Toru Takemitsu Composition Award




© Philippe Gontier / Editions Salabert

Final Concert

Sunday 30 May 2021 | Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall : Takemitsu Memorial
Kanako Abe, conductor / Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra


1st Prize

Kohsuke Negishi (Japan)
Moonlight Hidden in the Clouds for orchestra
Cash Award
1,200,000 yen

2nd Prize

Giorgio Francesco Dalla Villa (Italy)
BREAKING A MIRROR for orchestra
Cash Award
800,000 yen

3rd Prize

Jakob Gruchmann (Austria)
TEHOM für großes Orchester
Cash Award
500,000 yen

Minchang Kang (Korea)
The echo of shadows, hallucination… for grand orchestra
Cash Award
500,000 yen

Comments by Pascal Dusapin, judge

(Recorded on May 30, 2021 at Palais des congrès de Paris)

Before announcing the selection, I would love to talk about and to give some words about the works, in the order of the concert.

Moonlight Hidden in the Clouds by Kohsuke Negishi:
I enjoyed the fluidity of the form expressed in an intelligible and natural fashion. The figures and phrases unfold organically throughout the work, always well orchestrated, running through all the instrumental groups with great presence. Great feel and respect for the instrumental gestures, so close to Takemitsu’s style.

The echo of shadows, hallucination… by Minchang Kang:
I liked the design of the melodic patterns. There is no orchestral overload, but rather simple and beautiful gestures, soft and lively, always very controlled in their expression. Great elegance of the orchestral form, no timbral opacity, beautiful harmonic spaces composed with refinement.

TEHOM by Jakob Gruchmann:
I liked how this orchestra was written to the limits of its expressive possibilities with real inspiration and risk knowingly taken by the composer, with great commitment. I noticed a great virtuosic style of writing, fully aware of the orchestra, authentic lyrical force, certain radicalism in the subject.

TBREAKING A MIRROR by Giorgio Francesco Dalla Villa:
I enjoyed in this piece the development and form always arranged in a very intelligible and minimalistic fashion, an airy and transparent orchestration with a great mastery of the instrumental groups, often their timbres clearly exposed, rich harmonies without compression. The subject is unambiguous, well designed and very present.

Now the announcement of the prize.
The first prize is [Moonlight Hidden in the Clouds by] Kohsuke Negishi, awarded 1,200,000 yen.
The second prize is [BREAKING A MIRROR by] Giorgio Francesco Dalla Villa, awarded 800,000 yen.
The [joint] third prize is [TEHOM by] Jakob Gruchmann and [The echo of shadows, hallucination… by] Minchang Kang, each awarded 500,000 yen.

Edited by Tokyo Opera City Cultural Foundation


1st Prize
Kohsuke Negishi (Japan)
Moonlight Hidden in the Cloudsfor orchestra

Born in Saitama, Japan in 1998. He won the first prize as well as the audience award at the 37th JSCM Award for Composers for his chamber work and the 31st Asahi Composition Award for his choral suite both in 2020. He is currently a student at the Nihon University College of Art (Master Course), and has studied composition under Hiroyuki Itoh.

Hello, I am Kohsuke Negishi, the recipient of the first prize in the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award 2021.
I am grateful for this opportunity to have my work premiered, and during the last few days from the rehearsals to the concert, I have learnt so many things. I am grateful for this valuable experience.
Conductor Kanako Abe and the members of the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra showed amazing commitment to the music, and I felt that all four works sounded splendid. Although it is essentially a competition, rather than wanting to win, I found joy in being able to watch and learn from professional musicians and observe closely how the works of the other three finalists took shape.
Although it is a pity I could not meet Mr. Pascal Dusapin and the other finalists in person, I feel it’s significant that our works were on the same programme, and that we could listen to each other’s music.
The fact that this concert could take place under current restrictions with stringent control measures is highly significant not only for the preservation of the arts and culture, but for their development as well.
This composition came to fruition thanks to the help of many people including of course the musicians, but also the Tokyo Opera City Cultural Foundation, Hustle Copy and many more. I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in this work. Thank you very much.
2nd Prize
Giorgio Francesco Dalla Villa (Italy)
BREAKING A MIRRORfor orchestra

Born in Milan, Italy in 1986. He completed his academic studies in composition in 2017 at Milan’s “Giuseppe Verdi” Conservatory studying with Paolo Rimoldi. Since 2018 he has been attending Fabio Vacchi’s specializing courses at Fiesole Music School. After being selected by the jury chaired by Ennio Morricone as finalist in “Michele Novaro Composition Competition 2018”, he won the “Mameli Prize” and, in 2020, the special prize of “Péter Eötvös Contemporary Music Foundation” awarded by the Central European String Quartet. His musical achievements include the recording of two pieces with Romano Pucci, flutist from “Teatro Alla Scala Orchestra”, and the recent selection as finalist at the “Alba Rosa Foundation composition competition” of Amsterdam.

Hello everybody. I am very glad to be in this position, speaking to you in this moment. It is a unique moment for me, because I had a dream. And I’m speaking about it in the past tense because today this dream has become real. But my dream was to write and to have performed a piece for orchestra. But as usual, reality sometimes goes over your expectations. In this case, I couldn’t have imaged to have my piece for orchestra played by such a great orchestra as the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Kanako Abe.
But moreover, now I am speaking as the second place of the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award, which is one of the best awards for young composers in the world. So this is really, really amazing. Furthermore, this award is dedicated to one of my best composers and inspiration, Toru Takemitsu, and I had the opportunity to be selected by the great composer Pascal Dusapin, who I have just met and it was a great pleasure. So I want to thank Maestro Dusapin for having selected me of course, but I also want to thank all the staff that worked to realize this award which is really incredible, and they treated me as if I am really important. I hope that new music, music from new composers will go on spreading through the world.
Music is the upper language of the humans. You don’t need to understand the idioms to understand music. We don’t have difference of race in music. So I hope that the possibility that I received today will be given to other young composers in the future.
As I have said, this is the arrival point in my dream. I feel as if the last 10-15 days could concentrate in these days. Also I feel as if it is a new starting point. I feel the energy to go ahead in this path. Thank you very much and I hope to see you soon. Good bye.
3rd Prize
Jakob Gruchmann (Austria)
TEHOMfür großes Orchester

Born in Salzburg, Austria in 1991. He studied composition (with Alexander Müllenbach, Gerd Kühr and Johannes Maria Staud) and music theory (with Ernst Ludwig Leitner, Christian Utz and Franz Zaunschirm) at the universities in Salzburg and Graz. He received the annual scholarship for music from the federal state of Salzburg in 2012. Since 2014 he has been teaching at the Gustav Mahler University (until 2019 conservatory) in Klagenfurt (Carinthia). In 2019 he was scholarship holder of the Université de composition “ARCO” in Marseille. In 2020 two of his pieces were performed in a portrait concert with the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg. His work currently comprises more than 70 compositions.

I am very happy that my composition TEHOM was selected to be performed in the final concert of Toru Takemitsu Composition Award. I want to say that this great competition is a really important opportunity for young composers, that their pieces can be performed by such a big and wonderful orchestra, which nowadays isn´t often possible for new music. When I remember writing the first note for this piece more than a year ago, it´s very moving and one of the most important experiences for me as a composer to hear this piece now. I am sure that I´ve learned a lot and grown during this process.
What I am very thankful for is that the communication with the organizers went so well and I could ask every question and got a lot of support. My thanks to the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and to conductor Kanako Abe for bringing my music to life. I also want to thank Pascal Dusapin for his effort in this competition. My warmest thanks also go to the organizers, especially Jun Sawahashi. They tried everything so that we can come to Japan and now put so much energy into making it possible that we can still be part of the concert.
I am sure this competition will continue to be an inspiration for many composers and I am deeply grateful that I could be part of the competition 2021.
3rd Prize
Minchang Kang (Korea)
The echo of shadows, hallucination...for grand orchestra

Born in Ulsan, South Korea in 1988. He studied composition in Han-yang University, Seoul, South Korea where he finished his Bachelor degree with mention ‘Summa Cum Laude’. In 2014, he was selected as ‘young composer of the year’ at his university and took part in the concert for the first prize of the year. The same year, he participated in the 42nd Pan music festival (ISCM Korea). Since 2019, he has been enrolling at the Strasbourg Conservatory for a master's degree in Prof. Daniel d’Adamo's class. He has also worked with ‘Ensemble imaginaire’ and ‘Quatuor Tana’, and one of his work was selected for the ‘Festival Musica’ in Strasbourg, France and was realized as a concert at France 3 broadcasting station.

Hello everyone. First of all, I would appreciate to Mr. Pascal Dusapin, all members of orchestra, the conductor and all the people who mobilized and devoted their time to realize my work.
This Toru Takemitsu Composition Award was a great experience and gave me the opportunity to participate in this event which has been impressive and very enriching for my life as a composer. I am completely grateful to have been selected for the finalists. By the way, it is a pity that I wasn't able to go to Japan due to the corona, although this award has given me great experience in Paris. I am honored that my orchestra work was performed by one of the best orchestras in the world, which is very beneficial for my studying and also my later works.
Thank you very much.

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