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Composers from top left clockwise: Gonzalo Joaquin Busto, Carlos Bandera, Ilkim Tongur, Theo Chandler, Luciano Williamson, Tomasz Skweres

Composers clockwise from top left: Gonzalo Joaquin Busto, Carlos Bandera, Ilkim Tongur, Theo Chandler, Luciano Williamson, Tomasz Skweres.

Composers come to Hastings to battle for competition prize

This Friday at St Mary in the Castle sees the climax of Marcio da Silva’s four-day Challenge of Change Festival with the Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra performing Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite and Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, the brilliant Ayşen Ulucan on violin. The event also showcases the six finalist composers of the Mustafa Kemal Atatürk Composition Competition, three of whom are present in Hastings for the occasion, writes Chris Cormack.

Chosen from 140 applications from 40 different countries, the composers are: Carlos Bandera (USA), Gonzalo Bustos (Argentina), Ilkim Tongur (Canada/Turkey), Luciano Williamson (UK), Theo Chandler (USA) and Tomasz Skweres (Poland).

Each contestant has composed an eight-minute piece inspired by one aspect of Atatürk’s life, which will be performed this Friday and judged by a jury for the competition consisting of Scott Sandmeier (USA – chair), David Parry (UK), Onur Türkmen (Turkey), Özkan Manav (Turkey) and Philip O’Meara (UK).

The winner of the competition will be announced on the evening of the concert and will be given a commission for a symphonic or choral work for the Hastings Philharmonic 2019/2020 season attracting a fee of £1,000. The other finalists will be given finalist certificates.

In 1878 Tchaikovsky travelled to France, Italy and Switzerland, where he met his friend and violinist Joseph Kotek. Together they played Lalo’s Symphony Espagnole, and the experience is said to have moved Tchaikovsky to begin composing a concerto.

Aysen Ulucan photo: Twitter

Aysen Ulucan photo: Twitter

Impossible to play

In eleven days the sketches were complete, and the scoring took only two weeks. When it came to performing the premiere, however, both Kotek and Auer refused, claiming that the piece was impossible to play owing to the many double stops, glissandi, trills, leaps, and dissonances. So it is appropriate that the international soloist, Ayşen Ulucan, will take on this extraordinary challenge.

The Firebird, a ballet and orchestral concert work by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, was written for the 1910 Paris season of Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes company. An instant success with both audience and critics, it was reworked as a suite in 1919 for conductor Ernest Ansermet in Switzerland.

The International Competition was instituted in 2018 to mark the 80th anniversary of the death of the inspirational political figure, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Find out more at the pre-concert talk at 5.45pm on 3 May at St Mary in the Castle.

The Challenge Of Change has drawn together a wide range of new or unexplored works, in music, art and poetry, to encourage the values of democracy and compassion in the face of constant change. Hastings is privileged to host this international competition.

Finals of the Mustafa Kemal Atatürk International Composition Competition: 7pm on Friday 3 May, St Mary in The Castle, with the Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Marcio da Silva. Come early for a pre-concert talk at 5.45pm. Tickets £22.50/£17.50 from The Bookkeeper, 1A Kings Road, St Leonards TN37 6EA, Hastings Tourist Information Centre, Breeds Place, Hastings TN34 3UY and online.


Posted 10:14 Thursday, May 2, 2019 In: Music & Sound

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