Erste Bank Composition Award 2023

The Erste Bank Composition Award 2023 goes to the composer and performer duo Nimikry - Alessandro Baticci and Rafal Zalech. The premiere of the prize-winning work will take place at Wien Modern on 28.11.2023.

Baticci and Zalech work at the intersection of music and technology, blurring the lines between instrumental music and technological innovation.

The focus of their creativity combines artistic research with the search for new qualities in art. The unique extensions of their self-developed instruments are the basis and inspiration for intense explorations of new sonic possibilities. Their compositions are exuberantly imaginative and refreshingly eclectic. Elements of experimental electronics, noise-pop, classical music and improvisation combine to create a new musical aesthetic off the beaten path. The classically trained musicians immerse themselves in a new universe of musical expression with an avant-garde language.

Central to the duo is always the collaboration with other musicians and artists with the goal of realizing their full potential by developing solutions that unleash new artistic forces. The added value of collaborations with creative minds from different fields and places constantly expands the boundaries of what is possible in the world of music and technology.

Statement of the jury

"Nimikry is in many ways an exceptional duo in contemporary music. As composers they shape the creative with an interpreter's eye, as interpreters they approach the composed with a post-creative spirit, and as contemporaries with an affinity for technology they interweave interpretative-compositional goals with the development of new technologies for playing techniques and sound production. The Duo Nimikry can thus be described as impulse-giving and groundbreaking in the best sense of the word, especially in the field of advanced composition."

Statement of the award winners

The award winners on receiving the award: "We are deeply honored and delighted to have received the prestigious Erste Bank Composition Award for our compositional work in the field of contemporary music. This recognition means a lot to us and we thank the members of the jury, Klangforum Wien and Erste Bank for their long-standing support and promotion of composers and their work.

We are very pleased to premiere our new piece with Klangforum Wien in the upcoming concert season as part of Wien Modern. This ensemble is an institution, in Austria as well as in the international music scene. For us, composing for Klangforum means something like playing on a complex instrument with endless technical and sonic possibilities. The openness and curiosity of the musicians inspires us to explore the limits of what is possible and to realize our most abstract ideas in the best possible environment. To premiere the new piece at Wien Modern festival is the best possible constellation we could wish for."

The duo Nimikry - Alessandro Baticci and Rafal Zalech

As a freelance flutist, composer and electroacoustic performer, Alessandro Baticci is internationally active in the field of contemporary music and sound art.

Photo: (c) Laura Bianchi

Engagements have taken him to the USA, Japan, Korea, Argentina, China, Taiwan and throughout Europe to the most important concert halls and festivals: Salzburg Festival, Lucerne Festival, Warsaw Autumn, Ruhrtriennale, Wiener Festwochen, Wien Modern , Klangspuren Schwaz, Transart, IRCAM, Darmstadt Summer Courses, IMPULS, Vienna Musikverein and Wiener Konzerthaus.

His commitment to contemporary music has led him not only to collaborations with composers such as Beat Furrer, Tristan Murail, Salvatore Sciarrino and Brian Ferneyhough, but also to intensive activity in the fields of sound installations, performative art and electroacoustic composition.

As an inventor, he develops various prototypes of electroacoustic instruments as well as sonic and ergonomic solutions. Baticci combines extensive knowledge in product and interface design and is a regular lecturer at various universities worldwide.

Born in Milan, Italy, he began his musical education at a very early age. He completed his studies in composition, flute, sound engineering as well as multimedia art in Vienna and Graz (University of Music and Performing Arts and University of Applied Arts Vienna).

Baticci is a founding member of The Black Page Orchestra, a Ensemble for radical and uncompromising music of our time, and founder of the duo Nimikry.

In 2019 he received the START scholarship of the Federal Chancellery Austria Arts and Culture. Baticci is an alumnus of the Lucerne Festival Academy as well as a fellow of the Akademie Musiktheater heute of the Deutsche Bank Foundation. In 2021 he was awarded the State Scholarship of the Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture, Public Service and Sports, in 2022 he was appointed Fellow of the Bogliasco Foundation and received the Publicity Award 2022 of the SKE Kulturförderung as well as the Theodor Körner Prize 2022 for Science and Art.

Rafal Zalech's artistic activities are stretched out between performance, composition and development of IoT devices for musicians. As a violist, he plays at most new music festivals on 5 continents and completes solo performances with orchestras such as Webern Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia Varsovia, OMN or Divertimento. He is a member of The Black Page Orchestra and Nimikry, and also CEO of the smart-instruments startup DigitAize. Since 2010, an intensive collaboration with Klangforum Wien has developed.

Photo: (c) Piotr Koscik

Rafal Dominik Zalech was born in 1988 in Wrocław. He studied viola and electroacoustic composition at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, as well as at Yale University (USA) and in Wrocław (PL). Through intensive research on technologies of digitizing gestures on string instruments, he obtained an international patent. This advanced technology is currently used by the company he co-founded, DigitAize Smart Music Instruments.

As a violist (and composer) he regularly performs at the most important festivals of new music: Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Wien Modern, Ultraschall Berlin, Transameriques Montreal and Warsaw Autumn among others. His active concert activity in recent years has included numerous performances as well as guest lectures and workshops at the invitation of academic institutions - Teatro Colon Academy in Buenos Aires, Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, Electronic Music Collective in New York, National Music Conservatory in Beijing as well as at the music universities in Vienna, Linz and Salzburg.

Rafal Zalech is, among others, a recipient of the START scholarship of the Austrian Federal Chancellery (Arts and Culture), the J. Windisch scholarship, the Thyll-Dürr Foundation, Mica Austria and a member of the "Sylff" program of the Tokyo Foundation. Most recently, Zalech received the State Scholarship for Composition 2023.

More information about Nimikry on

The Erste Bank Composition Award

The Erste Bank Composition Award has established itself as one of the most important awards in the field of new music. Since 1989, Erste Bank has awarded an annual composition prize to outstanding composers in recognition of their work to date. The Erste Bank Composition Award includes at least three performances by Klangforum Wien. The world premiere usually takes place at Wien Modern festival. In addition, the Erste Bank Composition Award supports the publication of the new work and a portrait on a contemporary recording medium.

The prizewinners are selected by a jury consisting of Gerd Kühr (composer), Christian Scheib (ORF, musikprotokoll) and Peter Paul Kainrath (artistic director, Klangforum Wien).

Laureate concert and world premiere at Wien Modern on 28.11.2023.

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