Samuel Hvozdík Wins the 2024 ISCM Young Composer Award

July 1, 2024 / Frank J. Oteri
Samuel Hvozdík in the Faroe Islands on 26 June 2024,
a day before the performance of his piece Magma during the 2024 ISCM World New Music Days
(photo by Magnus Bunnskog)

Samuel Hvozdík (b. 1993 in Slovakia) has been awarded the 2024 ISCM Young Composer Award for his organ composition Magma which was performed by Swedish organist Hans Hellsten in the Fuglafjarðar Kirkja in Fuglafjørður during the 2024 ISCM World New Music Days in the Faroe Islands. The award 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 elected during the ISCM General Assembly listens to all the eligible works and then votes to determine the work they can agree is the most outstanding.

The jury–which consisted of Magnus Bunnskog (Sweden), Trudy Chan (Hong Kong/U.S.A.), and Deborah Keyser (Wales)–announced their decision on 30 June 2024 in the Panorama Suite of the Hotel Hafnia in Tórshavn right before the closing evening concert of the 2024 ISCM WNMD. They described Hvozdík as a composer who “shows craftsmanship as well as an insightful use of the instrument. Magma made creative use of the instrument and struck the jury with its intense and colorful originality.”

Magnus Bunnskog, Trudy Chan, and Deborah Keyser announce the winner of the 2024 ISCM Young Composer Award
in the Panorama Suite of the Hotel Hafnia in Tórshavn, Faroe Islands on 30 June 2024. (Photo by FJO)

Below is a recording of the world premiere performance by organist Štefan Iľaš which was streamed live on 6 June 2021 as part of Organfest 2021 Nitra:

Hvozdík studied organ and composition in Košice and Bratislava (organ with Klement Rečlo and Peter Reiffers, composition with Norbert Bodnár and Lucia Papanetzová). His music is regularly played at festivals in Slovakia and abroad. In 2017, his composition Regerna Symbio Irbis was chosen by Ensemble Modern for performance during the final concerts of IEMA. Hvozdík has attended multiple workshops with composers and players such as Kaija Saariaho, Tristan Murail, Helena Tulve, Tosiya Suzuki, Zsolt Nagy, Andrius Arutiunian, Robert Rudolf, Marián Lejava, and others. In 2013, he won 1st prize in the Slovak conservatories composition competition and in 2019 2nd prize in the International Composition competition Generace. In 2019, his composition Torus was chosen for ISCM 2020 WNMD in New Zealand, which was cancelled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and was unable to be programmed when the festival was rescheduled in 2022.

The ISCM Young Composer Award was established in 2002 and the first winner was Thomas Adès for his string quartet Arcadiana. Subsequent winners of the award include Leilei Tian, Sampo Haapamäki, Helena Tulve, Diana Rotaru, and Stefan Prins. The 2017 YCA recipient James O’Callaghan’s ISCM commissioned work Hair’s breadth for amplified solo bowed string instrument and electronics (2022) was performed by double-bassist Torleik Mortensen during this year’s festival in the Faroe Islands.

Frank J. Oteri


Frank J. Oteri

New York City-based composer and music journalist Frank J. Oteri is an Assistant Professor of Musicology at the College of Performing Arts at The New School as well as Vice President of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM). In his own musical compositions, which have been described as “distinctive” in The Grove Dictionary of American Music, Oteri combines emotional directness with an obsession for formal processes. His most recent work, Already Yesterday or Still Tomorrow, received its world premiere performance by the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Delta David Gier in January 2021. MACHUNAS, a performance oratorio created with visual artist Lucio Pozzi and inspired by the life of Fluxus-founder George Maciunas, premiered in Vilnius, Lithuania in 2005. Oteri received the 2007 Victor Herbert Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and the 2018 Composers Now Visionary Award.