Since time immemorial the past has been a source of inspiration for artists working in every creative field. O/Modernt (translated as ‘Un/Modern’) is the concept devised by the violinist Hugo Ticciati that celebrates this ‘looking back’, using imaginative programming to explore vital connections between old and new.
O/Modernt embraces the world of contemporary music, collaborating with composers at different stages in their careers from all over the world. In total, O/Modernt has commissioned more than forty works over the last decade, ranging from short solo works to fully-fledged cantatas and symphonic music.
O/Modernt annual Composition Award (2021) was staged in collaboration with Manchester International Festival, Manchester Camerata, specialist music school Lilla Akademien and DUEN – The Danish Youth Ensemble. The winning work will be premiered in 2021 in Manchester and in Sweden and Denmark during the 2021/22 season.
We are delighted to award British composer Paul Saggers first prize in the O/Modernt Composition Award 2021! A Special Distinction from O/Modernt has been awarded to ‘Todo Era Vuelo En Nuestra Tierra’ by Argentinian composer Julieta Szewach.
A composer and jazz pianist, Jill Jarman’s music reflects diverse genres, effortlessly merging the boundaries between classical and jazz. "...Art music with jazz waywardness…" [Swedish dagbladet]. A fascination with music from different cultures blur these boundaries further, and can be heard in works such as Echoes from the birdcage, an ensemble piece with percussionist Evelyn Glennie showing aspects from the multi-cultural sound world of London’s Kings Cross.
Her music sways between an almost timeless suspension and rhythmical energy, as in Soundwaves of light, an orchestral piece based on light emissions from the stars in the sky. Science and the natural world often inform her creative process allowing new compositional devices to occur, engaging the listener in an evolving and multi-layered sound-world. She created a new harmonic system, Polychords of limited transposition, which can be heard in many of her pieces.
Tobias Broström was born in 1978 in Helsingborg, Sweden. Following four years of percussion studies at the Malmö Academy of Music, he embarked on the pursuit of a Master’s degree in composition, studying with the Swedish composer Rolf Martinsson and the Italian composer Luca Francesconi.
Broström has composed chamber opera and various chamber music, but during the last years he has mainly focused on orchestral writing in works such as La Danse, Transit Underground, Crimson Skies, Crimson Seas, Kaléidoscope, Violin Concerto, Arena – Percussion Concerto No. 1, Piano Concerto – Belle Epoque, Samsara, Cello Concerto and Lucernaris – Concerto for Trumpet, Live Electronics & Orchestra, which was composed for Håkan Hardenberger. Numerous soloists, conductors, ensembles and orchestras, including, Robin Ticciati, Michael Sanderling, John Storgårds, Anna Larsson, Karen Gomyo, Thomas Søndergård, Andrew Manze, Dima Slobodeniouk, Johannes Gustavsson, Per Tengstrand, Colin Currie, Mats Rondin, Tõnu Kaljuste, Simon Preston, Johan Bridger, Hugo Ticciati, Jaime Martín, BBC Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Dresdner Philharmonie, BBC Philharmonic, Komische Oper Berlin, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Estonian National Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC Wales, Gävle SO, Helsingborg SO, Trondheim SO, Malmö SO, Sinfonieorchester St. Gallen, Vogtland Philharmonie, Oviedo SO, NorrlandsOperans SO, Aurora Chamber Orchestra, Brooklyn Rider, Musica Vitae, Third Coast Percussion Quartet, Malleus Incus, Essens:1 and Gageego have performed his works. Tobias’ music have been performed throughout Europe, the USA and Asia.
Fabián Panisello, Argentinian-Spanish composer and conductor, is internationally known on the contemporary music stage for the high quality of his work. In the words of Karlheinz Stockhausen: “full of ideas, intense and bursting with energy (…) I am very happy to see that the spirit of Webern continues to live in a changed world”.
Fabián Panisello is founder and artistic director of PluralEnsemble, recognized as one of the most outstanding ensembles for new music in Europe, with regular seasons with the BBVA Foundation, national and international tours and CD recordings.
He is Professor of Composition at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía and guest professor at the China Conservatory in Beijing since 2018. Previously, he was Professor of Musical Analysis from 1996 to 2000 and then Academic Director at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía and the Instituto Internacional de Música de Cámara in Madrid, from 1996 to 2013, and has been Director of these same institutions from 2014 to 2019. He is composer in residence and composition professor in masterclasses and festivals in Graz, Munich, New York, Buenos Aires, Davis (CA), Shanghai, Nanning, Beijing, Bogotá, Mexico, Leuk (Switzerland), Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Budapest, amongst others.
He was formed as a composer with Francisco Kröpfl and Julio Viera in Buenos Aires and with Bogusław Schaeffer in the Mozarteum in Salzburg (Diploma of Excellence, 1993). He completed his formation with Elliott Carter, Franco Donatoni, Brian Ferneyhough, Luis de Pablo and Peter Eötvös, among others, and he has been awarded prizes such as the Mozarts Erben of the city of Salzburg or the Premio Iberoamericano de Composición Rodolfo Halffter. He is a member of the Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes of Argentina.
In recent years, he has been focusing specifically on dramaturgical works.
His chamber opera Le Malentendu was premiered in 2016 to critical and public acclaim: “we are surely in the presence of the best premiere of new opera in the Teatro Real in a long time” (Tomás Marco); “Panisello possesses a very special talent for the stage, creating an exciting theatre with magnificent music” (Peter Eötvos). Le Malentendu was coproduced between the Teatro Colón of Buenos Aires, Warsaw Autumn Festival, Neue Oper Wien and the Teatros del Canal and Teatro Real in Madrid. Also, his multimedia musical theatre Les Rois Mages, an international coproduction commissioned by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation through the CSIPM and the UAM Foundation, was premiered in January 2019 with great success from both audience and critics, and will tour in the 2019-2020 season in Nice, Tel Aviv, Munich, Vienna and Klagenfurt, amongst other places.
He has also received commissions from the Donaueschinger Musiktage, Ensemble Modern, Goethe Institut, French Ministry of Culture, Ernst von Siemens Foundation, National Orchestra of Spain, Orchestra of the Community of Madrid, BBVA Foundation, Italian Institute of Culture, Alte Oper of Frankfurt, Secretary of Culture of the Buenos Aires, or Festival Takefu of Japan, among many others.
He is currently working on a horn concerto for the Reggio Emilia Festival and the soloist Radovan Vlatković, and is planning a new opera coproduction.
His work has been recognized and supported by personalities such as Pierre Boulez, Luciano Berio or Karlheinz Stockhausen, having collaborated in two world premieres of the latter with the orchestras of the Westdeutscher Rundfunk of Cologne and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester of Berlin; and his works have been performed by artists such as Pierre Boulez, Peter Eötvos, Susanna Mälkki, Leigh Melrose, Allison Bell, Marco Blaauw or Francesco D’Orazio, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester of Berlin, Orchestra of the Mozarteum of Salzburg, Orquesta Nacional de España or Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Arditti Quartet and Ensemble Modern, amongst many others.
He participates in the principal festivals of the world dedicated to contemporary music, such as Wien Modern, Munich Biennale, Présences, Ars Musica, Ultraschall, Aspekte, Manca or Klangspuren Schwaz; and he has recently been invited as conductor and resident composer at the Sound Ways Festival of Saint Petersburg, the New Music Week Festival of Shanghai, the Festival Manca in Nice, the Centro Nacional de las Artes (CENART) of Mexico, the Master of the Fundación Baremboim-Said, the Bridges Festival of the Vienna Konzerthaus or the International Summer Academy of the Mozarteum in Salzburg, amongst others.
His discography includes recordings for NEOS, Col legno, Cypres, Verso or Columna Música, amongst others. His work is published by Peters Edition of Leipzig.
Since moving from North Dakota to Sweden in 2008, composer Matthew Peterson has made his mark as an independent and dynamic voice in music, praised for his “mastery of vocal writing and colorful orchestration” (Classical Voice America) and for crafting opera that is "darkly brilliant" (Texas Classical Review) “truly beautiful” (Anne Midgette, Washington Post), and “instantly compelling” (Heidi Waleson, WSJ).
His music defies categorization. Sixty-plus performed works feature mystical soundscapes, atmospheric light-clouds, soaring voices embracing one another midair, airy and elusive constructions of undulating dynamics and flickering facets, powerful zigzag lines, unruly and physically pounding rhythms snorting with life, and songs of devastating simplicity.
‘Every phrase is executed with such flamboyance, enhanced by her passion.’
Buzz Magazine, 2019
Caroline is the Leader of Manchester Camerata and the Leader of Welsh chamber orchestra Sinfonia Cymru. As well as leading, Caroline assumes the role of Soloist and/or Director in multiple projects with both orchestras. Chamber music sensibilities are at the heart of Caroline’s music-making; she enjoys a regular duo partnership with Camerata's principal cellist Hannah Roberts and participates in chamber music projects with many organisations across the UK. From 2010 to 2019 Caroline was the first violinist of the Zelkova Quartet, winners of the 2017 St Martin's Chamber Music Competition and the 2014 Royal Overseas League Elias Fawcett Award for Outstanding Chamber Ensemble.
Caroline is passionate about enthusing and educating the next generation of musicians in her work as both a Violin Tutor at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and as a guest elsewhere, delivering masterclasses and workshops. Caroline studied with two of the UK’s leading violin educators; she began her studies with Lucy Akehurst at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s esteemed Young Strings Project, and later studied with Professor Wen Zhou Li at Chetham’s School of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music. Caroline plays on a violin made by the internationally acclaimed maker Stephan von Baehr.
There are two distinct strands to Morten Ryelund’s resumé. Firstly, he is an ambitious and highly professional orchestral conductor with great credentials. Secondly, through his extensive work in the field of youth orchestras, not least as the leader of Danish National Youth Ensemble, he has been a key figure for many young Danish musicians in their pathway to the professional music scene.
Morten Ryelund made his professional conducting debut with the South Jutland Symphony Orchestra in 1996. Since then he has worked with orchestras and ensembles such as Copenhagen Philharmonic, Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, DR Concert Orchestra, Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, Malmö Symphony Orchestra, Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, Stockholm Sinfonietta, Bergen Chamber Orchestra, Copenhagen Chamber Orchestra, The Royal Opera Choir, The Danish National Radio Choir and Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen.
ALBERT SCHNELZER ”one of Sweden’s foremost composers” (Classical Music Magazine, UK), made his international breakthrough at the Présence Festival in Paris 2004. His music is often described as energetic and forwardgoing, lyrical and fragile, but also directly accessible and intensly personal.
Albert Schnelzer was born in Värmland, Sweden on June 3 1972. Between 1994 and 2000 he studied at the Malmö Academy of Music and he has also studied at master’s level at the Royal College of Music in London. In 1998, while still a student, Albert Schnelzer won the competition Composers of Tomorrow with the orchestral work ”Erupto”, which was premiered by the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra.
Dobrinka Tabakova is a composer of ‘exciting, deeply moving’ music (Washington Times), with ‘glowing tonal harmonies and grand, sweeping gestures [which] convey a huge emotional depth’ (The Strad). She has been commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society, BBC Radio 3 and the European Broadcasting Union. Her debut profile album String Paths, on ECM Records, was nominated for a Grammy in 2014. In 2017 she was appointed composer-in-residence with the BBC Concert Orchestra.
The music of Dobrinka Tabakova has featured in films (Jean-Luc Godard’s Adieu au langage and Le livre d’image), dance (Sydney Dance Company/ Rafael Bonachela Anima and American Ballet Theatre Studio Company/ George Williamson Murmuration) as well as international music festivals including Schleswig-Holstein; Moscow Homecoming; Three Choirs, UK; World Sun Songs, Latvia and Dark Music Days, Iceland. Creative programmers like violist/conductor Maxim Rysanov, Amsterdam Sinfonietta, violinists Gidon Kremer and Janine Jansen as well as Irish DJ John Kelly, Orchestra of the Swan and Sorel Organization have all championed her music over the past decade.
Among prizes for her work are the Jean-Frédéric Perrenoud prize and medal at the 4th Vienna International Music Competition; the prize for an anthem for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, performed at St Paul’s Cathedral, the GSMD Lutoslawski Composition Prize and the Adam Prize of King’s College London. Her Fantasy Homage to Schubert, nominated by the Bulgarian National Radio, was selected at the 2014 International Rostrum of Composers in Helsinki. In 2011 she was awarded first prize and the Sorel Medallion in Choral Composition, New York.
Significant projects include Immortal Shakespeare - a cantata for the Shakespeare 400 anniversary in 2016, The High Line for orchestra, inspired by New York’s park in the sky and the UK New Music Biennial film collaboration PULSE. Tabakova’s recent long-term residency with Truro Cathedral resulted in her second profile album, this time focusing on her choral works. Recorded at Truro Cathedral with the Cathedral Choir and BBC Concert Orchestra for Regent Records, the album received the 2019 Critic’s Choice of Gramophone Magazine and Music Web International. The same year, her Centuries of Meditations was selected by the PRS Foundation as one of the eleven best pieces of British orchestral music from the past 25 years and toured around major UK cathedrals by the City of London Sinfonia.
Other notable residencies have included working with Leipzig MDR Orchestra, Davos Festival and Unbeaten Path Festival in the Bulgarian Rhodopi Mountains. Her orchestral work Orpheus’ Comet opened the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Music Exchanges of Euroradio and the major commission of her double piano concerto Together Remember to Dance was premiered by Arthur and Lucas Jussen at Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw. In 2019, Tabakova’s Timber & Steel was premiered at a special Prom concert celebrating 150 years since the birth of the festival’s co-founder Sir Henry Wood.
Forthcoming projects include a concerto for orchestra as part of Tabakova’s residency with the BBC Concert Orchestra, the set work for the ARD String Quartet competition 2019, a large-scale choral commission for the St Louis Chamber Chorus and a violin concerto for Hugo Ticciati.
Dobrinka Tabakova was born in the historic town of Plovdiv, Bulgaria in 1980 and for over 25 years has lived in London. She graduated from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and holds a PhD in composition from King’s College London.
Conductor, keyboardist, and educator, Mark Tatlow is pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Gothenburg. His artistic research centres around developing a decolonising performance praxis for early vocal music. Mark was previously Artistic Director at Drottningholms Slottsteater (2007-13), Professor of Musical Studies at the University College of Opera, Stockholm (2002-12), and is a co-founder of Performing Premodernity, a research project based at Stockholm University. Since 2002 he has been Lilla Akademien’s Artistic Advisor, and acts as Executive Co-ordinator of the school’s on-going rebuilding work.
Recent opera performances include compiling and conducting Georgiana, the new award-winning eighteenth-century opera pasticcio commissioned for the 40th anniversary of the Buxton Festival (UK), conducting and staging Purcell's Dido and Aeneas for the Stift Festival (Holland), conducting at the Trigonale Festival (Austria) and leading Performing Premodernity's Rousseau Double Bill (Pygmalion and Le Devin du Village) at Confidencen. Future work includes preparing Uttini’s Birger Jarl.
NATURE and the CITY
Since the dawn of modernism the city has provided music, art and literature with perhaps its most enduring motif. Building on that tradition, the theme for this year’s award is the tension between nature and the city, and the evolving relationship between technology and the natural world.
Nostalgic reflections, a call to arms, a celebration or a lyrical lament: the theme could be freely shaped according to the composer’s own vision.
First prize winner: Paul Saggers ‘Vulpes Vulpes’
Special Distinction: Julieta Szewach ‘Todo Era Vuelo En Nuestra Tierra’
The winning piece by composer Paul Saggers will be premiered at the Manchester International Festival on the 16 of July.
In 2020 O/Modernt held its second composition award in collaboration with Goethe-Institut Schweden, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and Gehrmans Musikförlag.
To commemorate the double anniversary of the Romanian-born poet Paul Celan (1920–70), applicants were asked to write a work in response to his life and poetry. Celan, a lifelong expatriate who was fluent in six languages, once wrote: ‘the language in which I make my poems [German] has nothing to do with any spoken here or elsewhere.’ Yet, he was imbued with literary culture: his birthplace, Czernowitz, was reputed to have had more bookshops than bakeries. Responding to Celan, applicants were asked particularly to reflect on universal themes of hope and suffering.
The language in which I make my poems has nothing to do with any spoken here or elsewhere.
— Paul Celan
1st prize winners:
Andrea Sordano - Ein Körnchen Sands
Francisco José Andreo Gázquez - Celan Pieces
Andrea Sordano was born in Latina in 1996. He started as a child to approach music and he entered at the age of 13 in the composition class of Maestro Alberto Meoli and in the Classical Guitar class of Maestro Giuseppe Gazzelloni.
He graduated in Guitar and Composition in 2018 at the same conservatory. During his studies he was able to participate in numerous masterclasses of composition with artists such as: Giorgio Colombo Taccani, Toshio Hosokawa, Leo Brouwer, Richard Causton, Vittorio Montalti.
As a composer he is active in the field of applied music (soundtrack of the web series Il solito Noir and Il personaggio by Lorenzo Nuccio; documentary being MISSONI by Ruggero Gabbai produced by Sky Arte and Good Day Films; music for commercials and corporate videos) and absolute music. His works has been played all over Europe.
In 2019 he won the 3rd prize at the “Wolfgang Jacobi” competition in Trossingen, Germany.
He also won the 2nd prize at the “Premio Musica Nova” competition in Latina, Italy.
Francisco José Andreo Gázquez (b. 1989) is a composer based in Murcia (Spain). He develops his composition and research activity alongside his teaching career in Castilla -La Mancha Conservatory, heading its International Relations Department.
He studied Composition and Musicology in Murcia Conservatory and Mannheim Musikhochschule (Germany), holding a MA in Composition by the Madrid Royal Conservatory. After getting a Master in Music Education by the University of Granada (Spain), he has participated in the "PIIISA" project working with teenagers thru music. As a researcher, has been working also in the Cultural Management field, especially in relation with contemporary music, completing a Master in Cultural Management in the Open University of Catalonia. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. under the direction of composer Dr. José María Sánchez-Verdú.
His works have been premiered in Germany (Forum Neue Musik, Heidelberg), Spain (City of Salamanca Symphonic Orchestra, Auditory 400-Reina Sofía Museum), New York (Yumi Suehiro) or Portugal (Remix Ensemble). His chamber opera #RED, based on our new relations with social networks, was premiered in 2014. "Frío de Límites", composed after the poetry of Antonio Gamoneda and José Ángel Valente, was finalist at the International Composition Competition Povoa de Varzim and included by Plural Ensemble (Spain) in their national tour 2016, being also programmed in Mixtur Festival 2017 (Barcelona). In 2018 he received an artistic grant by the Madrid Government, and in 2019 premiered "Stressed Out" with the Madrid Symphonic Wind Band in the Madrid Congress Palace.
The inaugural O/Modernt Composition Award asked applicants to take a misreading of Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 ('Eroica') as the starting point for a Piano Quintet.
Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.
— Ludwig van Beethoven
Frej Wedlund was the first prize winner, with the following comment from the jury:
Frej Wedlund's Piano Quintet is a technically advanced, intensive and intellectually challenging work, which communicates a clear vision and creates its own sound world.
Frej Wedlund is educated at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm and is currently studying the master's program in composition at the Royal Danish Music Conservatory in Copenhagen. His music has been performed by world-leading ensembles such as the Arditti Quartet and ensemble research in the Nordic countries, Europe and the USA.
He has previously won, among others, 4 × 4 Prizes 2016 and the North Carolina New Music Initiative 2018 for the orchestra's work Half-light on desolation. The string quartet Plasticity has recently achieved great success, and was selected for Nordic Music Days 2019, Young Nordic Music 2019, Mise-En Music Festival 2019, and was listed for the British Ivan Juritz Prize 2019.