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PATRIC STANDFORD reports from the 2nd
International Composers' Competition 'In memoriam Zoltán Kodály'


The jury of the Second International Composers' Competition 'In memoriam Zoltán Kodály' met in the cool basement of the Kodály Museum in a hot Budapest during the first week of September 2002, and read carefully through the 247 submitted scores over the first three days, reducing their shortlist to 98 and then, over a further two days to 10. There were 62 scores from the USA, 37 from the UK, 19 from Hungary, 16 from Italy and 13 from Germany.

Budapest. Photo © Keith Bramich
Budapest. Photo © Keith Bramich

Other countries like France, Austria and Greece were represented by half a dozen pieces, and there were many single entries from countries as far apart as Mexico and Uruguay, Japan and Brazil, Canada, Moldova, Israel and New Zealand. Although the jury did not feel that any entry had that outstanding vestage of genius that one always hopes might appear in such a prestigious competition, there were enough impressive works to precipitate a lively and difficult discussion on the final day of the jury's meeting.

The winner of the $10,000 first prize was John Reeman of Lytham St Annes, UK. The second prize was not awarded, and the third prize of $5,000 went to Ildar Khissamoutdinov, one of the three Russian composers who entered scores. There were two further entries that impressed the entire jury, though there was no provision for awarding prizes to them. Honorable mentions were therefore requested for two British works: a Quartet in homage to Smetana by Duncan Druce, a composer on the staff of Huddersfield University, and a Quartet by Christopher Beardsley. Clearly on the international platform, the British string quartet has acknowledged quality -- and justly so!

The jury was presided over by Zoltán Jeney, professor of composition at the Liszt Academy, Budapest, and the other members were Mario di Bonaventura (USA), Patric Standford (UK), composer János Vajda (Hungary) and Péter Komlós, the leader of the Bartók Quartet who will begin their 45th anniversary year with a recital on 15 December 2002 (Kodály's birthday) of the two prize-winning works and Kodály's 2nd Quartet. It is to be hoped that British quartets will consider programming the three new British works and more from the rich interest and skill presented to this international forum.

Copyright © 13 September 2002 Patric Standford, Wakefield, UK




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