MONTRÉAL, QC, CANADA, AUGUST 6, 2020 – The Azrieli Foundation presents its biennial Azrieli Music Prizes (AMP) Gala Concert on October 22, 2020 at 8:00 PM ET featuring world premieres by the three 2020 AMP Laureates. The concert will be livestreamed by the world’s leading classical music channel, Medici TV, and on Azrieli Music Prizes’ Facebook page, free for all to enjoy.
Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne (Le NEM) – an international leader in the performance of 20th and 21st century classical music – makes its debut on Medici TV under the direction of its founder Lorraine Vaillancourt. Canadian soprano Sharon Azrieli and Hungarian-Canadian mezzo Krisztina Szabó join Le NEM as soloists.
These world premiere performances form part of the total prize package each AMP Laureate receives – valued at over $200,000 CAD – which also includes a cash award of $50,000 CAD; two subsequent international performances; and a recording of the winning work released on Analekta.
Keiko Devaux, the first winner of the new Azrieli Commission for Canadian Music, comments, “Canadian music is defined by the voices of the people living here, and because of this country’s dynamic and multi-faceted identity, it is a tapestry containing influences of many traditions and histories woven together. These collective sonic memories that we have held onto, shared, diffused and celebrated together are what define the Canadian sound to me.” Her work, Arras, weaves together the tapestries of her French and Japanese-Canadian heritage.
Yotam Haber, winner of the 2020 Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music, wrote Estro poetico -armonico III for mezzo-soprano solo, chamber orchestra and pre-recorded audio to continue his ongoing exploration into the music of the Jewish community of Rome. Haber explains, “As a composer of Israeli background, I have spent years thinking about how I should look back at my past while looking forward at my future. I wished to compose a work using text by modern Israeli poets sung by a mezzo-soprano in conjunction, or in opposition to, traditional cantillation and liturgical texts found in the Leo Levi recordings, virtually always recited by men.”
Yitzhak Yedid, winner of the 2020 Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music, wrote Kadosh Kadosh and Cursed, which consist of twenty tableaux, or musical scenes, that bridge between variegated compositional approaches originating from remote, opposing musical traditions. Yedid remarks, “My attempt in this composition, and my endeavour for over a decade, has been to broaden the aesthetic resources of Western art music through the incorporation of musical elements of Sephardic Jewish music. My interest in textures, derived from micro-intonations of Jewish tunes, led me to compose multi-layered voice textures and to embed a Baqashot-Piyyut of Sephardic music into the sound of textural harmony in order to create a strange, surreal atmosphere.”
Lastly, Canadian composer Jonathan Monro has prepared a special new arrangement for Le NEM and Sharon Azrieli of Canadian composer Pierre Mercure’s song cycle Dissidence. These three songs form part of Mercure’s seminal Cantate pour un Joie (1955), which sets poems by Gabriel Charpentier that express modern man’s search for the happiness of faith.
The gala concert will take place at University of Montréal’s Salle Claude-Champagne with the help of Azrieli’s livestream production partner, Prodcan Inc. Viewers may tune in to the concert for free at home on Medici TV or Azrieli’s Music Prize’s Facebook page.
Yitzhak Yedid: Kadosh Kadosh and Cursed (2020 Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music)
Pierre Mercure (arr. by Jonathan Monro): Dissidence
Yotam Haber: Estro poetico-armonico III for mezzo-soprano solo, chamber orchestra and pre-recorded audio (2020 Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music)
Keiko Devaux: Arras (2020 Azrieli Commission for Canadian Music)
About Keiko Devaux, 2020 Azrieli Commission for Canadian Music Winner
Keiko Devaux is a Montréal-based composer who writes for ensembles, dance and film. Her compositions focus on musical ‘translations’ of experience through the interpretation of extra-
musical form and patterns. She holds a Master’s in Instrumental Composition from the University of Montréal and is currently completing a Doctorate in Composition under the direction of Ana Sokolović and Pierre Michaud. She has been awarded several distinctions, including the 2019 Jan V. Matejcek Award from the SOCAN Foundation and the audience and jury prizes of the 2017 Accès Arkea Competition. She was the 2016-18 composer in residence with Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne.
About Yotam Haber, 2020 Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music Winner
Yotam Haber was born in Holland and grew up in Israel, Nigeria and Milwaukee. He is the recipient many prestigious prizes, residencies and commissions, and is widely performed by the leading new music groups around the world. Haber is Associate Professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory and Artistic Director Emeritus of MATA, the non-profit organization founded by Philip Glass that, since 1996, has been dedicated to commissioning and presenting new works by young composers from around the world.
About Yitzhak Yedid, 2020 Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music Winner
The multi award-winning Yitzhak Yedid melds the music of his ancestral Syrian and Iraqi Jewish background with Western art music. His musical style is eclectic, multicultural and very personal, blending jazz and Jewish cantorial music with classic European and avant-garde techniques. His added experience as an improvising concert pianist allows him to create a highly expressive, eclectic and alluring new Jewish music. Yedid studied piano at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, continued his schooling at the New England Conservatory and earned a Ph.D. from Monash University. He currently lectures in composition and piano at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University in Brisbane.
About Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne
Guided by a duty to interpret the great modern and contemporary repertoire and by a desire to stimulate the creation of original works, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne (Le NEM)’s mission is to disseminate and to promote the music of our time. An essential leader in both Canada and on the international scene, Le NEM is recognized for its modernism and excellence in all aspects of the interpretation, creation and preservation of musical works of the 20th and 21st centuries. In residence at the University of Montréal’s Faculty of Music, Le NEM has performed in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Japan, Australia, China, Singapore and eight European countries. Since its inception, more than 185 pieces have been written specifically for the Ensemble.
About the Azrieli Music Prizes
Established in 2014, the biennial Azrieli Music Prizes (AMP) seek to fulfill the Azrieli Foundation’s pursuit of its belief in music as a vital human endeavour that allows humankind to express its creativity; to expand its worldview; and to foster positive cultural exchanges. Open to the international music community, AMP accepts nominations for works from individuals and institutions of all nationalities, faiths, backgrounds and affiliations, which are then submitted to its two expert juries through a biennial open call for scores and proposals.
The three AMP prize packages – valued at $200,000 CAD per Laureate – currently makes it the largest music competition for music composition in Canada and one of the largest in the world.
Past prize-winners include Israeli-American composer Avner Dorman (2018), Canadian composer Kelly-Marie Murphy (2018), Canadian composer Brian Current (2016) and US-based Polish composer Wlad Marhulets (2016).
About The Azrieli Foundation
One of the largest philanthropic foundations in Canada and in Israel, the Azrieli Foundation fulfills the philanthropic legacy of David J. Azrieli and has been funding institutions as well as operating programs since 1989. Driven by a strong belief in the powerful role and responsibility of philanthropy, the foundation empowers and supports a broad range of organizations in the fields of Education, Research, Healthcare and the Arts.
Through the Azrieli Music Initiatives (AMI), of which AMP is a part, the Foundation is committed to discovering, elevating and amplifying artistic voices, granting broad access to meaningful musical experiences that both exhibit artistic excellence and advance a shared pursuit of learning and wellness. AMI creates meaningful and practical realizations of the Foundation’s mission to improve the lives of present and future generations.
Patricia Price, Managing Director (English)
8VA Music Consultancy
Shira Gilbert (French)