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The Siemens Awards were presented last night to the composers Unsuk Chin, Bára Gísladóttir, Daniele Ghisi and Yiqing Zhu and the ensembles Frames Percussion and Broken Frames Syndicate.

Yesterday evening, the award ceremony for the three categories of the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize 2024 took place in the Herkulessaal of the Munich Residence – the largest city palace in Germany, the former royal palace of the Bavarian kings. This is an international music prize awarded annually by the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts (Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste) on behalf of the Ernst von Siemens Foundation for Music and honours a composer, performer or musicologist who has made a distinguished contribution to the world of music.

The main prize is the Ernst von Siemens Prize itself, endowed with 250,000 euros, which this year went to the South Korean composer Unsuk Chin (Seoul, 1961), joining a list of artists that includes Benjamin Britten, Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Boulez, Helmut Lachenmann, Wolfgang Rihm, Tabea Zimmermann and Olga Neuwirth, to name but a few.

The foundation awards two other prizes: the composition prize, which is awarded annually to three young composers, each of whom receives 35,000 euros, and the performance prize, which is awarded to two young chamber ensembles (two thirds of the ensemble must be under 35 and their repertoire must be based exclusively on contemporary music), each of which receives 75,000 euros.

The 2024 composition prizes were awarded to Icelandic composer Bára Gísladóttir, Italian composer Daniele Ghisi and Chinese composer Yiqing Zhu. The performance prizes were awarded this year to the German ensemble Broken Frames Syndicate and the Spanish ensemble Frames Percussion.

The award ceremony also included a concert at which pieces by the four prize-winning composers were performed: Daniele Ghisi’s Three pieces from Weltliche (2020), performed on piano by Joseph Houston; Bára Gísladóttir’s RÓL (2023), performed on tuba by Jack Adler-McKean; and Yiqing Zhu’s The Aether and Nether (2023), performed on flute by Rafal Zolkos and on pipa (a traditional Chinese plucked string instrument similar to the Western lute) by Liyi Lu.

Two pieces by Unsuk Chin were performed, Gran Cadenza (2018), for two violins, played by Hae Sun Kang and Diego Tosi, and Double concerto (2002), performed by the Ensemble intercontemporain, with percussion by Samuel Favre and piano by Dimitri Vassilakis, conducted by Pierre Bleuse.

On this occasion, and for the first time, the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation is cooperating with the Beethovenfest Bonn to bring the two prize-winning ensembles, Broken Frames Syndicate and Frames Percusson to perform live on 29 September 2024, with a joint programme including Golnaz Shariatzadeh’s MOM for ensemble and animation; Mnemosis by George Lewis for septet; Urban Inventory by Lu Wang; within the Hadal & Epi by Anahita Abbasi; Dark Full Ride (part 1) for percussion quartet by Julia Wolfe; qsqsqsqsqsqsqsqsqsqqqqqqq for three toy pianos and 1-bit electronics by Tristan Perich; module 7: dry, from Dust, a work by Rebecca Saunders for solo timpani, and L’Opera (forse), for six percussionists and narrator, by Francesco Filidei. The concert will be conducted by the Chilean Lautaro Mura Fuentealba.

Photography of Spanish ensemble Frames Percussion by @ Tristan Perez-Martin, provided by the ensemble.