Thursday 30 September 2021

New Jewish Music: the Azrieli Music Prizes in Canada

New Jewish Music, Vol 3 - Azrieli Music Prize is out on the Analekta label from 1 October 2021.
The Azrieli Music Prizes (AMP) were created by the Azrieli Foundation in 2014 to 'offer opportunities for the discovery, creation, performance and celebration of excellence in music composition'. 

The foundation is a Canadian non-profit organisation whose mission is to improve lives through Education, Research, Healthcare and the Arts mainly in Canada and Israel. There are three main prizes:

  • The Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music is awarded to a composer who has written the best new undiscovered work of Jewish music
  • The Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music is awarded to encourage composers to creatively and critically engage with the question “What is Jewish music?” 
  • The Azrieli Commission for Canadian Music is offered to a Canadian composer to create a new musical work that creatively and critically engages with the complexities of composing concert music in Canada today. 

Part of the prize is a recording and the latest release on the Canada label Analekta, New Jewish Music, Vol. 3 Azrieli Music Prizes, features pieces from the three AMP winners from 2020. There are four works on the disc, one each from the three winners Keiko Devaux, Yitzhak Yedid and Yotam Haber, plus a piece from  Québécois composer Pierre Mercure (1927-1966)

The three AMP winning pieces are Yitzhak Yedid's Kadosh Kadosh and Cursed (The Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music) for 14 musicians, Yotam Haber's Estro Poetico-armonico III (The Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music) for mezzo-soprano, 15 musicians and audio-playback and Keiko Devaux's Arras (The Azrieli Commission for Canadian Music) for 14 musicians, plus Pierre Mercure's Dissidence in an arrangement for soprano and 14 musiciansperformed by the Nouvel ensemble Moderne, conductor Lorraine Vaillancourt with soprano Sharon Azrieli and mezzo-soprano Kristina Szabo

Keiko Devaux is a Montreal-based composer who is currently studying a the University of Montreal. Yotam Haber was born in Holland and grew up in Israel, Nigeria and Milwaukee, and he is Associate Professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory and Artistic Director Emeritus of MATA, the non-profit organization founded by Philip Glass that, since 1996, has been dedicated to commissioning and presenting new works by young composers from around the world. Yitzhak Yedid studied at Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, the New England Conservatory and Monash University. His style mixes the music of his ancestral Syrian and Iraqi Jewish background with Western art music and he teaches at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University in Brisbane.

New Jewish Music, Vol 3 - Azrieli Music Prize is out on the Analekta label from 1 October 2021.

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