The Azrieli Music Project (AMP), established to celebrate, foster and create opportunities for the performance of high-quality new orchestral music on a Jewish theme or subject, is launching two new prizes: the Azrieli Prize in Jewish Music, an international prize for a recently composed or performed work by a living composer, and the Azrieli Commissioning Competition, for a Canadian composer of any age. Each prize is for a new work of Jewish orchestral music and carries a value of $50,000.
The Azrieli Prize in Jewish Music is an international prize, awarded to the living composer of a recently composed and/or performed work of orchestral Jewish music of between 15 and 25 minutes duration. The work must have been written in the last 10 years (after Jan. 1, 2005) and have never been commercially recorded. Composers may be of any age, experience level, nationality, faith, background or affiliation. This prize is limited to Canadian citizens or permanent residents. The deadline for submissions by open nomination is Jan. 1, 2016. A written proposal of the work to be composed, plus two excerpts of three-minutes each from previously completed works (score and recording) must be submitted by March 15, 2015. The deadline for the completed composition will be July 1, 2016.
The AMP is delighted to confirm its partnership with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and maestro Kent Nagano, who will perform the winning works at the Azrieli Music Project Gala Concert at Maison symphonique on Oct. 19, 2016, in Montreal.
Dr. Sharon Azrieli Perez, noted operatic soprano and scholar in Jewish and cantorial music, spearheaded the creation of the new prize. “Music has always played an important role in the development of cultural identities,” she said. “Whether through folk traditions, in liturgical settings or in the concert hall, music reflects history and soul. In creating this extraordinary opportunity for composers of Jewish orchestral music, we hope to sustain music’s vital continuity through the long and rich history of Jewish people and culture. The Azrieli Music Project will become the medium for innovation, creation and risk-taking by today’s most inspired orchestral composers.”
The question “What is Jewish Music?” is at the heart of a constantly evolving cultural dialogue. Taking into account the rich and diverse history of Jewish musical traditions, the AMP defines “Jewish music” as music that incorporates a Jewish thematic or Jewish musical influence. Jewish themes may include biblical, historical, liturgical, secular or folk elements. Defining Jewish music as both deeply rooted in history and tradition and forward-moving and dynamic, the AMP encourages themes and content drawn from contemporary Jewish life and experience. The AMP challenges orchestral composers of all faiths, backgrounds and affiliations to engage creatively and critically with this question in submitting their work.
Joseph Rouleau, one of the world’s foremost operatic basses and honorary president of Jeunesses Musicales Canada, will serve as chair of the AMP advisory council. He said, “It is a tremendous pleasure to help launch this significant new prize, which offers such extraordinary opportunities – for the two composers who will have their work performed by Maestro Nagano and the OSM, and for the public, who will benefit from the creation of two new works of art on the fascinating theme of Jewish music.”
Rouleau is joined on the advisory council by Azrieli Perez, Canadian composer Ana Sokolović, Judge Barbara Seal, CM, and classical music philanthropist David Sela. The AMP jury will be announced at a later date.
For details, score guidelines, deadlines and the online application form, visit azrielifoundation.org/music.