Composition 2009 - laureate JEON Minje (Korea)

Korean composer JEON Minje has won the Grand Prize of The Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition of Belgium for Composition 2009 - SABAM prize. His work for piano and orchestra, Target, will be performed at the Centre for Fine Arts (Palais des Beaux-Arts) by the 12 finalists of the Piano Competition, from 24 to 29 May 2010 (world premiere on Monday 24 May).December 2009, this composition has been selected from the 147 scores that were entered in the Composition Competition. The international jury, chaired by Arie Van Lysebeth, consisted of Chin Unsuk, Bruno Mantovani, Benoît Mernier, Kaija Saariaho and Frederik van Rossum.


About Minje:

Born in Incheon, Korea, in 1987, JEON MINJE composed his first pieces for piano at the age of six. In 2003 his arrangements of songs by Isang Yun for orchestra were performed at the Tongyoung International Festival. The following year he went to study with Hans-Jürgen von Bose in Munich; in 2007 he joined the Composition class at the Korea National University of Arts. His work À partir du printemps was performed at the International Contemporary Music Festival, in the context of the ‘Nong’ project. The group of composers of new music that he founded, ‘Sum’, has given a number of concerts since 2008. His works include : Soak, for five percussionists and orchestra (2002), Symphony No. 1 for orchestra (2003), Particle Beam for seven musicians (2005), Altertumklang for clarinet and harp (2007), Affine for violin and contrabass clarinet (2008), Kettenspektra for piano, Le Tombeau d’Anglebert for harpsichord (2009), and a number of pieces for piano (1995-2005).

Composer’s notes on his work:
Ravel wrote his Piano Concerto in G major ‘in the spirit of Mozart and Saint-Saëns’; he intended the work to be gay and brilliant, believing that dramatic and serious effects were inappropriate in a concerto. While working on my Target, I very much agreed with his approach. In Target I was not setting out to demonstrate any experimental elements of avant-garde music nor was I making any ideological point. On the contrary, it was written for both audience and performers to enjoy, as if they were watching an action movie called Target. It starts with a forceful sound from the orchestra and the notes ascend aggressively toward the highest A, which is the ‘target’, in the piano part. Then it shifts to an Allegro movement, after a prelude in a slow tempo. In simple terms, this is composed of an introduction and allegro. There are several formal changes in the Allegro, in the same sense that Ravel respected Classical form. It is Classical form that gives soul to music and that will be the key to enabling the audience to understand this music. The first part of Target appears again after the Allegro and all the notes again head towards and attack the highest A. The work ends with a short coda. It would be a great pleasure for me if both audience and performers feel and enjoy this music in the same way as I did – trying to catch up with the target all the time – while I was composing it. Recently, what I have realised is that music should be written not to compel the audience to listen to it, but to win people over to it naturally. If 20th-century music can be described as ‘innovation and development’, 21st-century music can be described as ‘mutual empathy’ or ‘shared sensibility’, as art is based on empathy.


Hugo De Pril
Flanders Area & Brussels