Delius International Composition Prize-winner Announced

Winner Michael Djupstrom

Following a huge international response to the inaugural Delius Composition Prize, launched as part of the 150th anniversary celebrations of the composer’s birth in 2012, The Delius Society is delighted to announce the winner.

From a total of 73 entries received by the closing date, the judging panel comprising the composers Anthony Payne, Sebastian Forbes and Judith Weir selected a composition for viola and piano by Michael Djupstrom entitled Walimai, who will receive a cheque for £2,000. Michael Djupstrom, composer and pianist, lives in Philadelphia, US where he has a portfolio musical career which includes teaching.

Works by Adam Gorb, Aaron Parker and Ian White were highly commended.

Out of 73 entries received, 60 were from male and 13 from female composers. In terms of geographical origin, 53 came from the UK, five from the U.S., 13 from mainland Europe and one each from Brazil and Australia.

Anthony Payne, the Chairman of the judges, commented: “It was no small task to reach a final decision, but in the end the whole panel was agreed, feeling that the chosen score possessed the sheer compositional craft, originality of utterance and passionate feeling which one looks for on these occasions. It is a work that grips the listener’s attention throughout, and is of its time without displaying stylistic fads.”

Roger Buckley, organiser of the Composition Prize on behalf of The Delius Society said: “We have been overwhelmed by the popularity of our bid for compositions which can be played as part of a recital including works by Delius. We wanted the competition to be truly international and this has certainly been the case, with interest and entries from across the globe.”

“Our panel of judges did an outstanding job in whittling down the entries to find an outright winner and three further commendations. Our congratulations go to Michael Djupstrom who, we hope, will be performing his winning composition at our forthcoming Study Weekend ‘Delius in 2012: an International Celebration’ to be held at the British Library on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd September. On behalf of The Delius Society, I should like to thank all entrants for making this new Competition such a successful part of our 150th anniversary celebrations in 2012.”

Walimai, which also exists in a version for saxophone and piano, was premièred on 8th May 2011 by Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, viola, and Michael Djupstrom, piano at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

Michael Djupstrom explains the inspiration behind the work: “Much of Walimai inhabits the dark, mysterious world that lies concealed beneath the rainforest canopy. This vast, timeless landscape is also the setting for the powerful short story of the same name found in Isabel Allende’s fascinating collection ‘Cuentos de Eva Luna.’ Allende’s work first provided the inspiration for this piece, and to some extent, suggested its dramatic and emotional trajectory, which traces a path from clarity and freedom through a terrible loss toward an eventual release from suffering and return to peace.”