The pandemic created serious consequences for the world as we know it. This is especially true within the sphere of culture, where large gatherings of people are typically necessary. Musicians worldwide have longed for the chance to continue doing what they enjoy the most. Fortunately, the pandemic has not hindered the birth of new composers and terrific new compositions. The love of music and its creation is still very much alive!
In January, Danish publishing house Edition Svitzer launched the Stellar International Composer Competition. The goal was both to encourage the composition of new percussion music and to recognize unknown composers and allow their music to be heard. Composers competed for five prizes in two categories: 1st and 2nd prize in the advanced category, 1st and 2nd prize in the intermediate category, and an audience award given to whomever got the most views on YouTube. Each 1st-prize recipient received a cash award, publication, promotion, and guaranteed performances in Europe, Asia, and the USA.
For this first year, all submitted works were to be written for solo marimba, and the deadline for submission was July 1, 2021. Since the competition was meant to result in the composition of new percussion works, the composers were only allowed to submit works written in 2021, and performances of the compositions were uploaded onto Edition Svitzer’s YouTube channel, so people were able to follow the competition’s progress in real time.
The response was immediately positive amongst prominent percussion players all over the world. Edition Svitzer CEO Johan Svitzer was honored to present a jury including himself along with American percussionist and composer Gordon Stout, South African composer Peter Klatzow, and British performer, speaker, and composer Dame Evelyn Glennie.
The jury received over 60 entries, and after much consideration recognized German Fabian Otten’s “Samsara” (https://youtu.be/agX_Hmkfwys) with the 1st prize for the advanced category. “Samsara” is characterized by a riveting harmonic structure, memorable melodic phrases, and magnificent dynamics, and it testifies to a composer who, despite his young age, is at the absolute top of his game.
Additional honors were awarded to the following entries: Advanced Category 2nd prize was awarded to “Constellations I” (https://youtu.be/MaXlhXzM-QU) by Maximilian Wolfgang Schwarz from Germany. The Intermediate Category shared 1st prize was awarded to “Calvary Song” (https://youtu.be/8GQKpGh0FYE) by Helder Alves de Oliveira from Brazil and “Prologue to Neither Here nor There” (https://youtu.be/My9eAJU0Aok) by Joshua Wat from Sweden. The Audience Award selections were “Calvary Song” by Helder Alves de Oliveira from Brazil and “Pick – etude in e” by Amadeusz Franczyk from Poland.
A diverse collection of excellent composers participated in this first competition, and Edition Svitzer is already looking forward to next year, when the participants will hopefully increase in numbers and continue to submit first-class percussion compositions for the world to hear and enjoy.
Edition Svitzer is a Danish innovative music publisher and booking agency specializing in percussion music. Since the beginning, Edition Svitzer has strived to provide percussion players all over the world with quality sheet music. For more information on the Steller Composer Competition, visit stellarcompetition.com.