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The 2024 Ernst von Siemens International Music Prize, with a value of 250,000 euros, will be awarded to the South Korean composer Unsuk Chin at a ceremony in Munich on 18 May. New publications by Chin in the Hawkes Pocket Scores series, released in the coming months, include Violin Concerto No.1, cosmigimmicks and the Cello Concerto.

With its award of the 2024 Ernst von Siemens International Music Prize to Unsuk Chin, the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation is honouring an internationally renowned composer whose works are performed worldwide. The prize citation describes how, with her great successes such as the opera Alice in Wonderland, she has opened up new paths for new music and inspired a global audience. Chin does not override traditional concepts such as melody and harmony, but reinterprets them again and again. Her works are characterised by lucid, dreamlike sounds and a humorous lightness. The result is music that is easily accessible to the audience, but at the same time remains complex and challenging. Chin sees herself as an international composer who is familiar with both Asian and Western culture.

The prize citation praises Chin’s Violin Concerto No.1 (2001) for its “synthesis of glittering orchestration, rare sonority, fleeting expression, musical riddles and unexpected twists and turns”. Other highlighted works include her concerto for sheng and orchestra, Šu (2009), widely performed by Wu Wei, and her opera Alice in Wonderland (2004-07) which “showcases Chin's sonic imagination and her synaesthetic sense of the colour and aroma of music”.

The Ernst von Siemens Music Prize will be awarded to Unsuk Chin on 18 May 2024 in the Herkules Hall of the Munich Residence. The laudatory speech for the composer will be delivered by Louwrens Langevoort, Director of the Cologne Philharmonie. The Ensemble Intercontemporain, that has done much to commission and champion Chin’s music over recent decades, will perform a selection of her works in Munich under the direction of its new musical director Pierre Bleuse.

> Read the full press release

A trio of new Unsuk Chin publications in the prestigious Hawkes Pocket Score (HPS) series is launched this month with the release of Violin Concerto No.1, the work that won the Grawemeyer Award in 2004 and helped introduce her music to international audiences. It has received over 60 performances in 20 countries with leading interpreters including violinists Viviane Hagner, Hae-Sun Kang, Christian Tetzlaff and Renaud Capuçon, and conductors Kent Nagano, Simon Rattle, Myung-Whun Chung and Esa-Pekka Salonen.

Also available this month is the first HPS publication of cosmigimmicks, composed in 2012 for the distinctive ensemble line-up of trumpet, percussion, harp, guitar, mandolin, prepared piano and violin. The pantomime-inspired work explores aspects of disguise and mimicry, with a soundworld the composer describes as ‘metallic and highly fragile’. The three movements are Shadow Play finding musical equivalents to shadow puppetry, Quad inspired by two TV plays by Samuel Beckett and Thall which is a homage to Chin’s teacher and mentor György Ligeti.

Following in April is a new HPS score of Chin’s Cello Concerto composed in 2008 for Alban Gerhardt, which has received over 50 performances to date. The concerto has something of a reputation as one of the most technically demanding in the modern repertoire, yet it has attracted other leading soloists in addition to Gerhardt including Alisa Weilerstein, Isang Enders and Tanja Tetzlaff. Two recordings are available, both with Gerhardt as soloist and Myung-Whun Chung as conductor: with the Seoul Philharmonic dating from 2014 and with the Berlin Philharmonic (both audio and video) as part of the recently released box devoted to the music of Unsuk Chin.

> Violin Concerto No.1  Hawkes Pocket Score (979-0-060-11663-6)
> cosmigimmicks  Hawkes Pocket Score (979-0-060-13372-5)
> Cello Concerto  Hawkes Pocket Score (979-0-060-13006-9) (released in April)

> Explore a full list of Unsuk Chin publications including the recent complete edition of her Piano Etudes.

>  Further information on Work: Violin Concerto No.1

Photo: Rui Camilo © Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung

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