Magazine article Czech Music

Musica Nova 2009: "A Composition Should Be Not Only Authentic but Also Comprehensible to the Ear ..."

Magazine article Czech Music

Musica Nova 2009: "A Composition Should Be Not Only Authentic but Also Comprehensible to the Ear ..."

Article excerpt

The 18th year of the international competition in electro-acoustic (EA) music, MUSICA NOVA 2009, attracted 58 entries from 25 countries. The international jury chaired by the composer R. Ruzicka made its decisions on the 13th-15th of November 2009. Most of the composers in the competition came from countries with a tradition in this field of music (Great Britain, Germany, Italy, the USA and Japan) but there were also entrants from Belarus and Iran, for example, and quite a large group from Argentina.

In the pure EA music category the winner, as last year, was the Japanese composer Yota Kobayashi (born 1980) living in Canada (born 1980). This year he won with his piece Kakusei (Awakening), with honourable mentions for the German composer Clemens von Reusner (born 1957) for his piece Ho and You Chung Tseng (born 1960) from Taiwan, for his piece Metascape. Other finalists were Michael Clarke from Great Britain, the French composer living in Canada Georges Forget, the French composer Charles Platel, the Argentinian Guillermo Pozzatti and the Czech Michal Rataj. In the category for a composition combining electronic music with an acoustic element the winner was the Italian composer Nicoletta Andreuccetti with her piece for live processed voice S'ilfosse foco, and an honourable mention went to the Korean composer living in the USA Kyong Mee Choi for her piece for piano, percussion and electronics To Unformed. The other finalists in this category were Joao Pedro Oliveira from Portugal and Jorge Levi Sad from Argentina. The award for a Czech composer went to Michal Rataj for his composition I nod vitrjsem marnejsi [I am Vainer even than the Wind], which he also presented at the Ostrava Days festival this year.

The winners' concert was held on the 4th of December 2009 in the Inspirace Theatre (Music Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts) in the presence of the laureates von Reusner and Andreuccetti. The project was supported by the Czech Ministry of Culture and the City of Prague. As is traditional it was organised in collaboration with the Czech Music Information Centre, the Academy of Performing Arts, and Slovak Radio under the aegis of the Czech Musical Council.

The Prague Competition has a broad appeal to composers because it makes clear that it does not give priority to any particular style, fashional trend or technological component. The assessment is purely of the creative artistic results. The only condition is that EA music must form an important element in the composition. An essential criterion in judging is the extent to which the composer has gone beyond software resources that simply produce the illusion of complex individual composing by layering and special effects, and how far he or she has gone beyond mere fashional trends, eclecticism or (among older and successful composers) avoids getting stuck in a rut. The competition also deliberately remains concerned only with music, i.e. there is no multimedia category, since in this area there is a huge and heterogeneous amount of production and it is hard to compare the results. Personally I also think that an important criterion is physiological effect which EA music also explores, since for example contemporary conceptual sound creations - what is known as the creation of "sound walls", sharp breaks in dynamics and so on -, produce unusual stress on the organism. They can be regarded as a unique appeal in the sense of socially critical expressionism because they are often made in industrial areas, or as an expression of sexually motivated dynamism. …

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