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Composition Competition under the Patronage of Sofia Gubaidulina Decided

A composition competition for children and youths under the patronage of Sofia Gubaidulina took place in Freiberg (Saxony) on the occasion of the 82nd Bach Festival of the New Bach Society. The jury has now arrived at a decision. The four winning pieces will receive their premieres on 29 September 2007 during the course of the Freiberg Bach Festival, performed by the Dresden Sinfonietta under the direction of Milko Kersten.

Eighteen young composers responded with entries for the competition for children and youths, announced in the spring and calling for a composition for chamber ensemble (minimum 7 players) or chamber orchestra lasting up to eight minutes. The participants were from all over Germany (Hamburg and seven different provinces) and Switzerland. The youngest of them is eight years old, the oldest nineteen. The age group of 11 to 13 was the strongest, both in the number of participants and for being the most convincing in terms of originality of artistic statement; two of the winning pieces came from this age group.

The jury praised the variety of the scores sent, ranging in instrumentation from works for string orchestra and mixed wind and string ensembles to the larger chamber orchestral pieces with the complete available ensemble, as made known in the announcement, and from two-minute miniatures to multi-movement orchestral works. The titles of the works also indicate the variety of the ideas presented: Little Melody, Gondola Ride through Venice, Inner Prelude, Four Different Characters, Homage to J.S. Bach, Dialogue and many others.

The following question was posed in the announcement: Would you have fun writing music which would surprise and astonish Bach today or even make him a bit envious? The participants responded with the widest variety of compositional approaches. While some contributions did not go beyond an attempt at a stylistic copy, others juggled playfully and humorously with Bach quotations, seriously attempted coming to grips with a Bach chorale or played with the B-A-C-H motif in the foreground, revealing some interesting youthful handwriting.