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Zara Ali wins the Gaudeamus Award 2023

Zara Ali wins the Gaudeamus Award 2023. The young composer received the prestigious incentive price for young music pioneers on Sunday 10 September during the closing night of the Gaudeamus Festival 2023 in TivoliVredenburg in Utrecht. In the jury’s words: “Zara Ali is a composer who writes visions of the contemporary. She has a potential to get to alien places that are foreign and not easy to decipher. She has a very rich array of directions to develop and we are looking forward to see where her path will lead her.”

Five composers were nominated for the Award nominated: Zara Ali, Artun Çekem, Aya Yoshida, Uri Kochavi and Saad Haddad. The five were selected from a total of 229 application from all over the world. Many of the pieces they submitted were played during the festival, and they all wrote a brand new piece for the festival, for ensembles Moving String or hand werk ensemble.

The jury – consisting of composers Chaya Czernowin, Agata Zubel and Jan van de Putte – said the following about the four other nominees:

Artun Çekem’s metaphors and concepts are striking. In his work we find an intricate interaction between the real and the virtual world. This crosspollination stimulates new instrumental combinations and unusual temporal unfoldings.

Saad Haddad has well developed techniques, leading to a very refined microtonal harmonic language. His work is about reaching spiritual states, which move the listener to another realm.

Uri Kochavi is a composing inventor who searches for new sounds everywhere possible. His sounding objects are rooted in an obsessive search for new colours and intensities of expression. He is able to compose them together in a very sincere and coherent discourse.

Aya Yoshida is capable of telling real, personal stories in her music which are honest and heartfelt. Her melodic structures are lyrical and nostalgic. With very economic means she is able to express a whole internal world, finding grandeur in intimacy.

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.