RYCHENBERG
COMPETITION

International Composition Contest

ABOUT THE COMPETITION

In June 2018 the Musikkollegium Winterthur launched an international composition contest in collaboration with the Fotomuseum Winterthur. A total of 191 composers from over 30 countries applied for the competition, from which 85 submitted their compositions. The jury, chaired by the Swiss composer Alfred Zimmerlin, nominated 10 works to be recorded on video by the Musikkollegium Winterthur in August 2019 and published on this website for an online audience voting. The Rychenberg Competition will award prizes worth a total of CHF 100,000.

Finalists

The jury chaired by the Swiss composer Alfred Zimmerlin has selected the four finalists of the Rychenberg Competition. Below you can find their statements and listen to the compositions again. Following the prizewinners’ concert on June 12th 2020 at the Stadthaus Winterthur, the ranking will be announced and the prizes awarded to the composers present.

The finalists in alphabetical order (not equivalent to the ranking).

Cecilia Arditto Argentina
Cecilia Arditto
Work Title TISSUE
Photo Serie Wounds of violence

Jury’s statement

Cecilia Arditto has found a very individual approach to Adél Koleszár’s Wounds of Violence photo series: in Tissue, the orchestra grouped around the percussion at the centre becomes the “skin” – a sensory organ in both acoustic and visual terms. This “skin” reacts sensitively to wounds suffered by the human spirit, translating them directly into sound. The work is convincing in its extraordinary aural innovations, subtle dramatic composition and what could be described as chastened clarity, which introduces all involved to a new, different way of listening.

Biography

Argentinian composer Cecilia Arditto(*1966) was born in Buenos Aires. Having studied music in her native city, she completed her degree "cum laude" at the Academy of Music in Amsterdam, where she has also lived since 2002. She has been awarded several prizes and grants, and her works have been performed in Latin America and the United States as well as Asia and Europe. Música invisible para flauta, for example, has been played by more than twenty flautists, and her new work, Distancia de rescate for eight cellos, will be performed by three different cello octets during the 2018/19 season. Together with the Dutch photographer and guitarist Daniel Nicolas, she focuses on combining visual aspects with musical works. Cecilia Arditto has also worked as a Bikram yoga instructor since 2018, giving courses all over the world.

Photo Daniel Nicolas

 

Musikkollegium Winterthur, Pierre-Alain Monot (Direction)

Annachiara Gedda Italy
Annachiara Gedda
Work Title Chasing Ice
Photo Serie Find a Way or Make One

Jury’s statement

Impressive creative drive lies behind the composition Chasing Ice. The Find a Way or Make One photo series inspired Annachiara Gedda to create a visionary soundscape. Its texture is characterised by imaginative details, while intricately chiselled lines combine amorphous structures into a single entity. Gedda’s music is driven by an eruptive energy, yet it also touches the listener with its dreamy sensibility and mysterious nuances.

Biography

Annachiara Gedda(*1986) comes from Turin, where she also studied composition, graduating with a master's degree in 2015. She then attended several master classes given by Luis Bacalov, Mauro Bonifacio, José Manuel López López and Tristan Murail, among others. She has won several national and international composition competitions, and her works have since been performed not only in her Italian homeland, but also in the United States, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Finland, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Japan. Many of these have been published by Sconfinarte, Bèrben and Zedde, as well as Universal Edition.

 

Musikkollegium Winterthur, Thomas Zehetmair (Direction)

Valerio Rossi Italy
Valerio Rossi
Work Title ICE_one_h for chamber orchestra
Photo Serie Find a Way or Make One

Jury’s statement

Valerio Rossi’s ICE_one_h is a peregrination through a strangely seductive natural and spiritual world. Varying figures appear; magical and inwardly unstable combinations of noises and tone colours emerge. And despite its heterogenous, iridescent materiality, Rossi’s music becomes a discreet maelstrom into which we are gently drawn. This is precisely crafted music, devoid of frippery, showmanship or the desire to impress: honest, restrained and personal.

Biography

Valerio Rossi(*1959) comes from Milan, where he learned the clarinet at an early age, taught himself the saxophone at the same time, and also explored the world of art. Having played in various jazz bands as a clarinettist, he began studying composition at the Conservatorio di Musica "Giuseppe Verdi." While studying, he also worked as a copyist for major Italian and foreign publishing houses, as well as for the archives of the Teatro alla Scala. Having obtained his diploma, he won prizes at several composition competitions. Valerio Rossi now devotes himself to composition and painting in equal measure, considering both to be equivalent forms of artistic expression – even if, in his own estimation, it may perhaps make him look "antiquated" in today's world, which is increasingly focused on specialisation.

 

Musikkollegium Winterthur, Pierre-Alain Monot (Direction)

Verena Weinmann Switzerland
Verena Weinmann
Work Title Hills of Torreón
Photo Serie Wounds of violence

Jury’s statement

Verena Weinmann’s composition, entitled Hills of Torreón, takes us into a world of mysterious, shadowy sounds that contrast with a tightly woven structure of glittering overtones. Characterised by powerful inner tension, the turbulent mood is transformed into an increasingly dramatic stream of sound, which having reached its climax is abruptly interrupted and called into question. A courageous artistic statement, and touching, memorable music.

Biography

The composer and activist Verena Weinmann (*1994)is from Frauenfeld. She started dancing as small child. At the age of ten, she began taking private piano tuition, which she consolidated with preliminary studies at the Winterthur Academy of Music. Her first composition was written for her high school diploma thesis at the Im Lee Cantonal School in Winterthur. She has participated at the Young Composers Workshop in Boswil on several occasions. She is currently studying composition with Michel Roth at the Academy of Music in Basel. At the beginning of 2015, she became interested in politics and wrote several articles on the subject for the magazine Der Funke. Alongside her studies, Verena Weinmann plays keyboard in the Latin rock band Mondsucher, as well as giving private piano lessons and tuition in musical theory. Her compositions are characterised by the need to create a link to current world affairs and to offer the performers space for their own creativity. Weinmann also has a strong interest in conceptual music, improvisation and the integration of electronic and rock instruments in contemporary music.

Photo by Susanna Drescher

 

Musikkollegium Winterthur, Thomas Zehetmair (Direction)

Audience Prize

You too, dear audience, have voted! With 7114 votes you have awarded the Audience Prize to the Swiss composer Fabian Künzli. Over 3000 people worldwide took part in the audience voting. This means that an important goal of making the competition internationally known has been achieved. We thank you very much for your interest and your participation.

Fabian Künzli Switzerland
Fabian Künzli
Work Title Die liegende Sanduhr
Photo Serie Find a Way or Make One

Composer’s comment

My work refers to Anastasia Mityukova’s Find a Way or Make One photo series, in which the artist observes a distant place without ever having been there herself. Anastasia Mityukova’s photographs simultaneously show several realities. I attempted to convey this idea in the music, which ranges from being noisily amorphous to displaying the highest level of structural density. Recognising patterns is an active process. For the reception of a work of art, a certain mean level of entropy is expected in the area between an absence of pattern (in acoustic terms, this would be background noise) and periodicity. Otherwise, the work risks losing its purpose and appeal. Time, “perceptual speed,” plays an essential role in this. Recording a piece offers a unique opportunity to emphasise the distinction between live performance and recording – the work is played back at eight times the speed. By compressing the music using time-stretching techniques, not only are individual structures rendered unrecognisable, but new patterns also made accessible.

Biography

Swiss composer Fabian Künzli(*1984) grew up in the Canton of Thurgau. He has played the clarinet since the age of ten, performing in orchestras as well as several bands (rock, big band, dixie, klezmer). He has worked as a conductor with various wind orchestras, but also with smaller ensembles for film music and other recordings. Having obtained his Master of Arts in Music degree from Zurich University of the Arts in 2010, he completed his master's studies in musical theory in 2012. As a composer, Fabian Künzli has worked for several distinguished orchestras, such as the Musikkollegium Winterthur, the Camerata Zürich, the Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt and various prestigious chamber ensembles. He has also won many prizes at composition competitions, and was awarded a working semester in London by the Landis & Gyr Foundation in 2012. Fabian Künzli was Composer in Residence at the 2013 Orpheum Festtage in Zurich, and holds a part-time teaching position in musical theory at Zurich University of the Arts.

 

Musikkollegium Winterthur, Pierre-Alain Monot (Direction)

Photo Series

Wounds of Violence Adél Koleszár

Adél Koleszár

Born 1986, Budapest/Hungary, lives and works in Mexico City, adelka.tumblr.com

In her series Wounds of Violence, Adél Koleszár investigates how experiencing violence moulds society and the self. Her photos offer assorted contrasts, such as between illegal mass graves that have been discovered in Mexico and the visible scars of abuse, especially among women.

Download the extended captions.

Eating Magma Elena Aya Bundurakis

Elena Aya Bundurakis

Born 1988, Heraklion/Greece, lives and works in Athens and Antwerp, freethecelery.com

The series Eating Magma engages with nature, fauna, flora, muscle and eating. These pictures directly address our sensory perception, and immediately prompt different emotions on the part of the observer. Form, colour, flesh and corporeality play an important role in Bundurakis’s work, and are depicted in a manner that is both sober and at the same time ambivalent.

Find a Way or Make One Anastasia Mityukova

Anastasia Mityukova

Born 1992, Geneva /Switzerland, lives and works in Geneva, anastasiamityukova.ch

The works in the series find a way or make one challenge the stereotypical view that people have of the Arctic, and how different typologies of images shape the landscape. Using pictures made by webcams and surveillance cameras along with photographs that Mityukova has found at flea markets, she creates her own perspective on this distant place, without ever having been there herself

Download the entire image series incl. captions.

 

PRIZE MONEY

The ten composers whose works are selected for the first round of the Competition (the recording) will be given a recognition prize of CHF 1,000. The composers of the works chosen by the jury to be performed at the Prize Winners’ Concert will be awarded the following prizes:

First place CHF 40’000.–
Second place CHF 25’000.–
Third place CHF 15’000.–
Special prize of the jury CHF 5’000.–
Audience prize CHF 10’000.–

Timing

31
August
2018

Deadline for registration

31
March
2019

Submission of the score (5 hard copies)

30
June
2019

Announcement of the compositions nominated (maximum of ten)

31
July
2019

Submission of the orchestral parts and resubmission of the score (if reworked in the meantime)

End of
August
2019

Recording of the nominated works by the Musikkollegium Winterthur

October
2019

The recorded works will be placed online for the audience vote

1
March
2020

End of the audience vote

31
March
2020

Announcement of the jury’s nominations and the result of the audience vote

9
June
2020

The composers whose works are chosen will travel to Winterthur; beginning of rehearsals for the Prize Winners’ Concert

12
June
2020

Prize Winners’ Concert in Winterthur

BACKGROUND

In the first half of the 20th century, the music patron Werner Reinhart from Winterthur played a fundamental role in the development of the Musikkollegium Winterthur, together with the conductor Hermann Scherchen. Under their auspices, Winterthur became a centre of contemporary music with an impact far beyond the Swiss borders. Composers such as Anton Webern, Arnold Schoenberg, Igor Stravinsky and Richard Strauss worked with the Musikkollegium or composed for it. Composers who have meanwhile slipped somewhat into obscurity also enjoyed the high regard and support of Scherchen and Reinhart – men such as Heinrich Kaminski, Walter Braunfels and Franz von Hoesslin. It was not just composers who visited Winterthur at Reinhart’s invitation, for internationally renowned instrumentalists, singers and conductors also came to the city, often even enjoying Reinhart’s hospitality in his Villa Rychenberg, which today houses the offices of the Musikkollegium Winterthur.
With its “Rychenberg Competition”, the Musikkollegium Winterthur intends to forge a link from that era to the present. This Competition, made possible thanks to the Lottery Fund of the Canton of Zurich, aims to bring composers to Winterthur from all over the world, and at the same time promote Winterthur’s reputation in the broader world as an innovative city of music.

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