Sinfonia Varsovia & guests: The Azrieli Music Prizes

Azrieli Music Prize: Sinfonia Varsovia & goście - koncert w Muzeum POLIN
Opis zdjęcia: sala koncertowa, scena, wokół ubranej w czarną suknię solistki grającej na skrzypcach, siedzą muzycy i muzyczki z orkiestry symfonicznej, grają na skrzypcach, altówkach i puzonach, fot. Danylo Bobyk

Works by the 2018 Azrieli Music Prize-Winners – Avner Dorman and Kelly-Marie Murphy  will be given their European premiere at POLIN Museum.

15 September (Sunday), 7PM, tickets: 50 PLN (rows L-W) / 60 PLN (rows A-K), BUY TICKET >>

Established in 2014 by the Azrieli Foundation, the biennial Azrieli Music Prizes (AMP) offer opportunities for the discovery, creation, performance and celebration of excellence in music composition. On September 15, the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra will perform the European premiere of the 2018 Prize-winning works on the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews stage. Maestro Yoav Talmi will conduct the concert which will also feature outstanding Canadian soloists: COULOIR (cellist Ariel Barnes and harpist Heidi Krutzen), violinist Lara St. John and soprano Sharon Azrieli.

The Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music is awarded to a composer who has written the best new major work of Jewish music in the past ten years. In 2018, this Prize was awarded to Israeli-American composer Avner Dorman for his composition, Nigunim for Violin and Orchestra.

Dorman’s Nigunim (Third Violin Sonata) was premiered in New York in 2011 by Gil and Orli Shaham, for whom it was written. In 2014, the composer orchestrated the piano part, and in 2017 heavily revised it, in which form Nigunim won the 2018 Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music. “I tried to bring more of the folk elements and rhythmic variety to the fore through orchestral colours,” says Dorman, “often by using instruments in unusual ranges and with unorthodox performance techniques. I think the biggest challenge was to preserve the role of the original piano part without overwhelming the violin and maintaining a balance that makes the piece sound like a genuine concerto.”

The Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music is awarded to encourage composers to engage with the question “What is Jewish music?” This prize is given to the composer who proposes a response to this question in the shape of a musical work that displays the utmost creativity, artistry and musical excellence. In 2018, The Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music was awarded to Canadian composer Kelly-Marie Murphy to create the work En el escuro es todo uno (In the Darkness All is One) – a double concerto for cello, harp and orchestra.

The work’s title comes from a Sephardic proverb that, in Murphy’s words, “encourages us to understand that we are all equal; once you remove the trappings of society and economy, we are more similar than we are different. Each of the four movements uses music from the Sephardic tradition as its source; specifically, Ladino [the language of Spanish and Portuguese Jews] folk songs. I chose songs that were somehow related to women’s lives and the importance of ‘mother.’ The concept can be as literal as mother to children, or as broad as Israel as the mother of the faith.”

The program of the concert, which will take place on September 15 at POLIN Museum includes – alongside the new works by Dorman and Murphy – compositions by Yoav Talmi, Srul Irving Glick and Mieczysław Wajnberg


Yoav Talmi – Elegy for Strings, Timpani and Accordion (“Dachau Reflections”)
Srul Irving Glick – Two songs from 7 Tableaux from the Song of Songs – soloist: Sharon Azrieli
Kelly-Marie Murphy – En el escuro es todo uno (In the Darkness All is One) – soloists: COULOIR


Avner Dorman – Nigunim for violin and orchestra – soloist: Lara St. John
Mieczysław Wajnberg – Rhapsody on Moldovian themes



The Azrieli Foundation