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THE SCOOP | The 2022 Azrieli Music Prize Laureates Have Been Announced

By Anya Wassenberg on November 4, 2021

(Left to Right): Iman Habibi, Aharon Harlap and Rita Ueda (Photo courtesy of the Azrieli Music Prize)
(Left to Right): Iman Habibi, Aharon Harlap and Rita Ueda (Photo courtesy of the Azrieli Music Prize)

The Azrieli Foundation has announced the three laureates of the 2022 Azrieli Music Prizes (AMP).

  • Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music: Iman Habibi
  • Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music: Aharon Harlap
  • Azrieli Commission for Canadian Music: Rita Ueda

The prize represents a substantial boost for the laureate composers. Each Laureate receives a total prize package valued at over $200,000 CAD. That includes:

  • $50,000 CAD in cash;
  • a world-premiere performance of their prize-winning work in Montréal by the Orchestre Métropolitain at the AMP Gala Concert on October 20, 2022;
  • two subsequent international performances;
  • a professional recording of their prize-winning work released on the Analekta label.

About the Composer Laureates

Canadian-born Israeli composer Aharon Harlap won his 2022 Prize for a work entitled Out of the Depths have I cried unto Thee O’ Lord, a setting of five psalms for soprano and orchestra. The work represents an emotional journey that begins in despair, passing through hope to celebration.

  • Associate Professor at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance in orchestral and choral conducting, and music composition
  • Most recently, Harlap received the Life Achievement Award (2020) for Jewish Art compositions, sponsored by Zippora Jochsberger and the Jerusalem Academy
  • His works have been performed in Canada, Israel, the USA, Europe, South Africa, Russia and Thailand

The jury describes the work in a media release as, “a beautiful, sophisticated, moving and sincere piece of music, written by a fantastic musician. It is a major work that reflects well on the state of Jewish Music.”

Iranian-Canadian composer Iman Habibi was awarded the Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music to write a 20-minute song cycle based on texts by Judeo-Persian poet Shahin Shirazi, sung in Farsi by a Persian soloist in a Persian style. The work will reflect the close historical ties between Persians and Jews since antiquity.

  • A founding member of the piano duo Piano Pinnacle
  • Has been commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra and Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and collaborated with the Vancouver and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestras, as well as the JACK, Chiara, Del Sol, and Calidore String Quartets
  • Awards include multiple wins at the SOCAN Foundation Awards, the International Composers’ Award at the Estoterics ‘Polyphonos’ Choral Composition Competition (2012), the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Emerging Artist in Music (2011), and the Brehm Prize in Choral Composition (2016), among others

The jury described him as, “a truly authentic composer. His music is unique, original and fascinating. His proposal for a new song cycle exploring Judeo-Persian poetry offers an utterly unique contribution to the repertoire.”

The 2022 winner of the Azrieli Commission for Canadian Music, Rita Ueda, will write a 25-minute double concerto for suona (Chinese double-reed horn), sho (Japanese mouth organ) and orchestra, incorporating native Canadian birdsongs. The piece will incorporate Japanese, Chinese and Western musical traditions.

  • Recent premieres include collaborations with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, Budapest Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Prague Modern, Locrian Chamber Players (New York), the Amadeus Choir (Toronto) and the SYC Ensemble Singers (Singapore)
  • Awards include the 2014 Krzysztof Penderecki International Composers’ Competition (1st prize), 2010 International Mahler Competition (orchestra, 2nd prize), 2011 Estoterics ‘Polyphonos’ Choral Composition Competition (1st prize), and the 2013 Val Tidone Composition Competition (orchestra, 2nd prize).
  • Currently Composer-in-Residence of Sanremo Symphony Orchestra (Italy)
  • Her latest recording is titled I Solisti Della Scala – Octets (Warner Classics)

The jury describes her proposal in a media release. “Rita Ueda brings rigour and care to her music. Her proposal is well-researched and interesting in the ways that it confronts tensions in and between cultures by viewing birdsong through an intercultural lens. It is a well-considered, generous and integrated idea for expressing the diversity of Canadian society, where all individuals can be valued for what they bring to the whole.”

The Azrieli Music Prizes were established in 2014. The AMP Gala Concert honouring all three Laureates will take place on October 20, 2022.


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