Toru Takemitsu Composition Award

4 Finalists selected for Toru Takemitsu Composition Award 2012
[Judge: Toshio Hosokawa]

08 Dec, 2011

Mr. Toshio Hosokawa, judge of the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award 2012, has chosen the following 4 orchestral works out of 90 entries from 31 countries eligibly accepted by 30 September 2011. Screening was done with the anonymous scores having only their titles. These four nominated works will be performed on 27 May 2012 at the Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall : Takemitsu Memorial for Mr. Hosokawa's final judgement. Here is the list of finalists in order of their entry.

Applications for 2012(PDF/123KB)

Year 2012 Toshio Hosokawa (Japan)
© Kaz Ishikawa

Finalists (in order of entry)

Federico Gardella (Italy)

Mano d'erba per orchestra

Born in Milan, Italy in 1979. He studied composition at the Conservatory of Milan graduating with Alessandro Solbiati and at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome with Azio Corghi. His works have been commissioned by Divertimento Ensemble, Orchestra della Toscana, Orchestra I Pomeriggi Musicali, Résonance Contemporaine and Trieste Prima. His music has been performed in many festivals and music seasons (Bologna: Accademia Filarmonica, Boston: Harvard University, Florence: Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Lodz: Lodz Philharmonic Hall, Milan: Festival di Milano Musica, New York: Columbia University, Parma: Traiettorie/Casa della Musica, Riga: Festival Arena/Great Guild Concert Hall, Rome: Auditorium Parco della Musica, Royaumont: Voix Nouvelles, Turin: MITO SettembreMusica, Unione Musicale).

Ioannis Angelakis (Greece)

une œuvre pour l'écho des rêves (II) pour orchestre

Born in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1988. He studied in the Department of Music in Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and he received his undergraduate degree in composition. His principal teacher was prof. Christos Samaras. Furthermore, he studied harmony and he also obtained a diploma degree in guitar studying with N. Hatzieleutheriou, in Athens. Other studies include Counterpoint, Analysis, Fugue and Orchestration in Thessaloniki. Since fall 2011 he has been living in Boston where he is studying in a master's degree in composition in Boston University.

Masato Kimura (Japan)

I do hope to sleep in the silent universe

Born in Tokyo, Japan in 1981. Having grown up in environment without relation to music, he has started to learn the piano by himself being attracted to sense of harmony and a color of electric sounds of Ryuichi Sakamoto's music, then studied composition. While he studied Western classical music, mainly researched composition technique from the Japanese composer's work. He qualified 'The Music Competition of Japan', 'Toru Takemitsu Composition Award 2009' (Judge: Helmut Lachenmann), and 'Takefu Composition Award'. At present, he studies work of electronic music by himself. His composition style is based on repetitive motion. He makes the chaos phenomenon of nature project on it. He doesn't consider music as an intellectual structure, is interested in expressing spirituality to space-time.

Shiori Usui (Japan)


Born in Saitama, Japan in 1981. She moved to Scotland, UK at the age of seventeen. She studied composition at the University of Edinburgh with Nigel Osborne, Peter Nelson and Marina Adamia. Her works have been performed in Japan, Europe and USA, and she was a composer in residence for BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra from October 2010 until February 2011. She has worked in both instrumental music and motion capturing sensors, and many of her compositions are inspired by the theme 'using the body as a musical instrument'. She enjoys playing in the improvisation groups in Edinburgh, UK and Lisbon, Portugal as a noise vocalist and pianist.

© Tobias Feltus

Comments for the Final / as a single judge
for the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award 2012

In the past years, I have been invited to work as one of the judges at international composition competitions once or twice a year, which in general I have gladly accepted. I feel grateful when I can get opportunities to face different types of works, and see how other judges read scores and interpret music. Then it becomes clearer what my colleague composers think on reading music, and what they want out of it. Composing a piece of music is a solitary (lonely) procedure, and composers very seldom expose the depth of their (our) musical mind. But, by joining a group of judges, we can get to know other composers more deeply, and learn a lot from them in due course.

Besides, being an Asian and continuing to work more or less apart from long European traditions, I am very much stimulated and even educated to find out the musical thoughts and motives of Western composers.

To play the role of a single judge for the Toru Takemitsu Composition Awards, however, has proved to be a still more solitary walk than treading the narrow path of music writing. The 90 submitted scores I have read were of very high standard, if excepting just a few, and it was manifest that in each of these scores, there was a direct, good will of the composer trying to grasp his or her own images of music, and to express them earnestly. I honestly found it very, very difficult to have to select only four out of all the works.

After all, I had to get determined to choose the works I myself should like to listen to, according to how I personally think of this field of art. In contemporary music, I believe it essential that composers have solid ideas, plus thoughts and concepts behind them. It is also imperative for such ideas to be not just intellectually logical, but come from the bottom of the composers' heart (with their inner ears used well). Also, as this particular competition is for orchestral works, I have looked for those works in which the medium of orchestra, reared for centuries in the West, has been redefined with originality and reorganized freshly.

Mano d'erba

A very tasteful work filled with musical sensitivity. The piece starts with one note, then expands toward large fields of various registers, and goes back to serenity again. The composer listens well to every transient nuance of the sounds passing by, as if the whole scene were to depict the flowing of the natural winds. Out of the orchestra, we almost get the sonorities of nature, the movements of winds and waves. The climax is reached by a long stretch of development, after which remains a world of tranquillity, purified by a bass flute solo and high string tones, immersed in airy sounds.

une œuvre pour l'écho des rêves (II)

The music meticulously written, each note well selected, this work is composed by a person who truly listens to his or her inner voice and ponders over it. The orchestration is exquisite: harp, piano, celesta and vibraphone drawing in heavenly colors. Some abrupt tutti forte around the middle, are they symbolizing any memory of a former nightmare? Although the well written score makes one take it as a good piece of music at first sight, then one can not help feeling gradually that there ought to be something rather out of ordinary in the mind of this particular composer.

I do hope to sleep in the silent universe

Sonorities sewn originally as well as sensitively, this work unfolds itself in quietude, like a picture scroll, confiding to us a certain secret story. Mostly pianissimo, we barely hear what little is in between audible and inaudible. There possibly is a hidden sense of inclination toward the spiritual Orient. I see some problems in notation and also among extended techniques, which may probably cause not a little hardship for the piece to be rehearsed and performed, so I have waited until the final moment to make my own decision on this piece, but I have to admit, I couldn't resist the temptation of listening to this composer's very curious sound world, live.


With reference to 'Character Heads' (especially those treating laughter) by Franz Xaver Messerschmidt, an idiosyncratically expressive 18th century Austrian sculptor, this work is adventurous enough to pursue the act of laughter in terms of music. The musicians cry out with various extended techniques, and the orchestra becomes an organ or a device for producing laughter as though out of a human body. Can it be possible that the medium of orchestra should bring forth and spread out such a strange, hilarious, profound nature of our laughter, the most human of all human activities?

There were actually 11 pieces that I really wished to listen to, and I felt hesitant and almost embarrassed in finally deciding on the present 4 works. I must confess, therefore, that more pieces, unfortunately not to be heard this time, than might be imagined are of great worth in themselves.

Toshio Hosokawa
18 November, 2011
(translation: Kunihiko Goto)

Final Concert

15:00, Sun. 27 May, 2012
Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall: Takemitsu Memorial

Toru Takemitsu Composition Award 2012: Final Concert

Toshio Hosokawa, judge
Naohiro Totsuka, conductor
Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra

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