian company wanted to know my opinion about a vacuum cleaner that I actually had not bought. So I didn't call back. Soon I received a second call by this number, but I didn't answer it. Then I received a message on my mobile box and I deeply regret that I didn't film my face when I listened to the message because it wasn't a company dealing in vacuum cleaners but it was Mr. Jun Sawahashi telling me that I had made it to the final of the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award. This was the beginning of my dream coming true.
So I really want to thank with all my heart the Tokyo Opera City Cultural Foundation for giving young composers this amazing opportunity. Thank you Mr. President Shunsuke Wada, Mr. Tetsuo Ikeda, Mr. Shin Sato, and last but not least thank you dear Mr. Jun Sawahashi. Arigato.
Then I want to thank composer Kaija Saariaho for putting trust in our scores and us composers. Thank you for considering our works worthy of this award, worthy of being presented here in this amazing hall, with this amazing orchestra and in this amazing institution.
And last but not least, I want to thank Mr. Kazumasa Watanabe and the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra for their professional, intensive and passionate work. It was an immense joy and honor to have the possibility of working with these artists.
Finally, thank you all again for making this dream come true, and thank you audience for listening to my music and to my speech. Thank you, arigato, kiitos and vielen vielen tausend Dank!



4 Finalists selected for Toru Takemitsu Composition Award 2015 [Judge: Kaija Saariaho] (19/Dec/2014)
information about TORU TAKEMITSU Composition Award Next: TORU TAKEMITSU Composition Award 2016 (Judge: Toshi Ichiyanagi)

For further information:
Tokyo Opera City Cultural Foundation
3-20-2 Nishi-shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 163-1403 JAPAN
Tel; +81 3 5353 0770, Fax; +81 3 5353 0771

Year 2017

Heinz Holliger (Switzerland)

Year 2018

Unsuk Chin (Korea)

[Application deadline]
29 September 2017 [Fri]


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