Toru Takemitsu Composition Award

4 Finalists selected for Toru Takemitsu Composition Award 2016
[Judge: Toshi Ichiyanagi]

2 Dec, 2015

Toshi Ichiyanagi, judge of the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award 2016, has chosen the following 4 orchestral works out of 97 entries from 33 countries eligibly accepted by 30 September 2015. Screening was done with the anonymous scores having only their titles.
These 4 nominated works will be performed on 29 May 2016 at the Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall : Takemitsu Memorial for Mr. Ichiyanagi’s final judgement. Here is the list of finalists in order of their entry.

Applications for 2016(PDF/145KB)

Year 2016 Toshi Ichiyanagi (Japan)
© Koh Okabe

Finalists (in order of entry)

Michael Seltenreich (Israel)


Born in Tel-Aviv, Israel in 1988. Native of Israel where his works are regularly performed by some of the country’s finest orchestras & ensembles, among them, The Israel Philharmonic, The Israel Opera and The National Radio Orchestra. Until he left for Paris to continue his studies he has been employed by the Israel Opera as their lead orchestrator. He is the recipient of several domestic and international awards and is the youngest composer ever to be awarded the 1st prize in the Salvatore Martirano Memorial Composition Award, and most recently he won the Arthur Friedman prize for “an outstanding orchestral work” and The Frank Robert Abell Young Composer Competition for New Chamber Music. Completed his Bachelor’s degree at Tel-Aviv University; This is his debut year in New York city where he is currently pursuing his Master’s degree at The Juilliard School under the direction of Matthias Pintscher.

Myunghoon Park (Korea)

triple sensibilities for orchestra

Born in Seoul, Korea in 1980. He completed his composition studies, first with Zong-gu Yi at the Hanyang University in Seoul, then with York Höller, Rebecca Saunders, Michael Beil and Johannes Schöllhorn at the Cologne Conservatory (instrumental and electronic composition) and completed his studies in Excellence-study for composition with José M. Sánchez-Verdú at the Robert Schumann Conservatory in Düsseldorf. He won prizes at several competitions: Grand Prix at the International Isang Yun Composition Prize, awards in Composition Competition of the WDR and the Cologne Conservatory, Gaudeamus Competition and the finalist in the Queen Elisabeth Competition for Composers in Brussels. He is the artistic director of the Ensemble Eins and teaches composition at the Hanyang University in Seoul.

Alice Nakamura (Japan)

Nacres for Orchestra

Born in Tokyo, Japan in 1982. She received a master’s degree from the graduate school of Tokyo College of Music in 2007. She studied composition with Akira Nishimura, Noriko Hisada, and Sho Ueda, piano performance with Yukiko Takeshima and Setsuko Miyahara, piano duo with Yulia Kozlova, and jazz piano with Bill Augustine and Yuki Makita. She has been awarded the top prize in the 2nd President’s Prize of Tokyo College of Music, second prize in Composition at the 82nd Music Competition of Japan, and more than 80 awards including Red Baton award in the Red Stick International Animation Festival in 2009 in video work "Lost Utopia" which she provided the music. Her recent work includes "RCH(NH2)COOH for Clarinet in B♭& Pianoforte" (2013), "32.7℃ for Vibraphone (with Cymbal) and Pianoforte" (2014), "WEEW WOW for Wind Orchestra and Strings" (2015), "Phra-a-phay-ma-nii for Men’s chorus" (2015) among others.

Hirofumi Mogi (Japan)

“Let’s speak in Wondrous Words!” for Orchestra

Born in Chiba prefecture, Japan in 1988. He had finished master course of Tokyo College of music with the major in composition in 2014. He had studied composition under Shin-ichiro Ikebe, Tomiko Kohjiba, Junmei Suzuki, Akira Nishimura, Keiko Harada, Yutaka Fujiwara and Masaki Murata. He had studied conducting under Yasuhiko Shiozawa, Yasufumi Tokito, Yoshihisa Noguchi. Now he works for composition Department at Tokyo College of music as a composition member staff. He had received a composition prize with the piece of Violin Concerto "Memories of wave". The prize was organized by Yamagata Symphony Orchestra, and 3rd prize and Hatanaka prize of Sogakudo Japanese Song composition competition in 2015. He became the finalists of the international Composition contest Valentino Bucchi prize in 2015. His piece "Specimens of time" for solo timpanist and 4 percussionist is published with Tokyo Hustle Copy.

Comments for the Final / as a single judge
for the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award 2016

In many of the submitted scores, I was able to observe musical thinking regarding themes, concepts and imagination from a wide variety of viewpoints and perspectives. Witnessing these scenes, I felt that even for the young people of the next generation, the orchestra remains something that has many possibilities and hopes for the unknown, and in this sense, the judging process was very rewarding.

I spent a huge amount of time and effort in reading the scores, but what I found most encouraging was that the music of the young composers and their attitude towards the orchestra were supported by passion and desire to perceive contemporary composition as pure, serious music.

The display of a wide range of extended instrumental techniques, unique ways of using microtones, unequal temperament or various multiphonics (particularly in woodwind instruments) and the ability to notate them clearly, the multi-layered treatment of time by those aiming for a free and non-standardized content, and the change of orchestral layout seem to have become established as an universal language for the young composers.

As is often said, following the postwar music of the second half of the twentieth century, an era that was difficult but in which we could celebrate our ideals, we are now in the midst of a so-called postmodern environment. In such circumstances, it is easy to be swayed into thinking that it is acceptable to compose any kind of music, yet these young people have not fallen into that trap and they seem to be aware that they are composing serious art music which will lead to the creativity of the future. This I found reassuring.

Quite a few of the submitted works have attempted to break conventionalism, and also many of them are full of experimental and avant-garde spirit; I am hopeful that such works will create an exciting situation.

Taking into consideration the ideals of the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award, which continues to be held by the Tokyo Opera City Cultural Foundation honoring its fundamental spirit, I have come to the conclusion that the following four works will be selected for the final.


The work is filled with the ability to develop music through its lively ideas, and I feel the rise in tension. It demonstrates a combination of appropriate use of each instrument and sophisticated orchestration technique, which highlights the presence of the instrument groups in each section and is also reflected in the structure of the work.
There is a refinement in the way the nuances are brought out, and this conveys the breadth of the music and richness of expression. In this regard, it is an individual work.

triple sensibilities

In this work, the texture of the music is heightened by thoughtful and careful treatment of instruments and their effective use. In the consistent flow of the music, sounds come and go between the instruments that permeate into each other, and the sensitivity to tonal color is enhanced. This makes the whole work resonate with delicacy and power.
It gives plenty of opportunities not only to the soft-sounding instruments but also to the brass section, and extended techniques are used in a natural way reflecting the composer’s sharp sensibility.


The work is a musical analysis of a vivid but non-descriptive image of a visual object and an in-depth exploration of its content, and I observed a richness of ideas throughout. There is a necessity for the utilization of microtones which appear in the second half of the overall structure and highlight the image further in a brilliant way. Reading the score, I was increasingly drawn into the work and I felt my interest in the music expand infinitely. One can say this is a rare work with a poetic atmosphere.

“Let’s speak in Wondrous Words!”

The use of rhythm and portamento – two contrasting elements – is distinctive. Throughout the work, I could observe well thought-out ideas. In the transitional sections of the music, the sound world that the composer calls “Wondrous Words” appears. This feels close to “Johakyu” (introduction, development and climax) in traditional Japanese arts, and it helps build up the tension towards the subsequent section. The texture that combines subtle movements is maintained up to the end without slackening, and the sound environment in which numerous notes are omnipresent is sustained until the end and engages the listener.

Toshi Ichiyanagi
November, 2015
(translation: Nahoko Gotoh)

Final Concert

15:00, Sun. 29 May, 2016
Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall: Takemitsu Memorial

Toru Takemitsu Composition Award 2016: Final Concert

Toshi Ichiyanagi, judge
Kentaro Kawase, conductor
Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra

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