Two new prizes of $50,000 each are being offered by the Azrieli Foundation to the composers of any faith or background of original orchestral Jewish music judged by a jury to be named.
The Azrieli Music Project (AMP) has been established to “celebrate, foster and create opportunities for the performance of high quality new orchestral music on a Jewish theme or subject,” says its chair, soprano and Jewish music scholar Sharon Azrieli Perez.
The prizes are to be awarded in two categories.
The Azrieli Prize in Jewish Music is an international prize for a recently composed (within the last 10 years) or performed work of at least 15 minutes duration by a living composer, but never commercially recorded. It is open to composers of any nationality, age or experience. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 1, 2016.
The prize of the Azrieli Commissioning Competition is a grant for the creation of a work of orchestral Jewish music between 15 and 25 minutes in length. This prize is limited to Canadian citizens or permanent residents of any age or experience.
A written proposal of the work to be composed, plus two excerpts of three minutes each from previously completed works (score and recording), must be submitted by March 15, 2015. The deadline for the completed composition is July 1, 2016.
The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM) under the direction of Kent Nagano will perform the winning works at the Azrieli Music Project Gala Concert at the Maison symphonique on Oct. 19, 2016.
“Music has always played an important role in the development of cultural identities,” said Azrieli Perez. “Whether through folk traditions, in liturgical settings or in the concert hall, music reflects history and soul. In creating this extraordinary opportunity for composers of Jewish orchestral music, we hope to sustain music’s vital continuity through the long and rich history of Jewish people and culture.
“The AMP will become the medium for innovation, creation and risk-taking by today’s most inspired orchestral composers.”
What constitutes ‘Jewish music’ is, of course, open to interpretation and she recognizes that its definition is continually evolving.
Taking into account the rich and diverse history of Jewish musical traditions, the AMP defines Jewish music as music that incorporates a Jewish thematic or Jewish musical influence.
Jewish themes may include biblical, historical, liturgical, secular or folk elements. The AMP believes Jewish music should also be forward-looking, and encourages themes and content drawn from contemporary Jewish life.
Opera singer Joseph Rouleau, honorary president of Jeunesses Musicales Canada, will serve as chair of the AMP advisory council. “It is a tremendous pleasure to help launch this significant new prize, which offers such extraordinary opportunities for the two composers who will have their work performed by Maestro Nagano and the OSM, and for the public who will benefit from the creation of two new works of art on the fascinating theme of Jewish music.”
Rouleau is joined on the advisory council by soprano Azrieli Perez, a director on the Azrieli Foundation board; Canadian composer Ana Sokolović, former citizenship court judge and arts patron Barbara Seal, and classical music philanthropist David Sela.
The AMP jury will be announced at a later date.
Applications and further information are available at www.azrielifoundation.org.