26th Vienna Days of Contemporary Piano Music

The Vienna Days of Contemporary Piano Music, organised by the Ludwig van Beethoven Department of Piano and Harpsichord in Music Education, took place from 4 to 7 February alongside and strongly linked with the Mauricio Kagel Composition Competition, which was held for the fourth time this year. This competition aims to encourage the creation and dissemination of new piano works for children and/or young people. One of the competition’s special features is that the jury’s deliberations are held publicly.

Dimitris Maronidis
Dimitris Maronidis ©private

Of the 151 pieces submitted by composers from 28 countries, the jury (consisting of Michael Jarrell, Clay McMillan, Isabel Mundry, Robert HP Platz, and Marco Stroppa) chose 15 for the final round; these 15 pieces were then performed by students of the department on three afternoons at the mdw’s Fanny Hensel-Saal. Following their presentation, they were discussed publicly by the jury. And as in previous years, the audience was able to follow directly how the works were analysed and ultimately scored in terms of composition, aesthetics, and questions of piano technique. The competition programme was rounded out with public teaching by the jury members, who coached students on selected works.

Ayaz Gambarli
Ayaz Gambarli ©private

Two first prizes were awarded—to Ayaz Gambarli (Azerbaijan) for Mirage and to Pamela Viglione (Italy) for States of mind—with Viglione ultimately turning down her prize because she preferred not to consent to her piece’s publication by a commercial publisher. The third prize was awarded to Dimitris Maronidis (Greece) for his work 4 (Hommage) Études. Furthermore, the jury awarded three honourable mentions to Ignacio Brasa Gutiérrez (Spain) for Tacto, to Jens Klimek (Germany) for Die Planeten, and to Stephan Lewandowski (Germany) for Geheimnisvolle Kurzgeschichte in 4 Abschnitten. The prizewinning works will now be recorded and published by the mdw Mediathek as a digital release, and they will be published in notated form by Universal Edition in its volume K2019.

As in the two previous editions of this competition, the presentations of the final-round pieces as well as the jury discussion was streamed live and is available for viewing and listening at the mdw Mediathek (mediathek.mdw.ac.at/kagel-2019).

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