The Azrieli Music Prizes

THE AZRIELI MUSIC PRIZES

Established in 2014 by the Azrieli Foundation, the two Azrieli Music Prizes (AMP) offer opportunities for the creation, performance and celebration of high quality new Jewish Music.

The Azrieli Prize of $50,000 CAD is awarded biennially through a competitive process to a composer who has written the best new major work of Jewish Music. Open to the international music community, individual works can be nominated by individuals and institutions from all nationalities, faiths, backgrounds and affiliations, and submitted to the AMP Jury through the open call for scores. Works may have been premiered within ten years of the award date, but must not have a significant performance history, and must not have been commercially recorded.

The Azrieli Commissioning Competition is open to Canadian composers, with the  aim of encouraging creative and critical engagement  with the question “What is Jewish Music?” A commissioning fee of $50,000 CAD is awarded biennially to the Canadian  composer who proposes a response to this question that displays the utmost creativity, artistry and musical excellence.

Proposals and supporting documents are accepted from nominators and individual composers of all faiths, backgrounds and affiliations. The winning proposals are chosen by an international panel of experts in the field of  music creation and performance.

Further aims of AMP are to educate the general public about the universal appeal and artistic importance of the works that result from engaging with the fascinating topic of Jewish Music, whether that be through live performance, recording, composer talks, panel discussions or other related programming.

THE AZRIELI PRIZE

Please note: Submissions are now closed.

The Azrieli Prize of $50,000 CAD is awarded biennially through a competitive process to a composer who has written the best new major work of Jewish Music. Open to the international music community, individual works can be nominated by individuals and institutions from all nationalities, faiths, backgrounds and affiliations, and submitted to the AMP Jury through the open call for scores. Works may have been premiered within ten years of the award date, but must not have a significant performance history, and must not have been commercially recorded.

The winning work will be performed by a major Canadian orchestra as part of the AMP Gala Concert, scheduled for the fall of 2018 and subsequently audio recorded to commercial quality.

The winning composer will be invited to attend the rehearsals and performance of their work, and be publicly honoured at the AMP Gala Concert.

Eligibility

  • Nominations will be accepted for individual works written by living composers.
    • Multiple nominations of works by the same composer will not be accepted.
  • Only works written and/or premiered after January 1, 2008 are eligible for nomination.
  • Nominated works:
    • may have already received a premiere performance;
    • must not have been commercially recorded (such works are ineligible); and
    • must be at least fifteen (15) minutes and no longer than twenty-five (25) minutes in duration.
  • Nominations may be submitted by individuals and institutions of all nationalities and of all faiths, backgrounds and affiliations.
  • Composers of nominated works may be of any age, experience level, nationality, faith, background or affiliation.
  • Any nominator (individual person or institution) may submit a maximum of two (2) nomination packages, each of which must be for a different composer and their work.
  • Eligible works must be shown to be relevant to Jewish Music (a written statement of relevancy may be provided.) Please see the Foundation’s definition of “What is Jewish Music” below to ensure that the nominated work complies. All works that do not comply with this definition will be disqualified.

The Nomination Package

Please note: all documents and media must be submitted electronically via the online nomination form.

All Nomination Packages must include:

  • a complete nomination form;
  • a complete work description form;
  • a biographical note on the composer of the nominated work (not to exceed 500 words), including pertinent information as to the composer’s engagement with Jewish Music;
  • the full score of the nominated work in PDF format;
    • It is the responsibility of the nominator to ensure clarity and legibility of the score.
  • an audio recording of the nominated work (if possible) or a MIDI simulation in MP3 format, where a recording is not available;
  • where a nominated work contains text not written by the composer, then proof of the right to use the selected text; and
  • a written explanatory note (not to exceed 1 000 words) describing those aspects of the nominated work which are relevant to Jewish Music.

Guidelines for Nominated Works

All nominated works must meet the following guidelines to be given consideration. Any work that does not meet these guidelines will be disqualified.

  • Nominated works must:
    • demonstrate their relevance to the Prize theme – a celebration of excellence in new Jewish Music; and
    • be scored for a minimum of seventeen (17) string musicians (i.e. string orchestra) and a maximum of fifty one (51) musicians of mixed instrumentation (i.e. Mozart orchestra)
      • Maximum Instrumentation for nominated works is as follows:
        • Brass: 2 trumpets / 2 trombones / 4 horns / 1 tuba
        • Winds: 2 flutes / 2 oboes / 2 clarinets / 2 bassoons
        • Strings: 8 1stviolins / 8 2nd violins /6 violas /4 cellos /4 double basses
        • Harp
        • Timpani
        • Percussion (2)
      • Nominated works may feature:
        • a soloist (vocal or instrumental); and/or
        • pre-recorded digital media.

The Composer of the prize-winning work agrees to:

  • have his or her work performed on the occasion of the AMP Gala Concert (Fall 2018);
  • have their work audio recorded to commercial quality;
  • be available in person for the rehearsals and performance of their winning work; and
  • participate in outreach events, workshops, press conferences, media interviews, and other such promotion and education activities as they relate to the Prize and its objectives to educate the general public about the universal appeal and artistic importance of works that result from engaging with the topic of Jewish Music.

THE AZRIELI COMMISSION

Please note: Submissions are now closed

The Azrieli Commission is open to Canadian composers of all faiths, backgrounds and affiliations, with the aim of encouraging creative and critical engagement with the question ‘What is Jewish Music?’

A commissioning prize of $50,000 CAD is awarded biennially to the Canadian composer who proposes a response to this question that displays the utmost creativity, artistry and musical excellence.

The musical work resulting from the Prize will be premiered by a major Canadian orchestra as part of the AMP Gala Concert, scheduled for the fall of 2018, and subsequently audio recorded to commercial quality.

The winning composer will be invited to attend the rehearsals and the world premiere of their prize-winning work, and be publicly honoured at the AMP Gala Concert.

Eligibility

  • Proposals will be accepted from Canadian citizens and permanent residents of all ages and levels of experience.
  • Canadian citizens and permanent residents of all faiths, backgrounds and affiliations are eligible to submit a proposal.
  • Eligible composers must prove within the body of their submission the relevancy of their proposed composition to the Prize theme – recognizing excellence in new Jewish Music.

The Proposal Package

Please note: all documents and media must be submitted electronically via the online application form.

All Proposal Packages must include:

  • a completed application form;
  • proof of Canadian citizenship or permanent residency;
  • a current curriculum vitae (CV) highlighting relevant training, experience, performances and awards;
  • a works list detailing all relevant completed works, their premiere dates and recordings, where applicable;
  • a written proposal (not to exceed 1 000 words) describing the proposed work, including pertinent technical and aesthetic details, as well as an explanation of the work’s relevance to Jewish Music;
  • where a proposed work contains text not written by the composer, then proof of the right to use the selected text; and
  • two musical excerpts of the composer’s music – both score and audio recording – not to exceed three (3) minutes each.
    • Selected excerpts should demonstrate the composer’s aptitude for writing orchestral compositions and/or Jewish Music.
    • Scores must be submitted in PDF format, audio recordings in MP3 format.
    • MIDI or piano reduction recordings may be submitted where live audio recordings are unavailable.
  • Optional: Applications may be accompanied by no more than three letters of recommendation or reference.

Guidelines for Proposals

All proposed works must meet the following guidelines to be given consideration by the Jury. Any work that does not meet these guidelines will be disqualified.

  • Proposals must be for new works yet-to-be-written (i.e. the work may not be completed at the time of application.)
  • Proposed works are to be a minimum of fifteen (15) minutes and a maximum of twenty-five (25) minutes in duration.
  • Proposed works must be scored for a minimum of seventeen (17) string musicians (i.e. string orchestra) and a maximum of fifty-one (51) musicians of mixed instrumentation (i.e. Mozart orchestra)
  • Maximum Instrumentation for nominated works is as follows:
    • Brass: 2 trumpets / 2 trombones / 4 horns / 1 tuba
    • Winds: 2 flutes / 2 oboes / 2 clarinets / 2 bassoons
    • Strings: 8 1stviolins/ 8 2nd violins/ 6 violas / 4 cellos / 4 double basses
    • Harp
    • Timpani
    • Percussion (2)
  • Works may feature:
    • a soloist (vocal or instrumental); and/or
    • pre-recorded digital media.

The Composer of the winning work agrees to:

  • engage in the composition of their proposed work during the time allotted between the announcement of them as the Prize Winner and the deadline for submitting the score and parts to the performance partner for the AMP Gala Concert;
  • report to the Manager, Azrieli Music Initiatives any major deviations from the original proposal over the course of composition, so that such deviations may be adequately discussed and negotiated;
  • have their work performed as part of the AMP Gala Concert and subsequently audio recorded;
  • be available in person for the rehearsals and performance of their work;
  • grant the Azrieli Foundation the right to serve as primary commissioner, thereby retaining performance rights for the premiere as well as first recording rights. (The winning composer may apply for supplemental funding from other sources, as necessary); and
  • participate in outreach events, workshops, press conferences, media interviews and other such promotion and education activities as they relate to the Prize and its objectives to educate the general public about the universal appeal and artistic importance of the works that result from engaging with the topic of Jewish Music.

Letters of Reference (optional)

No more than three referees may submit letters of reference on behalf of the applicant. All letters should clearly indicate the applicant’s name at the top of the page, as follows:

“(Candidate’s Name) Letter of Reference, Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music”

All letters of reference should be received via postal mail at the following address:

Attn: Jason van Eyk
Azrieli Music Prizes
22 St. Clair Ave. East, Suite 202
Toronto, ON M4T 2S3

THE AMP JURY

The AMP Jury

The Azrieli Music Project is pleased to introduce its international panel of jurors:

Maestro Boris Brott is one of the most internationally recognized Canadian conductors, and enjoys an international career as guest conductor, educator, motivational speaker and cultural ambassador. He is Artistic Director of the McGill Chamber Orchestra in Montreal, the National Academy Orchestra of Canada, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Petruzzelli Theatre in Bari, Italy. He is also Artistic Director of the Brott Musical Festivals in Ontario and Founding Music Director of the New West Symphony in Los Angeles. Boris Brott served as Assistant Conductor to the New York Philharmonic under the late Leonard Bernstein, was Music Director and Conductor for the Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, Chief Conductor of the BBC National Symphony of Wales, and Music Director of the Northern Sinfonia of England. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, Member of the Order of Ontario and Grand officier de l’Ordre national du Quebec.

Photo Credit: Richard Bowditch

One of today’s most frequently performed composers, Pulitzer and Grawemeyer Award winner Aaron Jay Kernis (born 1960) has been commissioned by America’s foremost performing organizations and artists. He received Northwestern’s Nemmers Prize and is a member of the Classical Music Hall of Fame and American Academy of Arts and Letters. The multiple Grammy nominee is the workshop director of the Nashville Symphony’s Composer Lab; was new music adviser to the Minnesota Orchestra, with which he co-founded and directed its Composer Institute for 15 years; and serves on Yale’s composition faculty. He has been commissioned by a who’s who of the music world and has conducted in cities including Rome, Washington, and Portland. Leta Miller’s book-length portrait of Kernis and his work was published in 2014 by University of Illinois Press. His music can be heard on the Nonesuch, Naxos, Signum, Koch, Argo labels, among others.

Photo Credit: Milken Archive of Jewish Music

Neil W. Levin is recognized as one of the leading authorities in the field of Jewish music and is in much demand as a lecturer and presenter at university seminars and academic conferences throughout the United States, Europe, and Israel. Since 1993, he has been Artistic Director of the Milken Archive, which was founded to document, preserve, and disseminate the vast body of music that pertains to the American Jewish experience, and is also known for its groundbreaking 50-CD series released on the Naxos label. He has been professor of Jewish music on the faculty of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York since 1982. Dr. Levin is also an accomplished pianist and a highly regarded choral conductor. He is the creator of “Vanished Voices,” a Holocaust commemoration incorporating his research into the music traditions of German-speaking Jewry, which was performed under his baton in 1996 at London’s Barbican Centre as well as in Los Angeles and New York.

Photo Credit: Milken Archive of Jewish Music

Maestro Steven Mercurio is an internationally acclaimed conductor and composer whose musical versatility encompasses the symphonic and operatic worlds. As a symphonic conductor, he has led the London Philharmonic, Prague Philharmonia, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, among others, and the Spoleto Festival Orchestra where he was Music Director. Maestro Mercurio has conducted numerous historic telecasts, including the “Christmas in Vienna” series with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra for Sony Classical, highlighted by the 1999 concert featuring “The Three Tenors;” and the PBS special “American Dream–Andrea Bocelli’s Statue of Liberty Concert” with the New Jersey Symphony. Mercurio also led the worldwide tour of Sting, featuring the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and culminating in the DVD “Live in Berlin.” Also a composer, Mercurio’s “For Lost Loved Ones” was premiered by Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic.


Serbian born composer Ana Sokolovic is currently a Professor of Composition at the University of Montreal. Active in Canada since the mid-1990s, she has written for many of Canada’s orchestras and chamber ensembles, including performances throughout Europe and North America. She was the recipient of a National Arts Centre Award in 2009, and the SOCAN Jan V. Matejcek Award in 2008, 2012, and 2013. Professor Sokolovic has also been honoured with major awards from the Conseil québecois de la musique, the Canada Council for the Arts and the CBC Young Composer’s Competition. The Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ) marked the 20th anniversary of Ana Sokolovic’s arrival in Quebec with a celebration of her body of work; more than 200 events were presented in her honour across Canada. She has just received a prestigious commission from the Canadian Opera Company for a main-stage opera that will be premiered during the 2019/20 season.

Photo Credit: Globe & Mail
WHAT IS JEWISH MUSIC?

For the purpose of the Azrieli Music Prizes, the Foundation defines “Jewish Music” as broadly as possible, taking into account the rich and diverse history of Jewish musical traditions, as well as music by Jews and non-Jews, which may be said to incorporate a Jewish thematic or Jewish musical influence.

Jewish themes may vary broadly, and can include biblical, historical, liturgical, secular and/or folk elements.

Therefore, the Foundation encourages an understanding of Jewish Music as deeply rooted in history and tradition, yet forward-moving and dynamic. As such, it encourages themes and content drawn from contemporary Jewish life and experience.

Jewish Music can exhibit:

  • Relevance to Jewish history;
  • Relevance to the Jewish People’s experience;
  • Use of Jewish prayer modes or fragments of Jewish liturgical music;
  • Use of Yiddish, Klezmer, Ladino or other ethnic Jewish traditional musical elements; and/or
  • Use or reference to a Jewish story, be it from the Bible or some otherwise Jewish experiential element.

More specifically, Jewish Music can:*

  • be based purposefully and consciously on musical materials traditionally perceived as belonging to a specifically “Jewish melos” – sacred or secular;
  • incorporate actual liturgical melodies or secular folk tunes from any one of numerous distinct geographic or cultural Jewish traditions;
  • be based on Jewish historical or biblical subjects, events, or characters, or Jewish legends or literary themes;
  • include or be founded upon Jewish texts or Jewish literature (prose, poetry, or drama);
  • incorporate specifically Jewish languages such as Hebrew, Yiddish, or Ladino;
  • depict in musical terms, with or without sung or spoken text, visual images of Jewish connection (landscapes in the land of Israel, for example) or scenes of Jewish religious or folk life (a Hassidic gathering, a Yemenite Jewish wedding, or daily life of Jews in an eastern European market town, or shtetl, to cite three examples);
  • express moods of Jewish life-cycle events or holy days;
  • give voice to Judaic ideas or concepts; and/or
  • have been composed expressly for a Jewish commemoration, celebration, ceremony, or other occasion—conceived in some way to represent the nature of that occasion.
*excerpted from Dr. Neil W. Levin, The Milken Archive of Jewish Music
THE AMP ADVISORY COUNCIL

Joseph Rouleau is one of the world’s foremost operatic basses. Over a long career he has sung major roles with every major opera company. He has always been a tireless advocate for lyric art and young musicians in Canada. A Founding member of MAALQ (Mouvement d’action pour l’art lyrique du Québec) he was instrumental in the establishment of Opéra de Montréal in 1980. He later became president of Jeunesses Musicales du Canada and a jury member for the first Montreal International Music Competition. Winner of prizes including the Governor General’s Award for Lifetime Achievement, and honours including ‘Companion’ and ‘Grand Officer’ of the Order of Canada, Mr. Rouleau now sits on the Board of Directors for the McGill Chamber Orchestra and retains his position as President of JMC.


Sharon Azrieli, soprano, has performed in Europe, Israel and throughout Canada and the United States. Her operatic roles cover a broad range, with particular emphasis on Verdi heroines, while her recitals have covered artsong to Broadway. As Montreal’s first female cantor, Dr. Azrieli developed a particular interest in Jewish music and its influence on the canon of the western classical tradition. She completed a doctoral thesis on this topic at the Université de Montréal in 2011. Dr. Azrieli sits on the board of directors of the Azrieli Foundation, the Azrieli Group, and is the President of the Board of Directors of the McGill Chamber Orchestra.


David Sela is the Founder and President of COPAP Inc., a pulp and paper trading company based in Montreal. A passionate amateur musician (both violinist and choral singer) Mr. Sela has performed with both the Orchestre Métropolitain and the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal. His passion for the arts has extended into his work in the philanthropic world and he has served on many artistic boards including I Musici de Montreal (President), L’Institut Canadien d’Art Vocal, and L’Orchestre de la Francophonie.


A former citizenship judge, and long-time city counsellor for Hampstead, Barbara Seal has long invested her energy in community leadership in Canada. Her charity work has included membership on the boards of the Children’s Wish Foundation, the Canadian Cancer Society, and she is the National President of the Canadian Friends of Tel Aviv University. In the arts, Judge Seal has served on the boards of Place des Arts, the Montreal Arts Council, and is currently serving on the board of directors for the National Arts Centre Foundation. She is a member of the Order of Canada.


Serbian born composer Ana Sokolovic is currently a Professor of Composition at the University of Montreal. Active in Canada since the mid-1990s, she has written for many of Canada’s orchestras and chamber ensembles, including performances throughout Europe and North America. She was the recipient of a National Arts Centre Award in 2009, and the SOCAN Jan V. Matejcek Award in 2008 and 2012. Professor Sokolovic has also been honoured with major awards from the Conseil québecois de la musique, the Canada Council for the Arts and the CBC Young Composer’s Competition.