She will receive the prize - for orchestral works and music theatre - on Saturday 17 June 2023 during Festival Dag in de Branding, which coincides with the second Day of the Composer. The New European Ensemble and Cappella Pratensis will perform 'YeonDo' in the Nieuwe Kerk. Ticket sales have started.
Seung-Won Oh - YeonDo
Seung-Won Oh wrote YeonDo (Bosch Requiem, 2020), commissioned by festival November Music. This musical theatre work is an overwhelming experience, a symbolic musical ceremony. Imposing percussion parts, meditative string passages and heavenly voices merge into a spiritual momentum.
With her sweeping musical ritual YeonDo, Seung-Won Oh sheds new light on the time-honoured Korean Catholic church tradition. Before someone is buried, an inspired group prayer takes place for the dead person. The composer is fascinated by this unique death ritual that links ancient Korean burial traditions with the Catholic faith. During the YeonDo ritual, the spirit is prepared for its journey to a new world. Oh's music has a great physicality in which musical action and sound ritual merge. Her death mass features a starring role for New European Ensemble, the singers of Cappella Pratensis and an alto, who unleash a shimmering and timeless ritual.
From the jury report
The jury of the Kees van Baaren Prize consists of the board of the Johan Wagenaar Foundation: Ellen Corver, Kiki Raposo de Haas, Pieter van Loenen, Anne LaBerge and Arnold Marinissen. They praised YeonDo as "a highly skilled composition, which at the same time moves the listener strongly. The orchestration supports a mature and balanced work that moves patiently through time. The composer shows mastery of structure in her wise choices of form, leading us through a serene landscape of harmony and timbre. The long lines allow the listener to immerse herself in Ohs very own musical language. The use of spatiality, movement and lighting elements further adds to the work's impact, making YeonDo a work that wants to be experienced live. The alto solo midway through the work deserves a separate mention; it is a highlight of stillness and lyrical beauty."