Municipality of The Hague awards Kees van Baaren Prize to composer Seung-Won Oh

8 October 2022

On the recommendation of the Johan Wagenaar Foundation, the Municipality of The Hague awards the Kees van Baaren Prize to composer Seung-Won Oh for her work YeonDo. This composition prize is awarded for an orchestral work or music-theatrical work. Seung-Won Oh will receive the prize from the Municipality of The Hague during Festival Dag in de Branding on Saturday 17 June 2023. The New European Ensemble and Cappella Pratensis will perform the winning work in the Nieuwe Kerk that day. Ticket sales have started.

The Ensemble Academy will offer a Composer Portrait of Seung-Won Oh by performing her music on 18 February in Amare's Conservatoriumzaal.

YeonDo – Seung-Won Oh
Seung-Won Oh wrote YeonDo (Bosch Requiem, 2020) for the November Music festival. This music-theatrical work is an overwhelming experience, a symbolic musical ceremony. Impressive percussion parts, meditative string passages and heavenly voices merge into a spiritual momentum.
With her grand musical ritual YeonDo, Seung-Won Oh sheds new light on the time-honoured Korean Catholic church tradition. Before someone is buried, mourners join in a passionate group prayer for the deceased. The composer is fascinated by this unique death ritual that links ancient Korean burial traditions with the Catholic faith. During the YeonDo ritual, the spirit is prepared for its journey to a new world. Oh’s music has a powerful physical presence, and perfectly merges musical performance and sonic ritual. In her death mass, a leading role is reserved for the New European Ensemble, the singers of Cappella Pratensis and a contralto singer, who together unleash a stirring and timeless ritual.

From the jury report
The jury of the Kees van Baaren Prize consists of the board of the Johan Wagenaar Foundation. They praise YeonDo as ‘a very skilful composition, which at the same time strongly moves the listener. The orchestration supports a mature and balanced work that moves patiently through time. The composer shows mastery of structure in her wise choices of form, and leads us through a serene landscape of harmony and timbre. The long lines allow listeners to immerse themselves in Oh’s highly unique musical language. The use of space, movement and lighting elements further adds to the impact of the music, making YeonDo a work that begs to be experienced in a live setting. The contralto solo halfway through the work deserves a special mention; it is a high point of serenity and lyrical beauty’.

Practical information
Saturday 17 June 2023, Nieuwe Kerk The Hague
20:30 Presentation Kees van Baaren Prize to Seung-Won Oh
21:00 Performance winning composition YeonDo
Tickets via

This concert is part of Festival Dag in de Branding on 17 June 2023. This festival edition coincides with the second national Day of the Composer, an initiative of Dutch Composers Now.

More about the Johan Wagenaar Foundation and the music awards.