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Music pioneer Kelley Sheehan wins Gaudeamus Award 2019

The American music pioneer Kelley Sheehan (1989) is the winner of the Gaudeamus Award 2019. The young composer from Chicago received the prestigious incentive price for young music pioneers on Sunday 8 September from the hands of Minister Van Engelshoven during the closing concert of the Gaudeamus Muziekweek in TivoliVredenburg.

The jury – consisting of composers Clara Iannotta, Gerhard Stäbler and Yannis Kyriakides – was quoted saying about Sheehan:

“Kelley is a genuine sonic explorer working with adapted and extended objects. Her machine-like repetitions allow the listener to inhabit an uncanny noise world that almost begins to breathe. The compositions are embedded in transparent structures that draws you into an intimate and captivating environment. She is also a composer that is actively involved in the community and that is reflected in the integrity of the approach to her music practice.

Sheehan was one of the 95 composers who submitted their work for the Award. From the 95, five composers were nominated and invited to be part of the Gaudeamus Muziekweek 2019. Besides Sheehan, the nominated composers were Remy Siu, Nicholas Morrish, Scott Rubin and Stefan Maier. Three pieces of Sheehan were performed during the festival: Four Sharp Corners by Insomnio, Talk Circus by Slagwerk Den Haag and eyes on, that she wrote as a commission of Gaudeamus for Nadar Ensemble. Additionally, an installation version of her piece Circle Speak was part of the sound art expo Senses Working Overtime.

In opdracht van Gaudeamus en het K.F. Hein Fonds ontwierp beeldend kunstenaar Nuni Weisz dit jaar een trofee voor de Gaudeamus Award: een instrument met de naam Inner Voice Amplifier, waarmee je je eigen stem kunt horen zoals die klinkt wanneer hij je lichaam verlaat.

Gaudeamus and K.F. Hein Fonds commissioned visual artist Nuni Weisz this year to create a trophee for the Gaudeamus Award. She created a instrument/sculpture, entitled Inner Voice Amplier, that lets you hear your own voice as it sounds when it leaves your body.

Winning the Gaudeamus Award means an international recognition for composers and has been a kickstart of the career of many earlier winners. With winning the Award comes a commission to write a new piece for a next edition of the festival.

Gaudeamus Award - Martijn Buser, Gerhard Stäbler, Nicholas Morrish, Remy Siu, Kelley Sheehan, Ingrid van Engelshoven, Scott Rubin, Stefan Maier, Yannis Kyriakides, Clara Iannotta, Henk Heuvelmans - Anna van Kooij

L-R: Martijn Buser (programmer of Gaudeamus), Gerhard Stäbler, Nicholas Morrish, Remy Siu, Kelley Sheehan, Ingrid van Engelshoven, Scott Rubin, Stefan Maier, Yannis Kyriakides, Clara Iannotta, Henk Heuvelmans (director of Gaudeamus)

Photos © Anna van Kooij