Si-Hyun Ji was voted winner of the University of Aberdeen’s inaugural, international Music Prize at the gala concert on Sunday (May 1), which was the finale of a weekend-long programme of musical events designed to stimulate creativity and involvement with the arts.
The South Korean composer beat off stiff competition from four other finalists to win the University of Aberdeen Music Prize, which has been dubbed Classical Idol.
The weekend event saw the five musicians compete for the coveted title of Classical Idol and the prize of £5,000 as well as a commission for a full-scale work to be premiered by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
When the University of Aberdeen launched a global search for the composers of tomorrow, they were overwhelmed to receive over 400 scores by composers from around the world. The five finalists, from South Korea, Russia, Scotland and England took part in a packed programme of concerts and workshop sessions which will attracted almost 2,000 members of the public.
The inaugural award for String Quartet will be presented at the gala concert in Aberdeen’s Cowdray Hall after the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra performed all five of the new string quartets.
The pioneering competition initiated by the University of Aberdeen attracted entries from young composers in Malaysia, China, Portugal, India, Japan, Italy, Germany, Finland, South Africa and Mexico.
The finalists were: Si-Hyun Ji, (36), from South Korea, with composition The Deathly Wind; Vera Ivanova, (28), from Russia, with Song Not Sung; Sungji Hong, (32), from South Korea, with Second String Quartet; Bernard Hughes (31), from England, with Suck it and See; and Paul Newland, (39), from Scotland, with Mie.
“The winning composition was truly exceptional,” said Dr Paul Mealor, Director of the University of Aberdeen Music Prize. “But the other four were also excellent pieces of work. We heard some of the very best in terms of contemporary composition and I did not envy the judge’s task. The Music Prize has been a tremendous success and I think we have achieved our objectives of staging a real celebration of music and stimulating interest in composition.”
The Music Prize weekend also featured an activity-filled agenda with a fascinating programme of hands-on events including outreach workshops for school pupils and teachers and fun beginners workshops for the public at the ‘Create Studio’.