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Yoshiaki Onishi (photo: Herre Vermeer)
Yoshiaki Onishi (photo: Herre Vermeer)

Yesterday, after the closing concert of the Gaudeamus Muziekweek at Museum Speelklok in Utrecht, the winner of the Gaudeamus Prize 2011 was announced. From the thirteen nominees the international jury, consisting of Tadeusz Wielecki (Poland), Miguel Azguime (Portugal) and Rozalie Hirs (The Netherlands), unanimously chose for Yoshiaki Onishi (1981) from Japan. The prize was awarded by the mayor of Utrecht: Aleid Wolfsen. Andrew McIntosh (1985, USA) and Wei-Chieh Lin (1982, Taiwan) received an honorable mention for their submitted work. In total, 385 compositions from over thirty countries were submitted for the Gaudeamus Prize.

The Gaudeamus Muziekweek, the international festival for new music, is a meeting place for a lot of young composers. Over the past week, all thirteen nominated compositions were performed during the festival. Départ dans… from Yoshiaki Onishi, who lives in North America, was performed last Friday night by the Nieuw Ensemble. Voices and Echo I by Andrew McIntosh was performed on Wednesday by Elisabeth Smalt and Vincent Happ. And on Monday September 5, ensemble Insomnio performed the composition Tracing the Shadows of Broken Time from Wei-Chieh Lin.

Judges’ report

The jury was very positive about Yoshiaki Onishi and is looking forward to discover how this remarkable talent will develop. (Click here to read the report)

The Gaudeamus Prize consists of € 4,550 intended as a commission for a new work to be performed at the Gaudeamus Muziekweek 2012. For many composers this prize means international recognition and a stepping stone to start off their careers. Composers with an honorable mention are invited to return next year and submit a new or recent (uncommissioned) work to be performed at the festival.

Yoshiaki Onishi

Composer and conductor Yoshiaki Onishi is currently studying composition at Colombia University where he also teaches courses in Music Humanities. His most recent project is a piece for violinist Ari Streisfeld from the JACK Quartet, as part of a cycle of pieces for string instruments. As a conductor, Onishi has stood before a wide variety of companies, from small ensembles to large orchestras. He has been asked to lead the Iktus Percussion quartet, and to conduct a work by Annie Gosfield for the MIVOS Quartet.

For a video of the winning composition, click here. For a video of the composer talking about the composition, click here.


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