The Hindemith Prize, worth 20,000 euros, is awarded to outstanding contemporary composers as part of the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival. This year, it will go to a British woman for whom a career in music was initially unthinkable.
Hannah Kendall is currently doing her doctorate in composition at Columbia University in New York. At the age of seven, she was already listening to baroque music and playing the violin and piano. For a long time, composing herself did not occur to her - after all, according to her own statement, the British woman with South American-Caribbean roots was not aware of any “black composers” as role models. Nevertheless, in her twenties she decided to study composition. Since then, Hannah Kendall has been able to make a name for herself with her works, especially in her home country, Great Britain. Her orchestral piece “The Spark Catchers” was premiered at the Royal Albert Hall in 2017. She has composed the chamber opera “The Knife of Dawn”, choral works and the dance piece “Labyrinthine”.
The 33rd Hindemith Prize winner convinced the jury with her broad compositional spectrum and expressive style: "Hannah Kendall displays enormous compositional diversity, ranging from classical heritage to experimental ideas. The richness of sound she creates with seemingly playful ease, her clear structure, energy and lack of compromise have inspired us unreservedly. I am very pleased that Hannah Kendall will enrich the SHMF next summer as a Hindemith Prize winner," said Dr. Christian Kuhnt, artistic director of the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, explaining the decision of the jury.
Hannah Kendall was overwhelmed by the honor: “To have my music recognized in this way means everything. I will most likely spend the award on developing pieces that I hope will take my practice in new directions. Music that I am working on in-between commissions that I am very excited about, but am having to fund myself.” The program of her prize-winner’s concert includes her own works as well as the premiere of a work commissioned by the SHMF from Mithatcan Öcal, the 2021 Hindemith Prize winner.
Paul Hindemith was committed to young musicians and was particularly known for his music education work. In his spirit, the Hindemith Prize promotes outstanding young, contemporary composers. Since 1990, the prize has been awarded as part of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. It is sponsored by the Hindemith Foundation (Blonay/Switzerland), the Rudolf and Erika Koch Foundation, the Walther and Käthe Busche Foundation and the Gerhard Trede Foundation, the City of Hamburg and the State of Schleswig-Holstein. The prizewinners of recent years include Matthias Pintscher (2000), Thomas Adès (2001), Jörg Widmann (2002), Lera Auerbach (2005), Anna Clyne (2016), Samy Moussa (2017), SJ Hanke (2020) and Mithatcan Öcal (2021).
The jury consists of Prof. Dr. Andreas Eckhardt (Fondation Hindemith), the Minister of Culture of the State of Schleswig-Holstein Karin Prien, Dr. Christian Kuhnt (SHMF), Prof. Elmar Lampson (Gerhard Trede Foundation and College of Music and Dance Hamburg), Dr. Astrid Bernicke (Hamburg Ministry of Culture and Media) and Prof. Rico Gubler (College of Music Lübeck).
Hannah Kendall completed a Master’s degree in Advanced Composition at the Royal College of Music with Kenneth Hesketh, supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Royal College of Music Study Award and the RVW Trust. She has worked with orchestras including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Modern, London Sinfonietta, Riot Ensemble and The Hallé Orchestra. Hannah Kendall currently lives in New York and is pursuing a PhD in composition at Columbia University.
Award-Winning ceremony and concert
Pieces by Mithatcan Öcal und Hannah Kendall
Mo, 22 August 2022 | 7.30pm | Rendsburg-Büdelsdorf, NordArt, ACO Wagenremise
Tickets are available from 25 February 2022.
Hannah Kendall on her piece "Baptistry":