Photo by David Adamcyk
Composition alumnus Yoshiaki Onishi ’07MM, ’08AD won the 2011 Gaudeamus Prize, it was announced yesterday. The prestigious prize was awarded after the closing concert of the Gaudeamus Music Week at Museum Speelklok in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
The international jury unanimously selected Onishi, born 1981 in Japan, from the thirteen nominees. The prize was awarded by Aleid Wolfsen, the mayor of Utrecht. The jury consisted of Tadeusz Wielecki (Poland), Miguel Azguime (Portugal) and Rozalie Hirs (The Netherlands).
“Winning the prize was the last thing I was expecting at the Gaudeamus Muziekweek,” wrote Onishi in an email. “I was focused on a fruitful collaboration with the Nieuw Ensemble, which played my piece with vitality and intellect. With thirteen nominees and their thirteen completely different stylistic traits, I thought anybody could win. Hearing my name announced at the award ceremony seemed almost too surreal.”
He continued, “Nobody knows what a prize may bring to his/her life. But in accepting this prize, I feel that I am given a reminder and a huge responsibility to fulfill in the coming years. That is, I must keep learning, improve my métiers as a musician, and become a better person.”
The Gaudeamus Music Week, an international festival for new music, is a meeting place for numerous young composers. 385 compositions from over thirty countries were submitted for consideration; thirteen compositions were nominated for the prize and were performed during the festival. Onishi’s Départ dans… was performed last Friday night by the Nieuw Ensemble.
Two years ago, YSM alum Ted Hearne ’09MMA won the 2009 Gaudeamus Prize for selected movements from his piece Katrina Ballads.
The jury stated that Onishi
“is a master of the material, and also continuously shows the ‘drive’ to really make music. The winning piece was written from a strong, creative driving force. In his work he created his own world with its own rules and sounds, a seemingly inescapable form with an extraordinary musical interaction between the musicians. The jury is looking forward to discover how this remarkable talent will develop.” MORE