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Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam


It is always a visual pleasure, and usually a musical one, to enter Amsterdam's Muziekgebouw, perched over the IJ water. This was my second time as a juror on the Alba Rosa Viëtor Competition, for composers under the age of 35. My previous visit to the competition took place during a force 11 gale blowing huge waves against the glass walls of the building, and the police and fire brigade urging everyone in the whole country to stay indoors. I'll never forget it.

 

But this year's edition also had its excitements, due especially to the extraordinary lineup for which the competition entries had to be written; recorder, piano and double bass. My first reaction had been "it's going to be impossible". How on earth could you balance that lot? But worldwide, a sizeable group of composers took on the task, and for our public concert, broadcast on NPO Klassiek, we were able to select four very contrasting and effective scores as finalists -  the eventual winner being 22-year old Matthias Guntner from Austria.

 

Alba Rosa Viëtor was herself a composer, who died in 1979. A younger generation of her family have taken up her cause with great energy and enthusiasm, organising yearly events in her name. An unusual feature of the competition is that the majority of its jury members are women - reminding me of my jury service in earlier decades often carried out in the uncomfortable role of "token woman" on otherwise all-male panels. This year it was a pleasure to serve alongside Elena Firsova and Mathilde Wantenaar, together with Foundation trustees, Willem Jeths and Reinild Mees.

 

 

 

 

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JUDITH WEIR

Composer

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