On May 19 in Palermo, Brut (2014) by Polish composer Artur Zagajewski (b. 1978) and Reachings (2014) by young Finnish composer Sebastian Hilli (b. 1990) were the works selected by radio music producers participating in the 64th International Rostrum of Composers (IRC) held in Palermo from May 16 to 20, 2017. A flagship program of the International Music Council, the prestigious IRC gathered representatives from 29 national radio networks from four continents, which presented 58 works composed within the five years preceding the Rostrum. 35% of these works were by composers under the age of 30. Evert van Berkel, recording producer for P2 live at the Swedish Radio, chaired the sessions. After the listening sessions, the assembly of delegates selected and recommended the most distinctive works in two categories: “general” and “young composers under 30.” The winning and recommended pieces will be presented in concerts and broadcast by participating IRC radio stations and across the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) via its wide network of members and associate satellite members, thereby reaching billions of listeners and ensuring excellent international coverage for the composers.
In the general category, brut (2014) for 11 instruments by Artur Zagajewski—premiered at the Warszawska Jesień Contemporary Music Festival in 2014 by cellist Dominik Połoński and the Arte dei Suonatori ensemble—was selected by the 2017 IRC delegates as most outstanding. Another work presented by Polish Radio Program 2, L’Atelier de sensorité by Szymon Stanisław Strzelec, was also awarded a “recommended” designation in the “Under 30” category.
Brut: a French word meaning raw, rough, unpolished, unworked, unpurified, primitive, primeval, brute…
“This piece was inspired by a fascination with Le Corbusier and brutalist architecture. I found it particularly interesting to combine this topic with the use of historical instruments, commonly associated with quite different canons of beauty. Brut was written on the initiative of the cellist Dominik Polonski.” (A. Zagajewski)
Also related to this year’s proceedings, another Polish composer—the 2014 ‘Under 30’ Category winner Andrzej Kwieciński—recorded his new work super [P|PE(s)] DEMO at the Radio France headquarters in Paris on 30 May 2017. The piece was played by the Ensemble 2e2m directed by Pierre Roullier and with the special presence of Ashot Sarkissjan from the Arditti Quartet who was invited for the occasion. super [P|PE(s)] DEMO will be broadcast from 19 to 23 June 2017.
Pursuing its mission to promote contemporary music creation through broadcasting for over sixty years, the annual Rostrum has this year again strengthened its role as one of the most important “rendez-vous” for professional exchange between radio producers. Its overall objective remains fostering the exchange of performances of contemporary music between broadcasting organizations. Since 2015, the IRC has been part of a larger project co-funded by the Creative Europe program of the European Union, Rostrum+, which aims to rethink the ways in which contemporary music connects with audiences through radio network by exploring new strategies to develop audiences, promote new music, enhance the skills of radio professionals and inspire cooperation between musicians, higher music education institutions and broadcasting companies throughout Europe and beyond.
In its 64-year history, the IRC has revealed the emergence of many of the world’s most gifted composers whilst they are still young. Famous composers such as Krzysztof Penderecki, Luigi Nono and Murray Schafer, had their first international successes when they were presented at the Rostrum.
All IRC recordings, scores and notes are deposited at the Music Centre The Netherlands in Amsterdam.