Claudio Abbado Composition Prize

In addition to the donation-funded, non-profit Association which enables the training of young gifted musicians by members of the Berliner Philharmoniker, there has been yet another institution since the year 2000: the Stiftung zur Förderung der Orchester-Akademie (Foundation for the Promotion of the Orchestra Academy). Its sole aim is to provide long-term support for this training ground for excellent orchestral musicians, founded by Herbert von Karajan.

Claudio Abbado, Karajan's successor and chief conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker from 1989 to 2002, provided the Academy with substantial support by allowing the assets of the Claudio Abbado Music Foundation to benefit the foundation in 2002. In honour of the great conductor, the Karajan Academy awards the Claudio Abbado Composition Prize on an occasional basis. The award-winner is at the same time commissioned to write a work that takes into account the instrumentation of the students and corresponds to their musical and artistic skills. The work is rehearsed with the students by the composer and premièred at a concert of the Karajan Academy.

Claudio Abbado
(Photo: Cordula Groth)

2006: Jörg Widmann

Quintet for oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon and piano
Première on 10 November 2006

“From compositional idea to actual playing and everything that lies between, Jörg Widmann was born to work with the academy students. The composer stands out through entering into a dialogue with the young musicians, and introducing them to his own aesthetic discourse by involving the players in the creative process. Thanks to him and his understanding of the young musicians, he consolidates the bridge to contemporary music.”

(Photo: Marco Borggreve)

2010: Bruno Mantovani

Concerto de chambre No.1
Première on 16 June 2010

“The thought and work of Bruno Mantovani combines historical knowledge with an awareness of the challenges of the future; for him, the consequence of this means confronting the present with all senses and drawing on its different musical forms. This worldly, life-affirming musicality makes him a perfect partner for the young, gifted musicians of the Academy.”

(Photo: C.Daguet/Editions-Henry-Lemoine)

2014: Valerio Sannicandro

Première on 9 November 2014

“Valerio Sannicandro’s sound language is an interplay between the compositional idea, a ‘spatialization’ of music and performing challenges. AQUAE presents the listener with tone images which sometimes sound unreal and whose production rely on the instrumentalists leaving their usual instrumental space.”
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(Photo: Stefano Candito)