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Gaudeamus Award 2020 Nominees

The nominees for the Gaudeamus Award 2020 have been selected. Out of a record number of submissions of 799 works by 233 composers, the jury have selected a shortlist of four composers. The four composers that will participate in the Gaudeamus Muziekweek and compete for the Gaudeamus Award 2020 are:

The jury consisted this year of Greek-Dutch composer Calliope Tsoupaki, Jordanian-German composer Saed Haddad and British-American composer Oscar Bettison. To give more people the chance to submit their work, this year the age limit was raised from 30 to 35. In the first phase, the jury was presented all the submissions anonymously. From early on, the aim was to strive for a 50/50 gender balance.

“This year, there were 233 applicants, more than a two-fold increase over the year before. Although such a large amount of applications makes a choice of just four nominees very difficult, it is a great sign of the health of contemporary composition,” Oscar Bettison says.

When going through the submissions, Saed Haddad says that the jury searched for “compositional voices which were freed from the burden of the past (especially the last hundred years), which cherished the lyrical quality of music, which tried to convey an essence, substance – a deeper meaning than mere well-crafted sounding – and which had the potential to be individual voices.”

Bettison concludes: “Gen Tanaka, Annika Socolofsky, Matthew Ricketts and Jenny Beck are composers who, during the course of the judging, we kept on coming back to, whose music wouldn’t let us go. We sincerely believe that those who attend the Gaudeamus Muziekweek 2020 will feel the same.”

The Gaudeamus Award has been one of the most prestigious awards for young composers worldwide since 1957. Recent winners of the prize have been the American composer Kelley Sheehan in 2019, the Finnish composer Sebastian Hilli in 2018 and Dutch composer Aart Strootman in 2017. The Award will be presented during the Gaudeamus Muziekweek 2020, which will take place from 9 to 13 September at various locations in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Jury for the Gaudeamus Award 2020. L-r Calliope Tsoupaki, Saed Haddad, Oscar Bettison. Photo © Co Broerse