Tallinn, May 15, 2015
Songr for Orchestra (2014) by Norwegian composer Jan Erik MIKALSEN (born 1979) and Cancro (2015) for symphony orchestra by young Slovenian composer Matej BONIN (born 1986) are the works selected by radio music producers participating in the 62nd International Rostrum of Composers (IRC) held in Tallinn, from May 12 to 15, 2015. A flagship programme of the International Music Council, this year’s IRC edition was for the first time in the history of the IRC co-organised by Estonian Public Broadcasting in the framework of a Creative Europe co-funded project named Rostrum+. The 2015 edition was opened on May 12 by the chairman of the International Rostrum of Composers, Evert van Berkel (Swedish Radio), along with Mr. Indrek Saar, Minister of Culture of Estonia, Margus Allikmaa, General Manager of ERR and Silja Fischer, IMC Secretary General and Secretary to the Rostrum. Over the more than six decades of its existence, the IRC has become one of the most important projects in promoting contemporary creation in music via radio broadcasting and is today a unique forum for professional exchange among radio music producers. Its central purpose, supported by the European Broadcasting Union, is to provide contemporary musical creations the largest possible number of broadcasts worldwide. For instance, the works presented at the 2014 Rostrum received nearly 600 broadcasts – one of the highest recorded broadcast rates ever – by the participating radio networks as well as by other broadcasting organizations.
The 2014 selected works “Words and song without words” by Yannis Kyriakides (Netherlands), and “Canzon de’baci” by Andrzej Kwiecinski (Poland) were broadcast by as many as 27 radios worldwide. The 2015 Rostrum gathered representatives from 28 national radio networks from four continents, which presented 55 works composed within the five years preceding the Rostrum. 14 of these works were by composers under the age of 30. After the listening sessions, the assembly of delegates selected and recommended the most distinctive works in two categories: general and “young composers under 30”. These and other works will be presented in concerts and broadcast after the Rostrum by the participating and other interested radio stations.
In the general category, Songr for Orchestra (2014) by Norwegian composer Jan Erik MIKALSEN (born 1979) was selected by the delegates as most outstanding. The work was presented by Norwegian Radio. Jan Erik Mikalsen is currently living in Oslo, Norway. He has studied at the Grieg Academy in Bergen, Norway, and at the Royal Danish Music Academy in Copenhagen, Denmark. Songr for Orchestra was commissioned and world premiered by the Norwegian Radio Orchestra the 30th of October 2014 in Oslo. In his words, “the essence of the piece is to try combining all of Norway’s history with an old Norse title (Songr means song), nature sounds, the open fifth, folk music and melodic elements and repetitive (that might represent today). I also wanted to bring in Indian harmonium witch was exported from the west to India. This I do without actually using real folk music melodies, but ratherusing elements that resemble folk music.”
In the “young composers” category, the work selected as most worthy for worldwide broadcasting was Cancro (2015), for symphony orchestra by young Sloveniancomposer Matej BONIN. Born in 1986 in Koper, Mr. Bonin graduated in composition from the Ljubljana Academy of Music under the mentorship of Prof. Uroš Rojko. He is currently continuing his studies at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, where he studies music theatre composition in the class of Prof. Beat Furrer. “For the point of departure of the composition Cancro, I used the “flux” or musical flow that is released by an outburst of the entire orchestral body and is based on the intensive rhythmic pulsing of the wind and the brass. I wanted to create a long, unbroken dramaturgical arc from the initial aggressive impulse all the way to the concluding section of the composition, when the sound is gradually reduced to mere noises and individual solo interjections before finally dying out altogether.”
In addition to the selected works, 11 other works (see list further) were recommended for broadcasting and concert presentation after the Rostrum by the participating and other interested radio stations. The results of this year’s Rostrum were announced at a press conference held at the newly renovated lobby of the Estonian Public Broadcasting Radio on May 15. The producers of the selected works were presented with a UNESCO medal. Mr. Mikalsen will be granted the “Guy Huot bursary” in the form of a joint commission with Radio France, while Matej Bonin will benefit from a special Rostrum+ residence program including also a joint commission with Swedish Radio. During their visit to Estonia, the Rostrum delegates were offered diverse opportunities for knowledge-building and sharing on the occasion of a meeting with the Estonian composer Helena Tulve and a workshop on the future of the radio led by Christian Vogg, Head of the Radio at the European Broadcasting Union. The exchanges among delegates brought to light the worrying number of specialist radio programs of new music and contemporary sound arts that have been cut or reduced in the past year across national public broadcasting networks. Delegates therefore adopted a statement of concern which aims to be a wake-up call to radio management across public broadcasting.
The itinerary of the week brought delegates to the world premiere of Arvo Pärt’s Adam’s Passion as well as various other concerts like “Rostrum Calling” at the Estonia Concert Hall or the performance of Vox Clamantis at Niguliste Church. The next edition of the IRC will take place May 16-21 2016 in Wroclaw, Poland, at the National Forum of Music, in conjunction with the 6th European Forum on Music.
Jan Erik MIKALSEN (Norway) Songr for Orchestra
João CEITIL (Portugal) ChacoN
Sampo HAAPAMAKI (Finland) Conception
Liisa HIRSCH (Estonia) Ascending … Descending
Katharina KLEMENT (Austria) Drift
Martin MATALON (France) La Carta
Jorge SANCHEZ-CHIONG (Austria) Salt Water
László SANDOR (Hungary) Et transfiguratus est
Branka POPOVIC (Serbia) Lines and Circles
Vito ZURAJ (Slovenia) Runaround
COMPOSERS UNDER 30 CATEGORY
Matej BONIN (Slovenia) Cancro
Mikołaj LASKOWSKI (Poland) The tiger left me unsatisfied
Igor C. SILVA (Portugal) You Should Be Blind to Watch TV