Zubel with UNESCO Prize for a Musical Beckett
no-image, Zubel with UNESCO Prize for a Musical Beckett
The representatives of 30 radio stations from across the world submitted 51 newly composed pieces to the Composers’ Tribune of UNESCO. Composer-soprano Agata Zubel, aged 34, whose work Not I was sent in by the Polish Radio, swept the best composition award in the contest.
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Agata Zubel. photo: Jakub Pajewski / KBF
The International Composers’ Tribune of UNESCO which has been gathering continually since 1955 and is one of the most important forums for infomation exchange in contemporary music. Each year, the Tribune recommends 10 compositions to be broadcast by radio stations across the world. Apart from creating this selection, the Tribune also presents awards in the categories of best composition and best composition created by an artist under 30 years of age. Agata Zubel is winner of the best composition title for Not I, which she wrote for soprano, instrumental ensemble and electronics.
Zubel composed Not I based on the renowned theatre monologue by Samuel Beckett of the same title. It tells the the story of an old woman who experienced a traumatic event in her past. Zubel's score for the piece explores an incredibly rich vocal range and techniques, performed by Zubel with the ensemble's accompaniment. Beckett's stage directions have the text performed in a darkened theatre, with a beam of light focusing on the lips of the reciting actor. In a film that she also produced, Zubel follows this indications, with all attention drawn onto her, the camera focusing on her singing lips. This is an experience that radio audiences are, alas, bound to miss out on.
Bzik Kulturalny: Agata Zubel [English subtitles] from Culture.pl on Vimeo.
Joanna Grotkowska, a journalist of the Dwójka radio channel and one of the jury members of the International Composers’ Tribune, revealed that
Poland is a country that is treated with special respect, everybody here says that we have a very strong contemporary music scene and great composers. The piece written by Agata Zubel stood out a lot. It didn’t fit into the mainstream, it brough in something fresh and new.
Among Polish composers who have garnered the UNESCO Tribune’s awards in the past are such names as Witold Lutosławski, Krzysztof Penderecki, Hanna Kulenty, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki and Eugeniusz Knapik. Since 1955, the works of more than 40 Polish composers were also recommended by the Tribune for worldwide radio broadcast.
Born in 1978 in Wrocław, Agata Zubel is a composer and a vocalist. She frequently draws on literary inspirations in her work – from the writings of Miłosz, through Rev. Jan Twardowski, to Wisława Szymborska.
For more Culture.pl coverage of Zubel's recent activities, see here.
Author: Filip Lech, translated by Paulina Schlosser, source: Polskie Radio, Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne, 5.06.2013