10 September 2021

Busoni Composition Prize 2021 awarded to Igor Santos
Advancement Prize awarded to Elias Jurgschat

The Busoni Composition Prize 2021 has been awarded to Brazilian composer Igor Santos, who lives in the USA. The prize is endowed with 6,000 euros. The Advancement Prize of 2,500 euros has been awarded to up-and-coming German composer Elias Jurgschat. The jury was comprised of Music Section members Ludger Brümmer, Chaya Czernowin and Johannes Kalitzke.

With Igor Santos, the Akademie der Künste honours a composer whose music is distinguished by a vibrant richness of tone colours that feeds on the artistic rhythmised and high-contrast expansion of the instrumental material through everyday sounds, electronics, micro-tonal inflections or resonances and the development of so-called meta-instruments. His music has been described as “otherworldly and mysteriously familiar” (Chicago Classical Review) and “exciting and clear... with a striking boldness” (Luigi Nono Competition Prize). The music of the Advancement Prize winner Elias Jurgschat is distinguished by a special musical language that expands into the performative and the intermedial and focuses on detail.

Igor Santos, born in Curitiba, Brazil, currently living in Chicago, USA. Not only does he write concert music, he is also the Technical Director of Ensemble Dal Niente and composes for theatre productions in the USA and Europe. He holds degrees in music composition from the University of Chicago (Ph.D. 2018), the Eastman School of Music and the University of South Florida. Further studies include workshops and festivals such as Mizzou (2018), Impuls (2017), Time of Music (2017), ManiFeste (2015) and Fontainebleau (2010); in 2021, he received the Rome Prize of the American Academy and a Guggenheim Fellowship, among others. He won first prizes at the Luigi Nono International Competition and the RED NOTE Competition. Igor Santos' music is performed internationally, including by leading musicians such as Ensemble intercontemporain, Ensemble Dal Niente, Ensemble Modern, Alarm Will Sound, Eighth Blackbird, POING, American Composers Orchestra and the Florida Orchestra.

Elias Jurgschat, born in 1995 in Solingen, Germany, studied composition at the Robert Schumann Musikhochschule in Düsseldorf under Manfred Trojahn from 2015 to 2017. Since 2017/18, he has continued his studies at the Hochschule für Musik Carl Maria von Weber in Dresden under Mark Andre and Manos Tsangaris. He has also studied under José María Sánchez-Verdú, Franz Martin Olbrisch, Isabel Mundry, Wolfgang Rihm, Peter Ablinger, Johannes Kreidler, Brian Ferneyhough and Pierluigi Billone. Since 2017, he has won a Deutscher Musikwettbewerb prize and has been a fellow of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation. In 2018, he was selected to participate in the Dresden Master Classes in the composition section. In 2019, he was awarded one of the two composition prizes of the Alban Berg Stiftung Vienna, which included a performance at Wien Modern. In the same year, he was also honoured with an advancement prize for young composers from the Saxon music council.

The Busoni Composition Prize was instituted by Aribert Reimann in 1988 and is awarded to young composers as yet unknown to the public at intervals of two to three years. The last prize winners were Hanna Eimermacher and Hovik Sardaryan (2019). With this award, the Akademie is supporting the next generation of compositional talent; composition students have also been supported since 1992.

This year’s award ceremony will take place on 26 November 2021, 7 pm, at the Akademie der Künste, Pariser Platz. The LUX:NM ensemble will play works by the award winners and by Ferruccio Busoni.