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Annika Socolofsky wins the Gaudeamus Award 2021

The American music pioneer Annika Socolofsky has won the Gaudeamus Award 2021. The young composer-performer received our prestigious incentive prize for young music pioneers on Sunday 12 September during the final concert by Black Page Orchestra of Gaudeamus 2021 in TivoliVredenburg in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Four composers were nominated for the Award this year: Annika Socolofsky, Jenny Beck, Gen Tanaka and Matthew Ricketts. Their music was played throughout the festival and each of them wrote a new piece especially for the festival, for ensemble VONK or the Zöllner-Roche Duo. The four composers were selected from a total of 233 submissions from all over the world. They were originally nominated for the Gaudeamus Award of 2020, but because of travel restrictions in regards to Covid-19 there was no Award ceremony that year.

The jury – consisting of composers Karen Tanaka (who won the Award in 1987), Calliope Tsoupaki and Oscar Bettison – said the following about the four nominees:

Annika is a unique refined performer-composer, whose music embraces disparate stylistic elements to create moving and passionate art.

Matthew is a very accomplished composer, skilled in orchestration, who has already defined his highly developed musical voice.

Jenny creates delicate and sensitive soundscapes that achieve complexity in a disarmingly simple way. We would like to see her explore and broaden her musical palette.

Gen is a profound thinker who creates ecstatic sound worlds. We would like to see him expand his musical ideas to further mirror his thinking.

The Award consists of a commission to write a new piece for an upcoming edition of the festival. The physical form of the Award has been designed by visual artist Nuni Weisz, and is an instrument / sculpture named Inner Voice Amplifier, that allows you to hear your own voice the way it sounds when it leaves your body.

Winning the Gaudeamus Award often means an international recognition for a composer, and many have jumpstarted their career after winning. Look at the full list of Award winners since 1957.

Left to right: Calliope Tsoupaki, Karen Tanaka, Oscar Bettison, Annika Socolofsky, Martijn Buser

Photos © Anna van Kooij