THE ITALIAN ENRICO SCACCAGLIA HAS WON THE SECOND EDITION OF THE BERIO COMPETITION HELD BY ACCADEMIA AND BY CENTRO STUDI LUCIANO BERIO
The second edition of the “Luciano Berio” International Composition Competition was a great success. Organized and promoted by Santa Cecilia National Academy in collaboration with the Luciano Berio Study Centre, the La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra, the RAI National Symphony Orchestra, the Carlo Felice Theatre, Universal Edition (UE) and with support of SIAE – Società Italiana degli Autori ed Editori – and the Boris Christoff Foundation, the Competition is a member of the World Federation of International Music Competitions.
After analyzing all the submitted scores, the prestigious international Jury, chaired by Antonio Pappano, Music Director of the Santa Cecilia National Academy Orchestra and including composers Luca Francesconi (Italy), Tania León (United States), Michael Jarrell (Switzerland), and Hilda Paredes (Mexico/UK), has unanimously assigned the First Prize to the Italian composer Enrico Scaccaglia, born in Parma in 1989.
“Words fail me,” the winner declared. “I am overwhelmed with emotion. It is a great joy and honour to have received so prestigious a prize. Since its first edition in 2019, this Competition has held a particular attraction for me, since the figure of Luciano Berio was and continues to be a source of inspiration. It is to my encounter with Maestro Berio’s work that I owe my own approach to the ‘New Music.’ I would like this honour to be not so much a resulting point of many years of study and passionate exploration, as a starting point towards new horizons.”
During the preliminary phase, which started on 15 November after the submission deadline, the jury shortlisted 25 finalist composers, whose works were the object of a further, more in-depth analysis by the jurors, reunited in Rome for the final phase on 15 and 16 January. Each candidate had been asked to submit two scores: one for symphonic orchestra, and one with free instrumentation, in order to gain a broader view of the composer’s musical literature.
The Jury has also awarded 2 honourable mentions: one to Annachiara Gedda, and one to Chia-Ying Lin.
Enrico Scaccaglia will receive a commission worth € 20,000 for the composition of an original piece for symphonic orchestra which will be premiered by the Santa Cecilia Academy Orchestra during its 2024-2025 Symphonic Season. The winning piece will be also published by Universal Edition (UE) and will be subsequently included in the concert seasons of the partner orchestras. The winner will also receive a free two-year premium subscription to scodo, the new web tool for publishing music scores, conceived and launched by Universal Edition in 2021.
The original piece Repression by Yikeshan Abudushalamu, composed by the winner of the 2019 edition of the Berio Competition, has been performed by the Santa Cecilia National Academy orchestra, under the baton of Antonio Pappano, not only in Rome but also on tour in Bonn on the 27th August 2022; it has also been performed in Turin on the 3rd February 2022 by the RAI National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michele Gamba, and in Milan on 14 November 2022 by La Scala Philharmonic, conducted by Thomas Adès.
Michele dall’Ongaro, President-Superintendent of the Academy and among the Competition’s leading promotors, recounts how it came into being: “This is how we set it up: we chose Berio’s name as a virtual guarantor for the event’s quality, and not so much in order to label the competition as such, beyond my personal relations with the Maestro and the fact that the Santa Cecilia Academy makes its home at Largo Luciano Berio. More than a competition, it is actually a project, and it has absolutely innovative aspects: it has involved some of the country’s greatest music institutions, abandoning a possible ‛local’ dimension while in fact seeking to involve all the music organizations upon which Berio truly left his mark; it has involved a high-quality international jury, and above all one of the world’s most important publishers, Universal Edition[…]. And that’s not all: we will not limit ourselves to selecting a score, but the composer as a whole, from whom a new composition will be commissioned. […] It is a different commitment; we have chosen to believe in a collaboration among the great institutions towards a project that looks to young musicians, and therefore to the future.”
The initiative’s international dimension may be seen in the numbers: out of the 134 entries, 44 are from Italian composers, and 90 from the rest of the world; as in the first edition, all five continents are represented.
Here are the numbers in detail: submissions have grown more numerous since the first edition in October 2019: 134 in this edition (as against 128 in 2019); of these, 80 originate from Europe (89 in 2019), 16 from the Americas (14), 32 from Asia (22), 5 from Australia (2), and 1 from Africa (1). On the other hand, the number of nations represented – 37 – has remained unchanged. The men and women who submitted their compositions range in age from 13 to 40 (the maximum age for admission); the average age is 28; 109 men entered the competition, and 25 women.
Enrico Scaccaglia (1989, Parma). Son of bakers, he spontaneously approached music through electric guitar at a young age, exploring an array of genres (from Blues to Progressive-Rock, from Jazz to Post Rock). The influence of artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Radiohead is still perceivable in his music. Beethoven’s work brought him towards Classical Music, whereas Luciano Berio’s composition nourished his interests in New Music. At Conseravatorio “Arrigo Boito” in Parma, he met the composer Roberto Sansuini who was a key figure for starting a deeper study of Classical composition. Together with Sansuini, Scaccaglia dug into western Classical Music tradition studying counterpoint and fugue as well as composition in different styles all over the centuries while exploring his inner voice. He successfully graduated cum laude with the large ensemble piece “Linea di Confine”. In 2017 he moved to Sweden for studying at the Malmö Academy of Music with Luca Francesconi. This was the most crucial meeting during the academic period which allowed him to start developing a new eye on composition: the transformation of music as living matter, investigating in geometrical proportions and trying to find a high balance between instinct and rationality. Equally noteworthy is the encounter with the composer Bent Sørensen who prompted him to develop the “inner ear”: the ability to listen to and transform the musical living matter without the use of external tools. The Swedish period has been full of important received commissions from internationally renowned ensembles and orchestras such as Malmö Symphony Orchestra, Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, and Musica Vitae String Orchestra. Besides his academic studies, between 2017 and 2019, he co-directed the Connect Festival for New Music in Malmö.
Annachiara Gedda was born in Turin, Italy, in 1986. She studied composition at the Turin Conservatory first with Alessandro Ruo Rui and subsequently with Giorgio Colombo Taccani. In 2012 she graduated with top marks in composition and in 2015 she took a Master’s Degree in composition cum laude. In 2019 she took a II Level Master’s Degree in Composition at the Conservatory ‘Giuseppe Verdi’ of Milan.
She attended masterclasses with Luis Bacalov, Mauro Bonifacio, Azio Corghi, Ivan Fedele, Beat Furrer, Lorenzo Gorli, Toshio Hosokawa, Michael Jarrell, Bryan Johanson, Paola Livorsi, José Manuel López López and Tristan Murail.Winner or special mention in several national and international composition competitions – among which the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award 2017 (Tokyo 2017), the International Composition Competition Valentino Bucchi (Rome 2017), the Grand Prix of Composition held by the New Music Generation Composition Competition (Nur-Sultan 2019), the Rychenberg Composition Competition (Musikkollegium Winterthur 2020), the Veretti Prize (Fiesole 2015) and the International Composition Competition Egidio Carella – her works have been performed in Italy and abroad (United Kingdom, France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Finland, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Japan), during various important music festivals and seasons such as the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (UK), Biennale di Venezia (IT), Teatro alla Scala (IT), Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Season (UK), Festival Les Musiques (FR), Rondò Concerti (IT), Festival Suona Francese (IT), by musicians such as Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Stuttgarter Kammerorchester, Ensemble 10/10 (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra), Divertimento Ensemble, Ensemble Télémaque, Ensemble TaG, FontanaMix Ensemble, Syntax Ensemble, Imago Sonora Ensemble, Thomas Zehetmair, Ryoko Aoki, Akiko Kozato and Valentino Corvino to mention but a few. Some of her works have been published by Sconfinarte, Bèrben, Zedde and Universal Edition.
Chia-Ying Lin (1990, Taiwan), winner of the 2018 Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize, is a Taiwanese composer whose works have been performed in Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Finland, Italy, Hungary, Switzerland, Greece, South Korea and Germany. Her works have won international acclaim since 2015, including a third prize at the Jean Sibelius International Composition Competition (Finland), a first prize at the Piero Farulli International Composition Competition and the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra composition competition and a second prize at the International Composition Michele Novaro; she also received a commission from the Goethe-Institut Korea for the Asian Composers Showcase 2017.
Lin studied composition in Taipei, Manchester, at the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia with Matteo d’Amico and graduated from the postgraduate course in Composition at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia with Ivan Fedele.
FINALISTS (in alphabetical order):
Artur Akshelyan, Armenia
Christian-Frederic Bloquert, France
Nik Bohnenberger, Luxembourg
Gabriele Cosmi, Italy
Stylianos Dimou, Greece
Shiqi Geng, China
Wenjie Hu, China
Tetsuo Kubo, Japan
Yingting Liu, China
Hao Ma, China
Simone Maccaglia, Italy
Francesco Mariotti, Italy
Shin Mizutani, Japan
Vincenzo Parisi, Italy
Joao Carlos Pinto, Portougal
Graziano Riccardi, Italy
Demian Rudel Rey, Argentina
Jose Luis Valdivia Arias, Spain
Francesco Vitucci, Italy
Jin-Han Xiao, China
Aya Yoshida, Japan
Yiqing Zhu, China
The collaboration with the Luciano Berio Study Centre, with which the composition competition was conceived, also includes a series of study days devoted to topics linked to the figure of Luciano Berio. The first of these, Luciano Berio and multimedia, is scheduled for 11 March 2023 at the Auditorium Parco della Musica Ennio Morricone, on the occasion of the performance of Berio’s Sinfonia conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado (9, 10, 11 March). Organized to include a didactic seminar, screenings and study day, this meeting, conceived and coordinated by Angela Ida De Benedictis and Federica Di Gasbarro, is a starting point for a broader reflection on the relationship between Berio and audiovisual and multimedia experimentation – an area central not only to the field of studies dedicated to the composer, but also in the wider sector of research devoted to the interaction between music and technological evolution within twentieth century art music.
The Santa Cecilia National Academy is grateful to the Berio family for the permission to name the Competition after Luciano Berio.
Antonio Pappano, President
Luca Francesconi (Italy)
Tania León (USA)
Michael Jarrell (Switzerland)
Hilda Paredes (Mexico).
Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Fondazione
Tel: +39 06/328171
The “Luciano Berio” International Composition Competition is a member of the World Federation of International Music Competitions (WFIMC)
Video: Press Conference