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Faculty of Music

Toru Takemitsu Composition Award winners for 2024

Congratulations to Jingyu Chen (PhD candidate, Faculty of Music), on being awarded the 1st Prize at Toru Takemitsu Composition Award.

When screening the score for selection, judge Mark-Anthony Turnage wrote: "I was looking for clarity and variety and less reliance on gesture in the scores that were submitted. I had been hoping that there were some works submitted that concentrated on a single simple idea which was carried through to the end. Orchestral music is not always about large blocks of sound. When you have a large orchestra at your disposal it doesn’t mean all the players should be playing continually. We need relief and some strategic planning. Scores that use all the tessituras and most of the orchestra playing continually are dull. It takes bravery - and maybe experience - to do this and many young composers haven’t heard enough of their music to strike out in this direction. The final four pieces I selected have more rhythmic interest and not a reliance on texture and sections full of ascending and descending scales and long passages of harmonics. Although the four I chose have complex ideas they are not continually dense, they have more than continuous walls of sound. So there is air and lightness which relieves the density. I was looking for transparency and clarity of thought. I hope the final four will demonstrate, when they are played in the final concert, that to quote an old phrase ‘Variety is the spice of life’."

Upon awarding Nebula first prize Mark-Anthony Turnage noted: "This piece is, again, very beautifully scored, like everything. This had something that I found very touching. I didn’t see that when I selected the piece – I knew it was a strong piece but I didn't see that. That’s the thing about reading scores. With all these pieces it comes off the page when you actually hear it with the orchestra. It’s a very interesting skill – and this sounds almost derogatory but it’s not – to almost be sentimental but not quite. And that’s a really hard thing to do, and she does it really well. So there was something very touching, and actually quite moving about some of the chords. I loved harmony. I found that both in the rehearsal and in the performance, and I think the last section is very special, the final bars are beautifully paced."

Nebula will be broadcast twice on NHK Japanese Radio next month.