Winners of the John Lowell Osgood Memorial Prize Announced

Manuel Martinez Burgos and Giulia Monducci have been announced as the joint winners of the 2017 John Lowell Osgood Memorial Prize. The prize was established with a view to encouraging both composition in some form of chamber music and research in the history and aesthetics of music. The prize is offered alternately either for a chamber music composition or for an essay involving serious research in the history and aesthetics of music. In 2017 the prize was awarded in the Chamber Music Composition category.

Giulia Monducci is an Italian composer and DPhil candidate in Music at the University of Oxford. She graduated in Composition cum laude from the Royal Conservatoire of Brussels and studied closely with Marc Andre, Luis Bacalov, Azio Corghi, and Salvatore Sciarrino. She was nominated MusMA composer for Belgium and awarded international prizes in Europe, Australia and USA. Currently based between Italy and the UK, she works on different personal and commissioned projects.

About her piece, Avenue #1 | 5 Is Always Empty, she says ‘Avenue is a large-scale cycle which I started a year ago in collaboration with Ukho Ensemble Kyiv. The idea of Avenue as a cycle was born out my doctoral research for a connection between the concept of ‘space’ and matters of sound and temporality in contemporary music. It is in fact a project where each piece takes ‘space’ and spatial properties as broad sources of inspiration and explores them from different angles. In the first work of this cycle, Avenue #1 | 5 Is Always Empty, I make use of concepts from Chinese culture, such the Bagua and traditional Yin and Yang philosophy, to explore ways of portraying how energy transmutes through different states of matter’.

Manuel Martinez-Burgos was born in Madrid, Spain. After undergraduate education at the Royal Higher Conservatoire of Madrid, he then studied in Germany with K. Stockhausen, in New York with M. Babbitt and attended in Paris the IRCAM courses. He holds a PhD from the philosophy department of Madrid Autonomous University. Burgos has been awarded up to seventeen composition prizes in international competitions, including the Sibelius Prize, the Bacewicz Prize, the BBVA Foundation Prize, the Mitropoulos Prize or the Isang Yun Prize. From 2001 to 2017 he has been professor at the composition department of Madrid Royal Higher Conservatoire. He has also been visiting scholar at Cambridge University. Burgos has recently been awarded a chair in composition at the Higher Conservatory of Asturias Principality, Spain. He is currently carrying out a research at Oxford University regarding prosody as a compositional resource.

Of his piece, ‘Initiations’ for Ensemble, Burgos says ‘elements in nature are never isolated. So the sole existence of “something” implies a relationship with its environment and therefore a mutual action-reaction process. The magnitude of the latter depends on the organic structure of the activator, or initiator, and the activated element. Thus, there are specific compounds that irradiate and activate everything nearby. We know from physic science that these compounds may emit waves or particles that set up structural transformations on other elements. On this basis Initiations is a technical experiment founded in the idea of performers as “initiators” of musical ideas on a specific “musical environment”, to wit the chamber ensemble. In this medium instruments become, so to say, initiators of multiple action-reaction metamorphosis. These may evolve freely into more complex transformations or even trigger off a feedback effect that can alter original ideas. As a whole Initiations is a musical reflection on Music as a physical medium where very diverse processes can take place depending on the nature of the elements used in this sort of “aesthetic habitat”’.