Madli Marje Gildemann Wins 2023 ISCM Young Composer Award

Photo: Private Collection

Madli Marje Gildemann (b. 1994 in Estonia) has been awarded the 2023 ISCM Young Composer Award for her 2020 composition Osmosis for violin, viola, cello, and piano which was performed during the 2023 ISCM World New Music Days in South Africa during an afternoon concert at the Morris Isaacson Centre for Music in Soweto on November 29, 2023.

The award, which is supported in part by Music on Main, is a €2500 commission to write a new piece of approximately 4-7 minutes for up to 5 musicians which will be performed at a future ISCM WNMD festival. All composers under the age of 35 years whose works are featured during the festival are eligible for consideration for this award; a jury of ISCM delegates listens to all the eligible works and then votes to determine the work they can agree is the most outstanding. Their decision was announced during the final concert of the 2023 ISCM WNMD at Artscape in Cape Town. The judges of the award noted that Gildemann’s composition “beautifully and mysteriously translates the water system of trees and plants into a distinctive and otherworldly musical experience.”

Gildemann has composed music for choir, various mixed ensembles, and orchestra. She has also created music and sound design for theatre, animation, computer games, and dance. Performers of her music include the Klangforum Wien, Ensemble Synaesthesis, the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, and the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and her compositions have been programmed at various festivals, such as the Estonian Music Days, Baltic Music Days, AFEKT Festival, Al(t)chemie Festival” and “L’esprit de l’utopie”. She studied composition at the Georg Ots music school with Tatjana Kozlova-Johannes and Andrus Kallastu from 2016 until 2018. Currently, she’s obtaining her master’s degree from the Zurich University of Arts in the film, theatre and media program. Gildemann’s piano quartet Osmosis, which is the first of her Three Studies on Plant Biology, was one of the six works submitted by the ISCM Estonia Section in the Call for Works for the 2023 ISCM World New Music Days and the work selected for performance by the South African hosts of the festival. Below is an earlier performance of Osmosis by the Mondrian Ensemble at the Kunsthaus Walcheturm in Zurich, Switzerland.

The ISCM Young Composer Award, which was initiated in 2004, has previously been given to Thomas Adès, Leilei Tian, Sampo Haapamäki, Helena Tulve, Diana Rotaru, Katia Beaugeais, Eric Nathan, and Stefan Prins, among others. A commissioned solo piano composition by Michael Seltenreich, winner of the 2018 ISCM Young Composer Award, was performed during a recital by Jan Satler in Linder Auditorium at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg on the evening of November 26, 2023.