A great success for the first edition of the International Composition Competition Luciano Berio, which was promoted by the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecila and by the Centro Studi Luciano Berio. It is a result of the collaboration between the SIAE – Società Italiana degli Autori ed Editori, the Filarmonica della Scala, the Fondazione Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI and the Fondazione  Boris Christoff.

There is music and music”, one could say quoting the cult television program created in 1972 by Luciano Berio himself, where different aspects of music and its future are interwoven with the need that the new generations perceive within the process of creating and writing music. The composition competition and the international success received is the proof that the world will always have the need for music and musicians and that artists must be given the possibility to compose freely.

There were 128 candidates present: 89 from Europe, 14 from the Americas, 22 from Asia, 2 from Australia and 1 from Africa and 37 countries represented. The composers ranged between the ages of 13 to 40, the cut-off age to enter the competition.

The elimination phase, which concluded on the 30th September, determined the finalists of the composers. The final phase of the completion was held in Rome the 13th and 14th of October .

The prestigious jury, chaired by Antonio Pappano and composed by Ivan Fedele (Italia)Unsuk Chin (South Korea)Tristan Murail (France) e Augusta Read Thomas (USA), after having analyzed the scores, declared the Chinese composer Yikeshan Abudushalamu the winner. Each candidate was asked to submit two scores: The first for a Symphonic Orchestra, the second one of their choosing, in order to have a greater understanding of each composer’s musical literature.

The jury also awarded two honorary mentions: One for a Korean composer  Hankyeol Yoon and another to the Chinese composer Bo Li.

The winner will receive a cash prize of 20.000 € in order to realize an orchestra composition, thanks to the partnership with the Filarmonica della Scalathe Orchestra del Teatro del Maggio Fiorentino, and the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai. There will be six performances of the composition in 2021: three in Rome at the Santa Cecilia National Academy, three at the performance halls of the partner-orchestras. Furthermore, the composition will be published by the Universal Edition (UE) editing house.

“It was the first time that I chaired, as President, a jury. Before deciding, we deliberated a lot. Sometimes we were in total disagreement, but we found common grounds through discussions and mutual understanding getting to know each other” Antonio Pappano stated during the press conference. “At the end it was clear to everyone who the winner should have been, who since the beginning placed among the best six candidates. The choice fell on Yikeshan, because both scores he presented were excellent. The first, for full orchestra, with a persistent and persevering rhythm. The second one, with full ensemble, has another style, but this appeared synonymous of great personality”.

 During the press conference, the winner Yikeshan Abudushalamu, was reached via telephone and emotionally he declared: “I am happy and honored to have won the Berio competition. I would like to thank the jury that appreciated my works. To be honest, I was surprised and pleased when I got the news in the middle of the nigh , with a phone call from a member of the Committee while I was sleeping. And I feel even now the same. I am so excited that I can’ t wait to start to work on this new challenge and to work together.”


The composer Yikeshan Abudushalamu, born in 1985 in the Xinjiang, autonomous region of the Popular Republic of China. Abudushalamu belongs to the Uigura community, a Turkic Muslim ethnic group spread in the north-west of the country.

From 2008 to 2013, he studied composition at the Shanghai Conservatory, with Guang Zhao and Shirui Zhu, then he completed a master from 2015 to 2019 under the same guidance of Shirui Zhu.

Abudushalamu received several awards and honors: in 2010 the Excellency Award in the National Composition competition for percussions in Shanghai and the first prize at the composition competition, in Shanghai as well. In 2012 he was selected by the Conservatory for a scholarship at the Music University of Genève where he studied composition with Michael Jarrell and electroacoustic with Luis Naon.

In 2013, the Austrian Ensemble XX Jahrhundert presented its quartet for strings “Modulation of three primary colors”, commissioned by the Shanghai New Music, achieving success from critics and public. In 2015 he was guest composer at the Manca Festival in Nice, France. In 2014, he received the Excellence Award of the 11° Electroacoustic composition competition at the International Festival of Beijing Electronic Music.



Hankyeol Yoon, 25 years old, from South Korea. Composer, pianist and orchestra conductor, he lives and works in Germany. From the 2019/2020 season, he will be  in Kapellmeister at the Mecklenburg theatre of Neubranderburg. From November 2019, he is also one of the composers designated by the Foundation Peter Eötvös.

Li Bo, 31 years, Chinese currently residing in Kansas, Missouri. Winner of several awards, among those the Paul Hindemith Prize in 2012, the first prize at the V International Composition competition CON TEMPO, and the Excellent Composition Award at the International Music Composition competition from China.