THE SHOVEL | 2022 Azrieli Music Prize winners announced

(Left to right): Iman Habibi, Aharon Harlap and Rita Ueda (Photo courtesy of the Azrieli Music Prize)

The Azrieli Foundation has announced the three winners of the 2022 Azrieli Music Awards (AMP).

  • Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music: Iman Habibi
  • Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music: Aharon harlap
  • Azrieli Commission for Canadian Music: Rita ueda

The award represents a substantial boost for the winning composers. Each winner receives a total prize worth over CA $ 200,000. Including:

  • CAD $ 50,000 in cash;
  • a world premiere of their award-winning work in Montreal by the Orchester Métropolitain at the AMP gala concert on October 20, 2022;
  • two subsequent international representations;
  • a professional recording of their award-winning work released on the Analekta label.

About the winning composers

Canadian-born Israeli composer Aharon harlap won his Price 2022 for a work entitled From the depths I cried out to you, Lord, a setting to music of five psalms for soprano and orchestra. The work represents an emotional journey that begins in despair, moving from hope to celebration.

  • Associate professor at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance in orchestral and choral conducting, and musical composition
  • Most recently, Harlap received the Life Achievement Award (2020) for Jewish Art Compositions, sponsored by Zippora Jochsberger and the Jerusalem Academy
  • His works have been performed in Canada, Israel, United States, Europe, South Africa, Russia and Thailand

The jury described the work in a press release as “a magnificent, sophisticated, moving and heartfelt musical work, written by a fantastic musician. It is a major work which reflects the state of Jewish music well.

Iranian-Canadian composer Iman Habibi moved back Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music to write a 20-minute cycle of songs based on texts by the Judeo-Persian poet Shahin Shirazi, sung in Farsi by a Persian soloist in a Persian style. The work will reflect the close historical links between Persians and Jews since Antiquity.

  • Founding member of the piano duo Piano Pinnacle
  • Has been commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the St. Luke’s Orchestra, and has collaborated with the Vancouver and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestras, as well as the JACK, Chiara, string quartets, Del Sol and Calidore
  • Prizes include multiple SOCAN Foundation Award wins, the International Composers’ Award in the Estoterics’ Polyphonos’ Choral Composition Competition (2012), the Vancouver Mayor’s Art Award for Emerging Music Artist (2011 ) and the Brehm Prize in choral composition (2016), among others

The jury described him as “a truly authentic composer. His music is unique, original and fascinating. His proposal for a new cycle of songs exploring Judeo-Persian poetry offers a very unique contribution to the repertoire.

The 2022 Azrieli Commission for Canadian Music Laureate Rita Ueda, will write a 25-minute double concerto for suona (Chinese double-reed horn), sho (Japanese mouth organ) and orchestra, incorporating songs from Native Canadian birds. The piece will integrate Japanese, Chinese and Western musical traditions.

  • Recent premieres include collaborations with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, Budapest Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Prague Modern, Locrian Chamber Players (New York), Amadeus Choir (Toronto) and the SYC Ensemble Singers (Singapore)
  • The prizes include the 2014 Krzysztof Penderecki International Composer Competition (1st prize), the 2010 Mahler International Competition (orchestra, 2nd prize), the 2011 Estoterics “Polyphonos” Choral Composition Competition (1st prize) and the Val composition competition. Tidone 2013 (orchestra, 2nd prize).
  • Currently Composer in Residence of the Sanremo Symphony Orchestra (Italy)
  • His latest recording is called I Solisti della Scala – Bytes (Warner Classics)

The jury describes its proposal in a press release. “Rita Ueda brings rigor and care to her music. Her proposal is well documented and interesting in the way she confronts tensions within and between cultures by looking at birdsong through an intercultural lens. It is a thoughtful, generous and integrated idea to express the diversity of Canadian society, where all individuals can be valued for what they bring to the whole.

The Azrieli Music Awards were established in 2014. The AMP Gala Concert honoring the three winners will take place on October 20, 2022.

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