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Annika Socolofsky wins the Gaudeamus Award 2021

Sunday 12 Sep 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 Socolofsky:

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

Winning the Gaudeamus Award often means an international recognition for a composer, and many have jumpstarted their career after winning, such as Unsuk Chin, Michel van der Aa and Aart Strootman. 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.

The ceremony was the end of one of the most ambitious and fully packed editions of the Gaudeamus festival ever. In five days, over fifty concerts, performances, installations, workshops and lectures took place all over Utrecht. Gaudeamus director Martijn Buser spoke the following words at the closing concerts:

This year’s festival was unbelievable, unlimited and unheard of. It was a joy to share and celebrate music again together with colleagues, musicians, composers, professionals and friends from Utrecht and all over the world. We saw young music pioneers pushing the limits of where music can go, but we also saw four nominees who embraced deeply felt emotions in their music. The pent-up creativity of young creators finally found its way to you, the audience.

Photos © Anna van Kooij

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