Willem Jeths, Chairman
On November 28th, 2014 Willem Jeths was officially appointed the first Dutch Composer Laureate (Componist des Vaderlands) at the Buma Classical Convention in TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht. Fulfilling this position for two years, he seized upon every opportunity to act as ambassador for new national notes.
He put the spotlight on 20th century Dutch musical heritage, focused on the latest composer generation, championed music education and in passing reflected on the current state of musical composition:
‘During the second half of the 20th century an explosion took place in our musical culture’, according to Jeths. ‘What is on offer now is more fragmented and variegated than ever. The challenge that a contemporary composer faces, is to distill something authentic from this vast ocean. Whether he succeeds doesn’t really depend on the concept of “innovation”. I think that passion and inspiration are more relevant nowadays.’
Tansy Davies studied at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and Royal Holloway. Her work has found an accommodation between the worlds of the avant-garde and experimental rock, between – in the words of one critic – Xenakis and Prince. neon (2004) has become for many Davies’s signature work, with its gritty, sleazy sounds and pounding rhythms.
The recipient of a 2009 Paul Hamelin Award, Davies has been commissioned by numerous world class ensembles and orchestras, including the London Sinfonietta, the CBSO Youth Orchestra, the City of London Sinfonia, BIT 20, BCMG, and a large-scale work for the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Wild Card, for the Proms in 2010. In 2011 Davies’s Christmas Eve, was performed at the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols in King’s College Cambridge and broadcast worldwide. 2012 saw the premiere of Davies’s piano concerto, Nature, by Huw Watkins and the BCMG under Oliver Knussen, and the release of her second commercial CD, spine, on the NMC label.
Davies’s first opera, Between Worlds, was premiered by English National Opera in 2015. Listed in the Evening Standard’s Progress 1000 of the UK’s most influential people of 2015, Davies’s current projects include a large-scale work for symphony orchestra.
Manfred Trojahn was born in Cremlingen near Braunschweig in 1949. He studied orchestral music in Braunschweig and composition with Diether de la Motte in Hamburg; he has received numerous scholarships and prizes for his work, including the Stuttgart Award for Young Composers (1972), International Rostrum of Composers, Paris (1978), Sprengel Music Prize, Hannover (1980), Deutscher Musikautorenpreis by GEMA (2009).
In 1979 and 1980 Trojahn spent a one-year residence at Villa Massimo, Rome. He is professor of composition at the Robert-Schumann-Hochschule in Düsseldorf and member of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, Free Academy of the Arts, Hamburg, the Academy of the Arts, Berlin, and the Academy of Science and Arts of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Manfred Trojahn composes for orchestra (including five symphonies to date) and for chorus, as well as songs and chamber music for various forces. His works are performed by leading orchestras and composers and renowned soloists. Since the beginning of the 1990s music theatre has occupied an important position in Trojahn’s oeuvre: his operas Enrico (premiered at Schwetzingen in 1991), Was ihr wollt (Munich, 1998) and Limonen aus Sizilien (Cologne, 2003) have received new productions at many theatres in Germany and Austria. The new composition of the recitatives of Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito was premiered in Amsterdam in 2002. In 2008 his opera La grande magia after Eduardo di Filippo had its First performance in Dresden, in 2011 his music theatre Oreston a libretto by the composer was premiered in Amsterdam.
Calliope Tsoupaki (Piraeus, Greece, 1963) makes music that has a mood of timelessness. Her objective is expressing the essence as simply and clearly as possible. In her compositions she uses elements of early and contemporary music as well as the music of Greece and the Middle East. Combining these aspects, she skillfully creates a completely personal style.
Her music is praised for its melodic character, warm sound and emotional quality. To date her oeuvre consists of more than 100 works for diverse instrumentation and instruments from different cultures (qaunun, ney, kemençe, hurdy gurdy, vielle, viola da gamba), from solo to orchestral works, choral music, dance, theatre, opera and multisensory projects.
Overwhelming successes include her opera Mariken in the Garden of Delights (nomination Matthijs Vermeulen Prize 2017), St. Luke Passion, song cycle Face of Love for singer Nena Venetsanou, oratorio Oidipous (nomination Matthijs Vermeulen Prize 2014), Narcissus (a play for music and scent), Maria for the Netherlands Wind Ensemble, the chamber operas Dark (about Joan of Arc, libretto Edzard Mik), Vita Nova (based on Dante’s book of the same title) and the string quartet Triptychon for the DoelenKwartet.
She has been living since 1988 in the Netherlands and teaches composition at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague.
Her opera Fortress Europe (Opera Trionfo, Asko|Schönberg Ensemble & Nederlands Student Chamber Choir) is about one of the most important issues of our time: the refugee crisis. In 2015, her opera Mariken in the Garden of Delights (OPERA2DAY & Asko|Schönberg Ensemble) based on a late medieval Dutch text, also had numerous performances in the Netherlands and immediately met great acclaim.
Paolo Marzocchi, pianist and composer, was born in 1971 in Pesaro (Italy), where he completed his musical studies. Whilst he received a classical education, he has always had a natural approach towards music without concerns for any linguistic barriers, dedicating his career to the theatre, cinema, radio and experimenting with other languages and with “pure” composition.
As a composer he has collaborated with numerous internationally acclaimed artists and has been commissioned piano, chamber and orchestral compositions in collaboration with prestigious institutions such as Lucerne Festival, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, La Fenice Theatre in Venice, Pomeriggi Musicali and Orchestra Verdi in Milan, the Opera Theatre in Rome, the Venice Biennale, Arturo Toscanini Philharmonic Orchestra, Musica sull’Acqua Festival, Leonore Orchestra, Rio de Janeiro Multiplicidade Festival and the Borderline Moving Images festival in Beijing.
Amongst his most recent works, noteworthy are the opening of “Fantasia dell’Assenza”, his new piece for piano, orchestra and glass-harp performed by the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra and the Toscanini Philharmonic Orchestra, the musical direction of Guido Barbieri’s experimental project “Le Nuove vie dei Canti” in Lampedusa, performed by local children from the island and his collaboration with the tenor Juan Diego Florez for the recording of the album “Italia”.
His new composition “O pazzo desire!” was premiered by the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino orchestra and directed by Diego Matheuz. Also worth mentioning is his opera “Il viaggio di Roberto” with libretto by Guido Barbieri, which attracted high praise from the director Riccardo Muti and which Marzocchi conducted in early 2017 in Florence with Maggio Musicale Fiorentino orchestra, and the experimental concert for string quartet, contrabass saxophone trumpet and electronics, featuring the jazz trumpet player Paolo Fresu (Bologna, MAST, November 2017).
He is the artistic director of the WunderKammer Orchestra ensemble.