By Vivien Schweitzer
From PlaybillArts.com - 12 Oct 2006
Five candidates have been announced for the finals of the Montreal Symphony's first International Composition Prize: Britain's Luke Stoneham, France's Raphaël Cendo, Ramon Humet and Eneko Vadillo Pérez of Spain, and Canada's Paul Frehner.
The competition has thus far been held behind closed doors, but the public is invited to the finals on January 10, when the Montreal Symphony (OSM) and Jean-François Rivest, its conductor in residence, will perform the five compositions before a jury consisting of OSM music director Kent Nagano and four composers: Gilbert Amy (France), Unsuk Chin (South Korea/Germany), Peter Eötvös (Hungary) and Gilles Tremblay (Canada).
This jury, the third and final in the competition, will award the Olivier Messiaen International Prize to the winning composition, the Promise Prize to the second-place work, and the Claude Vivier National Prize to the best Canadian work.
The Messiaen Prize includes a cash award of C$25,000, a performance of the winning work by the OSM and Nagano at a gala concert during the 2007-2008 season, a radio broadcast by Espace musique (the music channel of Radio-Canada, the country's French-language network), a recording of the work on the CBC Records label and the commission of a work for piano to be performed during an upcoming Olivier-Messiaen International Piano Competition.
The Promise Prize offers a cash award of C$15,000; the Claude Vivier National Prize offers a cash award of C$10,000 and a performance by the OSM and Kent Nagano during the 2006-07 season, a radio broadcast on Radio-Canada and a CD recording on the CBC Records label.
During the pre-selection last summer, an initial jury consiting of Canadians Jean Lesage, Serge Provost and John Rea selected 92 scores for the semi-finals from a total of approximately 250 entries. The judges analyzed the scores and recordings separately.
The jury for the semi-finals was made up of five composers: France's Gilbert Amy and Philippe Manoury, the American John Eaton, Germany's Manfred Trojahn and Canada's Alexina Louie.
Commenting on the final selection, jury chairman Gilbert Amy said, "I am very happy with the international aspect of the accepted scores, since we have Spanish, French and British finalists and also a Canadian. I speak for all the members of the jury in observing the renewal, in terms of content, of the received scores. We have scores of different styles, but all of them show a mastery of the orchestra as a tool."