The winner of the inaugural Delius Composition Prize, launched this year by the Delius Society in celebration of the composer’s 150th birthday, has been named as US-based Michael Djupstrom. His work, Walimai for viola and piano, was selected by the judging panel comprising composers Anthony Payne, Sebastian Forbes and Judith Weir from 73 entries from around the world.
Roger Buckley, organiser of the Composition Prize said: ‘We have been overwhelmed by the popularity of our bid for compositions which can be played as part of a recital including works by Delius. We wanted the competition to be truly international and this has certainly been the case, with interest and entries from across the globe.’
‘Much of Walimai inhabits the dark, mysterious world that lies concealed beneath the rainforest canopy,’ said Djupstrom. ‘This vast, timeless landscape is also the setting for the powerful short story of the same name found in Isabel Allende’s fascinating collection Cuentos de Eva Luna. Allende’s work first provided the inspiration for this piece, and to some extent, suggested its dramatic and emotional trajectory, which traces a path from clarity and freedom through a terrible loss toward an eventual release from suffering and return to peace.’
Walimai, which can also be performed by saxophone and piano, was premiered on May 8, 2011 by viola player Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt and pianist Michael Djupstrom at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.