The Hindemith Prize 2021 goes to Mithatcan Öcal!

The Hindemith Prize, endowed with 20,000 euros, honors outstanding contemporary composers as part of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. The winner of the 32nd Hindemith Prize is Mithatcan Öcal. The 28-year-old composer convinced the jury with his particular musical depth and maturity: "Mithatcan Öcal shows an impressive tonal complexity in his works. Through the fine nuances in the instrumentation, the harmonic design and the special musical expression, he touches his audience in an immediate way," said Dr. Christian Kuhnt, artistic director of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, explaining the decision. 

Öcal himself underlines the relevance of such a highly endowed honor: "Composing contemporary music requires a lot of research and creativity. Awards like the Hindemith Prize give you room for this, because they secure your livelihood. I am very happy about this award and about being named together with Paul Hindemith. Although I wish for a world in which it is not necessary to award prizes in order to be able to pursue one's work intensively."

In addition to Mithatcan Öcal, SJ Hanke, winner of the 31st Hindemith Prize from last year, will also be honored at the prize winners' concert on August 23. "SJ Hanke knows how to fuse different compositional styles and concepts with each other in a fresh way in his work. This approach allows him to create a tonally sensual, not infrequently dramatic musical language. By condensing and superimposing tonal and rhythmic structures, however, he also leaves room for humor and Iro-nie in his works," was the jury's statement in his favor. The 36-year-old was not honored last year due to Corona. 

Both awards will be presented by Schleswig-Holstein's Minister of Culture Karin Prien. The program of the concert includes works by Mithatcan Öcal, the world premiere of a commissioned work for the SHMF by SJ Hanke, and music by Paul Hindemith. 

Paul Hindemith was an advocate for young musicians and was especially known for his work in music education. 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 Gerhard Trede Foundation, the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and the State of Schleswig-Holstein. Recent prize winners include Matthias Pintscher (2000), Thomas Adès (2001), Jörg Widmann (2002), Lera Auerbach (2005), Anna Clyne (2016), Samy Moussa (2017), and Aigerim Seilova (2019).

The jury consists of Prof. Dr. Andreas Eckhardt (Fondation Hindemith), the Minister of Culture of Schleswig-Holstein Karin Prien, Dr. Christian Kuhnt (SHMF), Prof. Elmar Lampson (Gerhard Trede Foundation and HfMT Hamburg), Dr. Astrid Bernicke (Hamburg Authority for Culture and Media), Prof. Rico Gubler (Lübeck University of Music) and Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Her-mann Rauhe (Honorary Ambassador of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival). 

Presentation of the Hindemith Prizes 2020 & 2021:
Mon, Aug 23, 2021 | 7 pm | Rendsburg-Büdelsdorf, NordArt, ACO Thormannhalle.
Tickets are available on February 25, 2021.