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Personalities / The members of the jury
The members of the jury
Download the complete prize list of the Queen Elisabeth Competition from 1937 until 2019.
Personalities
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Member of the jury
Jean Absil was, first, a pupil of Alphonse Oeyen, organist at the basilica of Bonsecours. From 1913 he attended classes at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, where he completed his musical studies. After learning orchestration and composition with Paul Gilson, he was awarded the Rome Prize and the Rubens Prize. He also sought the advice of Florent Schmitt. He was a professor at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels and at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel and, for more than forty years, he was director of the Music Academy in Etterbeek, which has borne his name since 1963. He was also a member of the Royal Academy of Belgium. Two activities dominated Jean Absil’s life and career: education and composition. An undisputed educator, he trained generations of composers for more than forty years. A leader who allowed his disciples to discover the music of their time, Absil synthetized the French School, Stravinsky, Bartok, polytonal, atonal and serial music (J. Stehman). His extensive works encompass all genres. His first distinguishing work was La mort de Tintagiles. His research on polytonality and atonality led to a brief study: Postulat de la musique contemporaine, prefaced by Darius Milhaud. Between 1929 and 1936 Absil applied the principles of his style mainly to numerous chamber music works. In 1936 he returned to large orchestral works with a second Symphony and Concertos for various instruments, including a Concerto for piano which, as a compulsory piece at the Ysaÿe Competition of 1938, definitely established his reputation. He produced large-scale works such as Les Bénédictions, Pierre Breughel l’Ancien, Les Voix de la Mer, and many choral works, whether religious or secular. Moreover, he often drew his inspiration from the folklore and rhythmic subtleties of Central Europe. When characterizing the Absilian language, Joseph Dopp notes that the ear never suffers from an impression of tonal insecurity when listening to Absil’s music: while it is no longer possible to find a reference to the classical major or minor tonalities, the composer invents new modes, which he replaces for each piece. From these modes emerge chords which, even if they are different from the classical ones, also have an expressive sense (tension or resolution). Absil never practised a real atonality: the apparent tonal independence of the voices always resolves itself into a unique tonality.
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Member of the jury
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Member of the jury
Necil Kâzım Akses was a member of the The Turkish Five group, the pioneer and founding generation of composers of contemporary Turkish music. Son of Mehmet Kâzım, director in communication services at the Ministry of War and Emine Hanım, professor of literature and Directress at Kandilli Girls’ High School (İstanbul), Necil Kâzım Akses began to play the violin in his primary school years and at the age of fourteen became a student of cello, his instructors being Mesud Cemil and Sezai Asal. In the final years of his education at the İstanbul Lycée, he attended the classes (harmony) at the İstanbul Municipal Conservatory (Darülelhan) of Cemal Reşid Rey, who later was to become the senior member of the Turkish Five group. After graduating from high school in 1926, he was sent by his parents to Vienna to study music. In the Vienna Music Academy, he became a student of Joseph Marx in composition and of Walther Kleinecke in cello. A year later, he gained a scholarship offered by the Turkish Government. He received his masters degree from this Academy and continued his musical studies at the Prague State Conservatory, from where he obtained his advanced degrees. At the Prague Conservatory, masters such as Josef Suk and Alois Haba were his teachers. Necil Kâzım Akses returned home in 1934. The same year, he was appointed professor and Deputy Director in the School of Music Instructors in Ankara. In the following two years, he assisted German composer Paul Hindemith, who was invited to Turkey by the Ministry of Education for the establishment of the Ankara State Conservatory. He was appointed teacher of composition in 1936 to this newly established institution. The same year, he joined a research expedition carried out in Osmaniye, a borough of Adana, together with Bela Bartok, Adnan Saygun and Ulvi Cemal Erkin. In the various stages of his career, he also rendered his services as administrator to some important cultural and artistic institutions in Turkey: in 1948, he was appointed director of the Conservatory and in 1949 became the Director General of the Fine Arts of the Ministry of National Education. He acted as a Cultural Attaché in Bern in 1954 and in Bonn between 1955 and 1957. Between 1958-1960, he was the Director General of The State Opera and Ballet. In 1971, he undertook the same position again until his retirement in 1972. In 1971, Necil Kâzım Akses was elected as the founding member of the board of directors as well as Acting President of Centre Mediterranéen de Musique Comparée et de Danse. Throughout his career he became the recipient of many honours: First class service medal of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1957; Italian government’s service medals, the rank of Cavaliére Ufficiale in 1963 and Commendatore in 1972; Bourgiba Art and Culture medal of Tunisia in 1973, the title of State Artist of Turkish Republic in 1971; Atatürk Art Award in 1981; honorary doctorate degree of the İstanbul University in 1998. Amongst some of his works performed abroad are: Ankara Kalesi (Citadel of Ankara), was performed by the Berlin State Orchestra under the baton of Fritz Zaun, and was recorded by Polydor company in 1943. Ballad, being the most frequently performed work of the composer abroad starting from 1950, was performed in London, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Münster, Paris, Teplice, Cluj, Brussels, Vienna, Bucharest, Tunisia, Prague and Moscow. His Poem was performed by the RAI Symphony Orcestra in Rome in 1949 with conductor Franco Caraccioto and Antonio Saldarelli being the solo cellist. Itri’nin Neva Kâr’ı Üzerine Scherzo (Scherzo on Neva Kâr by Itri) was performed in Sofia, Moscow, Cairo and Budapest. First Symphony was performed by the Vienna Tonkünstler Symphony Orchestra with conductor G. E. Lessing in 1968, and was again performed in 1972, together with the Violin Concerto under the baton of Niyazi Tagizade with Azerbeijan State Symphony Orchestra in Baku. His Second Symphony was performed in Turkmenistan by Orkestra Saz under the direction of Muhammed Nazar Mommadov in 1997. Violin Concerto was performed by the NDR - Radio Philarmonie Orchestra with conductor Rengim Gökmen and violinist Cihat Aşkın, together with other Turkish symphonic works in EXPO 2000 Hannover World Fair. In the 1990’s, his String Quartets (No.s 1 and 4) were played in such European cities as Dusseldorf, Prague, Bratislava, Budapest, Pecs and Helsinki. Necil Kâzım Akses is mostly known as a composer of large scale symphonic forms. His compositions could be viewed in various evolving stages. From the 1929 to the late 30’s, he composed such works as Preludes and Fugues for Piano, Sonata for Piano, Flute-Piano Sonata, Allegro Feroce and upon return to his homeland, another one-act opera entitled Bayönder (The Leader). The period covering these years can be characterised as a quest and search for creating an individual atonal style. As it was the case with other composers of his generation, in his early works, the influences of traditional Turkish music and folk music can be traced. However Akses, did not use these elements directly but rather stylized them. By the 1940s, he entered a new period in which, specifically in his symphonic works, an Akses style started to emerge and this style became more evident. This style is linked on the one hand to Turkish modes melodically, and on the other to the concept of a-modality harmonically. Large scale works such as Ankara Kalesi (Citadel of Ankara), Ballade, First Symphony, Violin Concerto, Scherzo On Itri’s Nevakâr, Ten Piano Pieces can be cited as the compositions of this period. His orchestration was gradually became denser. Starting with Bir Divandan Gazel in 1976 he started his last composing period. In this advanced mature period, Akses also produced works for soloists, chorus and large orchestra. In his writing, which became even denser, he used many of the techniques of the 20th century, most notably aleatory music. In 1985, he started composing his Sixth Symphony entitled Immortal Heroes for bariton solo, chorus and orchestra. He dedicated this work to Çanakkale (Dardanelles) martyrs. This symphony remained unfinished. Necil Kâzım Akses taught in the Ankara State Conservatory until the end of his life. At the time he died, he was teaching composition also at the Bilkent University Faculty of Music and Performing Arts. Besides being a composer, Necil Kâzım Akses, is also distinguished and respected as the tutor of many composers of younger generations. Copyrights of his works are held by SACEM.
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Member of the jury
Born in Lima, the Peruvian tenor Luigi Alva made his operatic debut in I Pagliacci (Arlecchino) in that city in 1951. In 1953 he left his native country for Italy, where he perfected his art with Emilio Ghirardini and then with Ettore Campogalliani. His appearance at the Voci Nuove competition won him a place among the Cadetti della Scala. In 1955 he inaugurated the Piccola Scala and in 1956 began his long association with La Scala in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with, among others, Maria Callas. Luigi Alva became a great specialist of this opera, singing it in six different recordings and in two films. He has appeared on the leading stages: at the Vienna Opera, Covent Garden, the Bolshoi, the Zarzuela and the Metropolitan, as well as in other opera houses throughout the world and at the festivals of Glyndebourne, Salzburg, Aix-en-Provence, among others. Luigi Alva is founder and director of the Prolirica Association in Peru and has received that country's highest honorary distinction for cultural achievement. He was also awarded the Viotti d’oro in Italy and teaches now at the Academy for opera singers at the Scala of Milan.
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Member of the jury
Pierre Amoyal won First Prize in the violin at the Paris Conservatory at the age of 12. At 17 he moved to study in Los Angeles under Jascha Heifetz, with whom he played chamber music and made his first recordings. Five years later he was playing all over Europe and in Japan, performing with the most prestigious orchestras and the greatest conductors (including P. Boulez, S. Ozawa, C. Dutoit, G. Herbig, L. Maazel, K. Sanderling, and M.W. Chung). His many recordings for Decca have included Fauré’s sonatas, the Chausson Concert, and the Franck sonata, as well as the Dutilleux, Saint-Saëns, and Respighi concertos. Appointed a professor at the Conservatoire National in Paris at a very young age, he has also taught at the Lausanne Conservatory, Haute École de Musique, where he founded the Camerata de Lausanne in 2002, recently renamed CameratAmoyal. Made up of 14 talented young musicians from all over the world, the Camerata has recorded a number of CDs. Pierre Amoyal teaches as well at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. He is a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres and a Chevalier dans l’Ordre National du Mérite. In 2006 he received the Prix de la Ville de Lausanne. Pierre Amoyal owns one of the world’s most celebrated violins, the 1717 ‘Kochansky’ Stradivarius, which was miraculously found in 1991 after being stolen in 1987.
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Member of the jury
Diane Andersen, who was taught by Stefan Askenase, also received valuable advice from the Hungarian pianist Annie Fischer. She has a brilliant career as a soloist, chamber musician, and teacher, and gives concerts all over the world in legendary concert halls such as Carnegie Hall, the Rudolfinum, the Concertgebouw, the Brussels Centre for Fine Arts (Palais des Beaux-Arts), and La Fenice; she has worked with eminent conductors such as Bruno Maderna, Pierre Boulez, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Georges Prêtre, and Otto Kamu. She has been awarded a number of distinctions and prizes: International Steinway Artist, the Grand Prix du Disque de l’Académie Charles Cros, the Trophée Fuga (UCB), the Harriet Cohen International Bach Medal, and the Classical Music Award (Midem). Her vast discography includes the complete works of a number of composers (e.g. Jongen and Pierné) and world premieres of works by neglected or unknown composers. She has premiered contemporary works, several of which have been dedicated to her, and her artistic life has been enormously enriched by close contact with illustrious musicians such as Kodály, Tansman, Nono, and Gertler (a partner and friend of Bartók). Diane Andersen is President of EPTA-Belgium Wallonie-Bruxelles and is an emeritus professor at the Royal Brussels Conservatory. She currently runs master classes in North and South America, Canada, Japan, China, Korea, and Europe. She is regularly invited to serve on the juries of international competitions.
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Member of the jury
Julian Anderson (London) studied composition with John Lambert, Alexander Goehr and Tristan Murail. His first acknowledged work, Diptych (1990) for orchestra, won the 1992 Royal Philharmonic Society Prize for Young Composers and was subsequently nominated as the BBC entry in the 1996 International Rostrum of Composers in Paris. His two commissions for the London Sinfonietta, Khorovod (1994) and Alhambra Fantasy (2000), have been widely performed by leading ensembles across Europe and the USA. His other most played works include the orchestral BBC Proms commission The Stations of the Sun (1998) which has been performed by both the Boston Symphony and Cleveland Orchestras, and the chamber work Poetry Nearing Silence (1997) a commission from the Nash Ensemble. From 1996 to 2001 he was Composer in Residence with the chamber orchestra Sinfonia 21. Between 2000-2005 he was Composer in Association with the CBSO, and he completed three orchestral works for them: Imagin’d Corners (2002) a piece for five horns and orchestra, Symphony, which was winner of the British Composer Award (2004), and Eden, written for the opening concert of the Cheltenham Festival 2005. He also wrote Book of Hours (2005), a piece for ensemble and electronics for the BCMG, and Four American Choruses for the CBSO Chorus. More recently, the 2006 BBC Proms featured commissioned work Heaven is Shy of Earth for mezzo-soprano chorus and orchestra starring Angelika Kirschlager and a newly commissioned work by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Alleluia, was premiered on the prestigious re-opening of the Southbank Centre’s main venue the Royal Festival Hall in June 2007. In October 2002 Anderson was appointed Artistic Director of the Philharmonia Orchestra’s ‘Music of Today’ series. Throughout the 2002/3 season he was ‘Composer in Focus’ with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, a relationship which blossomed again when be became their Composer in Residence for 2010. He was the Cleveland Orchestra’s Daniel Lewis Young Composer Fellow between 2005 and 2007. A ballet based on Darwin’s Origin of the Species, choreographed by Mark Baldwin was premiered in September 2009; The Comedy of Change (2009) is a joint commission from Rambert Dance and the Asko Ensemble. Anderson was Professor of Composition at the Royal College of Music from 1996 and was Head of Composition there from 1999 to 2004. From 2004 to 2007 he was Fanny Mason Professor of Music at Harvard University. He returned to the UK permanently in September 2007 to work as a freelance composer and take up a newly devised post at the Guildhall School of Professor of Composition and Composer in Residence. Two recent recordings with NMC and Ondine were nominated for the Gramophone Awards. 'Alhambra Fantasy', the Ondine disc of orchestral and ensemble works won the Contemporary Classical Award at the 2007 Classic FM Gramophone Awards.
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Member of the jury
The soprano June Anderson was born in Boston and graduated with honours from Yale University in French Literature. She began her career in 1978 with the New York City Opera as the Queen of the Night and then began her European career in Rome with Rossini’s Semiramide. She soon made her debuts at the Paris Opera (Robert le Diable), Covent Garden (Semiramide), La Scala Milan (La Sonnambula), and the Metropolitan Opera (Rigoletto). Her Lucia di Lammermoor, La Traviata, and Norma in particular were hailed in all the major opera houses of Europe and North and South America. She has collaborated with many of the world’s greatest conductors, including Leonard Bernstein, Lorin Maazel, Riccardo Muti, Seiji Ozawa, James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Daniele Gatti, and Kazushi Ono. In recent years she has expanded her repertoire to include many 20th-century and contemporary works, such as operas by Richard Strauss, Francis Poulenc, Hans Werner Henze, and John Adams. Her extensive discography encompasses a wide variety of music from Albinoni and Pergolesi to Beethoven, Wagner, and Orff, as well as many operas by Verdi and Rossini and lesser-known French operas. She received a Grammy Award for her recording of Candide, conducted by its composer, Leonard Bernstein. In France she has been made a Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres.
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Member of the jury
The Belgian conductor Franz André (1893-1975) completed his musical studies at the Conservatory of Brussels. He received the first prize for violin in 1912 and quickly developed a passion for orchestral conducting. Upon the establishment of Radio Belgium in 1923 he was appointed second conductor of the radio orchestra. In 1930 he led one of three orchestras of the newly founded Belgian National Institute for Radio Broadcasting (NIR - INR). Five years later he set up the Grand Symphony Orchestra of the NIR - INR, which he made one of the most famous orchestras of Europe, and with whom he performed many modern premières. From 1951 to 1964 Franz André was the permanent conductor of the Queen Elisabeth Competition. In 1938 he conducted the finals of the Eugène Ysaÿe Competition.
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Member of the jury
Willem Andriessen displayed his aptitude for music at an early age and his first teacher was his father, Nicolaas Andriessen, who was an organist and choral conductor. He then proceeded to the Amsterdam Conservatory where his teachers were J.B. de Pauw (piano), Bernard Zweers (composition) and Julius Röntgen (ensemble). He passed the final examination in 1906 and in 1908 he gained the 'Prix d'excellence' in piano playing. Willem Andriessen made a reputation as a concert pianist both at home and abroad. From 1910 to 1918 he taught piano at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and until 1924 he taught the advanced piano pupils at the Rotterdam Music School. In 1924 he was appointed professor at the Amsterdam Conservatory, and then to its directorship which he held from 1937 to 1953. Willem Andriessen - elder brother of the composer Hendrik - wrote chamber music with piano, a Mass for choir and orchestra, a Concerto for piano and songs.
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