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The Spanish Mikel Urquiza, among the winners of the Siemens award for young composers.

In addition to the Ernst von Siemens Grand Prix for Music, which in 2022 has been awarded to Olga Neuwirth, the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation also awards its annual Young Composer Prize of 35,000 euros, which this year will go to Mikel Urquiza from Spain, Benjamin Attahir from France and Naomi Pinnock from Great Britain. In addition to the prize money, each composer will benefit from the world premiere of a high-quality musical production.

Prizes and scholarships are awarded by the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, whose president is Thomas Angyan, and whose vice-president is Ilona Schmiel. Nikolaus Brass, Winrich Hopp, Ulrich Mosch, Isabel Mundry, Enno Poppe, Wolfgang Rihm, Carolin Widmann and Andrea Zietzschmann complete the group.

Mikel Urquiza was born in Bilbao in 1988 and studied composition with Gabriel Erkoreka and Ramon Lazkano at the Musikene in San Sebastian, and with Gérard Pesson at the Paris Conservatoire. According to the prize jury, Urquiza is endowed with “a sublime sense of virtuosity” and “produces inexhaustible music charged with energy that defies classification and focuses on the theme of memory”.

Benjamin Attahir, born in 1989 in Toulouse, studied composition with Marc-André Dalbavie, Gérard Pesson and Pierre Boulez, and violin with Ami Flammer. “He has a penetrating sense of the tonal and technical elements of all the instruments he uses, which makes his music tactile in nature”. Naomi Pinnock, meanwhile, was born in 1979 and grew up in the small West Yorkshire town of Cleckheaton. She studied composition with Harrison Birtwistle and Brian Elias in London and with Wolfgang Rihm in Karlsruhe. “The pared-down nature and fragility of his sound world – especially in his vocal works – give his music a unique beauty that immediately moves the listener”.

© EvS Musikstiftung. Photograph by Rui Camilo.