Posted: 3 July 2011
The Royal Academy of Music has announced the Winner and the student who is Very Highly Commended in the Alan Bush Composition Prize, 2011. David Coonan and Ed Scolding are also Commended for their promising work.
This year the Winner is Benedikt Hayoz, who is a conductor and composer specializing in contemporary classical music. He graduated from the Conservatoire Fribourg in 2008, where he studied horn and conducting. He went on to complete a Masters in Composition with Isabel Mundry at the University of Arts in Zurich. He is now studying at the Royal Academy of Music. He has had success with a number of his compositions abroad. He is currently working closely with a small string orchestra, La Petite Bande, made up of children in the Conservatoire Fribourg. His winning composition is entitled 'Herbstausklänge ... oder von der Dichte und dem Raum'. Describing his piece, Benedikt Hayoz said he took his inspiration from "a beautiful late summer and the beginning of autumn, as well as an increasing interest for space and concentration in music." He took "the resonance of sound or energy in music as an allegory to the dying nature in autumn and smooth intervals, like the major 9th or the minor 7th and 3rd, as a picture of the mystical atmosphere of autumn".
Phil Dawson, who is Very Highly Commended, was born in Essex and is currently studying at the Royal Academy of Music with Simon Bainbridge and Brian Elias. He is the recipient of the Leverhulme Trust Scholarship and several other scholarships and has won prizes at the RAM and the Birmingham Conservatoire, where he had previously studied. Philip has gained much recognition as a young composer featuring in many master classes with established composers. Last summer he won a full scholarship to study at the Dartington Summer School in July-August 2010. His composition is called Ghosts of Departed Quantities. Phil Dawson wanted to capture some of the essence of Dartington within the composition, in a quote from Stravinsky's ballet, Agon, completed by Stravinsky in 1957 during one of his periods of stay in Dartington. The Agon fragment is treated as if it is "a faint memory... The piece unravels the fragment through a series of chambers, each presenting the birth of new materials out of a treatment of the fragment".
The adjudicator, Bryn Harrison, said that "he was naturally drawn to those shortlisted pieces that demonstrated more of a sense of individuality and originality above technical proficiency". He felt this "the strongest in Benedikt Hayoz's piece", which he thought "had a poetic quality and most convincingly set out to define its own sense of space".