Composition teacher Yannis Kyriakides receives the Johan Wagenaar Award 2020

17 December 2020

At Saturday the 12th of December Yannis Kyriakides, teacher at the Composition department, received the prestigious Johan Wagenaar Award. This is an oeuvre award which is awarded once in four years. Previous recipients include Martijn Padding (2016), Guus Janssen (2012) and Louis Andriessen (2008).

The Johan Wagenaar Award, curated by the Johan Wagenaar Foundation is handed out once in four years for a complete oeuvre, in this sense it is unique in the Netherlands. This award contains € 25.000, - and the performance of several pieces from the oeuvre of the winning composer. This performance of works took place Saturday the 12th of December together with the award ceremony at Festival Dag in de Branding. The ensembles Silbersee and Maze performed his works on several locations in Den Haag. Unfortunately, Kyriakides couldn’t be physically present at the concerts. Because of a corona contamination in his household, he accepted the award via Zoom.

Yannis Kyriakides (Cyprus, 1969) is a Dutch contemporary music composer. In his music, he often combines conventional musical instruments with electronics and digital media. Kyriakides studied at the Royal Conservatoire The Hague with Louis Andriessen and Dick Raaijmakers. Nowadays he teaches composition himself to a big amount of students. In 2000 he won the Gaudeamus award for his composition a conSPIracy cantata (1999).

In this article in the Dutch newspaper NRC, the composer states that he often starts his composition process from a philosophical concept. “I aim for a reflexive layer in my pieces. ‘What is sound?’ ‘How relates sound to space and time, to images?’ These are important issues for me, which I want to make sensible in a certain way. In the end, it is all about a translation of a concept to a sensory experience.’

The Jury of the Award, this year existing of Masa Spaan, Calliope Tsoupaki, Guus Janssen, Saskia Lankhoorn, Joseph Puglia, Diamanda Dramm, Joep Stapel and Pieter van Loenen wrote:

“Kyriakides dares to question himself in every work he writes. His oeuvre demonstrates an investigating mind which never lost the playfulness. He works methodically and steadily on a big oeuvre of high quality, which is marked by a wealth of ideas and an unemphatic application of electronics and extra-musical elements.”

On the occasion of the award, Yannis Kyriakides was a guest at Podium at the Dutch radio station NPO Radio 4. You can listen to this broadcast via this link.

Jellie Brouwer was presenting the online broadcast of Festival Dag in de Branding at the 16th of December. She also had an interview with Yannis via Zoom. You can watch the interview here.

Listen to recordings

At the YouTube channel of Festival Dag in de Branding you can watch a fragment of Silbersee in which they perfrm Ode to man. You can also whatch Maze from Korzo with a fragment from the Trackers Cycle. Click here.

The dutch radio programme NTR Avondconcert was present at the ceremony and the concert of Silbersee. You can listen to the broadcast here.

photo by Bart Grietens