Chairman of the jury
Arie Van Lysebeth
Belgium, °1938
Arie Van Lysebeth was the President of the Jury of the Queen Elisabeth Competition from 1996 to 2018. He took up the violin at the age of four. He completed his higher education at the Brussels Conservatory in music theory, bassoon, chamber music, and orchestral conducting. Following a competition, he was appointed bassoon soloist of the Belgian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra. Two years later, he came joint first in the Prague International Bassoon Contest. He also studied conducting under Bruno Maderna in Salzburg and under Pierre Boulez in Switzerland. Starting in 1970, he conducted the Flemish Chamber Orchestra, both in Belgium and abroad. As a guest conductor, he has appeared with the major Belgian orchestras as well as with symphony orchestras in the United States of America, Argentina, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Germany. He has performed with many famous soloists, including Igor Oistrakh, José Van Dam, Murray Perahia, and Augustin Dumay. From 1995 to 2004 he was the regular conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of the Brussels Conservatory, where he taught chamber music for many years (1970-1994) and served as director (1994-2003). From 2004 to 2014, he was the artistic director of the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel.
  • Biography
More info
Kris Defoort
Belgium’s Kris Defoort is a major figure in the European jazz world. Together with his Dreamtime ensemble he has created a highly individual musical language that redefines the traditional jazz band in an original way. His music is characterised by the encounter between the classical and jazz idioms, and between written and improvised passages.

He studied recorder and early music at the Antwerp Conservatory and composition and contemporary improvisation in Liège. Driven by his fascination for jazz, he travelled to New York, where he stayed for three years. His main activity there was as a jazz pianist and he performed with the Lionel Hampton Big Band, Jack de Johnette, Adam Nussbaum, Michael Formanek, Tito Puente, Barry Altschul, Reggie Workman, and many others.

After his return to Belgium Kris Defoort continued on his musical odyssey, as a composer, improvisor on the piano, and leader of the sextet KD’s Basement Party, his trio KD’s Decade, Octurn, and Dreamtime. Partly thanks to the support of the De Werf cultural centre in Bruges, several of his projects were issued on CD (including Variations on A Love Supreme).

Since 1998 he has been a composer in residence at LOD. He created the dance piece Passages together with Fatou Traore; it was performed at several leading European festivals (including Avignon, Salzburg, and ‘Charleroi-Danses’). In late 2001 he was commissioned by LOD and ro theater in Rotterdam to compose the music for the opera The Woman Who Walked into Doors, based on Roddy Doyle’s book of the same name. This ‘opera for soprano, actress, and video’, directed by Guy Cassiers, toured throughout Europe and was received with great enthusiasm by public and press alike.

In 2002 Kris Defoort wrote Conversations with the Past, a work for wind instruments, piano, harp, double bass, and percussion, commissioned by the Royal Flemish Philharmonic. In November 2002 Defoort released the jazz CD Sound Plaza (Kris Defoort, Mark Turner, Nic Thys, and Jim Black). The band performed at renowned festivals, such as Middelheim Antwerpen, Blue Note Ghent, and North Sea Jazz. In 2003 he composed his first string quartet and his composition ConSerVations / ConVerSations, a project based on Renaissance music, was given its first performance. In it, together with Claron McFadden, Dreamtime, and the Quatuor Danel, Defoort once again sought a synthesis between old and new, classical and jazz. He was awarded the Flemish Community Prize for Music in March 2004. The jury valued his work especially for its high degree of professionalism and boldness.

As an artist in residence at the Brussels Centre for Fine Arts during the 2006-2007 season, every aspect of his musicianship has been on display : as pianist, improviser, and composer. One of his projects was the piano cycle Dedicatio, nine musical letters dedicated to people who are very dear to him, written for and premiered by Jan Michiels. Dedicatio VI was the imposed work in the semi-final of the 2007 Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition.

In 2009 his second opera, House of the Sleeping Beauties, directed by Guy Cassiers, received its world première in Brussels at la Monnaie / de Munt Opera. In 2010 Kris Defoort has been working on Brodsky Concerts, a piece based on the writings by Joseph Brodsky, in which he was on stage with the actor Dirk Roofthooft. Commissioned by Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and LOD, Kris Defoort is also preparing a new opera together with writer/stage director Wajdi Mouawad. The premiere will take place in July 2013.

Meanwhile, Kris Defoort keeps performing as an improviser/pianist meeting various artists. He teaches composition, arrangement, and free improvisation at the Brussels Royal Conservatory.
  • Biography
More info
Kimmo Hakola
Finland, °1958
The Queen Elisabeth Competition has commissioned the imposed work for the final of the 2019 Violin Competition to Kimmo Hakola. For the first time, the Executive Committee of the Competition decided to communicate the name of the composer of the imposed work in the final before the opening of the session so that the musicians and the public can discover the world of the composer on beforehand. The name of the work will be revealed just before the final round of the 2019 Violin Competition.

Kimmo Hakola (born 27 July 1958) studied at the Sibelius Academy under Einojuhani Rautavaara and Eero Hämeenniemi. He entered the limelight at the end of the 1980s after his success at the Unesco Composers' Rostrum. In 1987 he won the Rostrum with his String Quartet and in 1991 with his Capriole for cello and clarinet.

His music has been performed at several major music events and festivals, and portrait concerts of his works have been held e.g. in Los Angeles (Monday Evening Concerts) and New York (Miller Theatre, Broadway). His oeuvre was also broadly presented at the Stockholm International Composer’s Festival in 2008.

The works he writes usually attract exceptional interest. He is a creator of intense musical dramas that recognize no stylistic or expressive limits. His music is a combination of exciting dramatic power and exceptional musical quality and musicianship is manifest in all his achievements resulting in communicativeness and richness of sound that speak of the composer's delight at discovering his very own idiom.

Kimmo Hakola has composed six operas: The Mastersingers of Mars (a delightful cartoon opera including elements unusual for an opera, 2000), The Mustard Seed (2000), The Rolling Stone (2008), Mara and Katti (a family opera, 2011), La Fenice (commissioned by the Savonlinna Opera Festival, 2011) and Akseli (a monologue opera, 2012). His work list also includes orchestral works and concertos for different instruments. The Piano Concerto premiered at the Helsinki Festival in 1996 is an unprecedented work in new Finnish music in its expressive range, variety of styles and massive scope. The Clarinet Concerto has been a roaring success and it has been performed several times since the premiere in 2001. The Chamber Concerto commissioned by Present Music was premiered in Milwaukee, USA in March 2002. He has also composed concertos for oboe, flute, electric kantele and guitar. The Violin Concerto (2012) was a co-commission between the WDR Symphony Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic and John Storgårds. The latest addition to the list is the Double Concerto for Violin and Viola (2017), commissioned by the Tapiola Sinfonietta.

His other orchestral works include a Sinfonietta (1999), Verdoyances crepuscules (2003), Maro (commissioned by the Swedish Radio and Berwald Hall for a performance at the Baltic Sea Festival in August 2006) and KIMM (commissioned by the Stockholm International Composer’s Festival in 2008). Kimmo Hakola was also commissioned to write music to the Finnish silent film Tukkijoella, a project that was completed in 2013 and premiered by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. His latest orchestral works include Symphony No. 1 commissioned and premiered by the Finnish RSO in December 2018.

His large scale works include two oratorios. Le Sacrifice is tied in closely with the film of Andrei Tarkovsky. It was commissioned by Ircam for a performance in Paris in November 2002, and a new, revised version was heard in Helsinki in 2005. Le Sacrifice was one of the three winners of the first Teosto Prize awarded by the Finnish Composers' Copyright Society in 2003. The other oratorio Song of Songs was premiered on 20 October 2006 at the International Choral Espoo festival. He has also written works for mixed choir, and his recent addition to the genre is a 60-minute fantasia De kaspiska tigrarnas Gud (2013).

Kimmo Hakola has also written vocal and choral music as well as chamber works, the weightiest of them being his four  string quartets, the Clarinet Quintet (1998) and the Wind Quintet ‘Compressions’ (2017). His chamber works include the Kivi Songs (Kivi-laulut, 2007), Leonardo Etudes for guitar (2007), Kal for electric harp, electronics and chamber ensemble (2008) and Appassionato for cello and piano (2009). Kimmo Hakola has been the composer-in-residence of the Joensuu City Orchestra. Apart from composing he has also turned towards conducting and acting as a performing artist.

Kimmo Hakola has been the Artistic Director of the Musica nova festival in 1999-2006, the Helsinki Chamber Choir in 2005-2007 and the Lux musicae festival since 2015-2018. Sought after also in administrative capacities, he is a professional board member in several corporations and a consultant of new operating models for international operators in the field of arts. He received the Music Publishers Association's Composer of the Year Award in 2018.

Kimmo Hakola's works have been recorded by Ondine and Innova Records.
  • Biography
More info
Toshio Hosokawa
Japan, °1955
Toshio Hosokawa was born in Hiroshima in 1955. He studied composition under Isang Yun at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin and under Klaus Huber at the Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg. In 1980, he took part for the first time in the Internationale Ferienkurse fur Neue Musik in Darmstadt. Since then, he has been commissioned to compose works for the leading orchestras, festivals, and opera houses of Europe, America, and Asia.

Many of his works have been premiered by eminent conductors such as Kazushi Ono, Jun Märkl, Kent Nagano, Sir Simon Rattle, and Robin Ticciati. Those works include Hanjo, his second opera, commissioned by the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in 2004, the orchestral work Circulating Ocean, premiered by the Vienna Philharmonic at the Salzburg Festival in 2005, and Woven Dreams, an orchestral work composed for the Lucerne Festival and Carnegie Hall, for which he received the International British Composer Award in 2013. In 2011, two further major works by Toshio Hosokawa were given their premieres : his third opera, Matsukaze, at La Monnaie/De Munt and his horn concerto, Moment of Blossoming, performed by the Berliner Philharmoniker. Several of his works were performed at the 2013 Salzburg Festival, including two premieres : Klage for soprano and orchestra and Ancient Voices for wind quintet. In 2014, he won the Otaka Prize for the third time, for his trumpet concerto Im Nebel.

In recent works, Toshio Hosokawa has sought to describe the relations between nature and humanity in works that he has presented as prayers or requiems. A number of works were premiered in the course of 2014, including Aeolus, Fluss, and Drei Engel-Lieder. In 2015, Nach dem Sturm, for two sopranos and orchestra, was commissioned for the 50th birthday of the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. In 2016, his latest opera, Stilles Meer (original text and direction by Oriza Hirata), describing the city of Fukushima some years after the earthquake that struck eastern Japan in 2011, was a big success with the public.

In 2001, Toshio Hosokawa was made a member of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin. He was composer in residence with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra from 1998 to 2007, with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester in 2006-2007, with the WDR Rundfunkchor in 2006-2008, and with the Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest in 2013-2014. In 2012, he was elected a member of the Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Kunste in Munich ; that same year, he was awarded the Medal of Honour with Purple Ribbon by the Government of Japan.

He is currently Music Director of the Takefu International Music Festival and Guest Professor at Tokyo College of Music and at Elisabeth University of Music in Hiroshima.
  • Biography
More info
Michael Jarrell
Switzerland, °1958
With each newly created work, Michael Jarrell completes his musical self-portrait ; it reflects a constant quest for clarity and precision in his work as a composer.

Michael Jarrell studied composition with Eric Gaudibert in his native Geneva, attended various master classes at Tanglewood and completed his training with Klaus Huber in Freiburg. Between 1986 and 1988, he was a resident at the Cité des Arts in Paris and took part in the computer music course at IRCAM. He resided at the Villa Médicis in Rome during 1988/89 and then joined the Istituto Svizzero di Roma in 1989/90. Having also studied visual arts, the composer’s oeuvre is strongly influenced by both the music of Edgar Varese and the art of Alberto Giacometti. Also characteristic of his work is the connection between compositional creativity and visual thinking : his Assonances, which he has been working on since 1983, are presented like a sketchbook. In turn, his first major work for electronics, Congruences (1989), was inspired by spatial-geometric terms such as level, perspective, anamorphosis and figure, which he transferred into musical entities of time.

Some aspects of Jarrell’s oeuvre - such as the lucidity of elaborated sound textures, a certain purism in reprocessing material, the ingenuity of his harmonics - indicate a sound close to that of French composers. Recent compositions include La Chambre aux échos, which Michael Jarrell composed for the ensemble intercontemporain on the occasion of Pierre Boulez’ 85th Birthday in 2010, and ...Ombres... (2011) for orchestra. 2012 saw the premieres of his cello concerto Émergences (Nachlese VI) in Salt Lake City and Lyon, dedicated to Jean-Guihen Queyras, and the song cycle Nachlese Vb in Geneva and New York. In 2013, the world premiere of his monodrama Siegfried, nocturne (for male voice and ensemble) followed at the Wagner Geneva Festival and in January 2014, that of his piano concerto Reflets with Nicolas Hodges at the KlangZeit Festival in Münster.

Stage works have also become particularly important for Michael Jarrell : in 1994, he composed the monodrama Cassandre, in which he combines electronics with conventional timbres, and in 2006 the opera Galileo, based on the play by Bertolt Brecht. In 2010, his music theatre work Le père after Heiner Muller was first performed at the Schwetzingen Festival. At the start of the current season, the Arditti Quartet and Bamberger Symphoniker under Jonathan Nott gave the world premiere of his new concerto Spuren for string quartet and orchestra at the Festival Musica a Strasbourg. This work can also be heard in April 2015 in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, and in Lucerne with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra. Michael Jarrell is currently working on a new viola concerto for Tabea Zimmermann.

Michael Jarrell has received numerous awards including the Prix Acanthes (1983), the Beethoven Prize of the city of Bonn (1986), the Prix Marescotti (1986) and the Siemens-Forderpreis (1990). In 2004 he was appointed Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in Switzerland. He has been Professor of Composition at the University of Vienna since 1993 and at the Geneva Conservatory since 2004.
  • Biography
More info
Hanspeter Kyburz
Hanspeter Kyburz was born in Lagos, Nigeria. He studied composition in Graz, with A. Dobrowolsky and Gösta Neuwirth, and later, starting in 1982, at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin. He also studied musicology, the history of art, and philosophy. Some years later he was awarded a residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. He was awarded the Boris Blacher Prize (1990) and the Schneider-Schott Prize (1994), was a laureate of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin (1996), and won the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation Prize (2000). Since 1997 he has been Professor of Composition at the Hochschule für Musik ‘Hanns Eisler’ in Berlin. He has also taught in Darmstadt in 1998, at the Musikhochschule in Basle (2000-2002), and at the Acanthes Festival in Metz in 2010. He has composed works for festivals and concert series in Germany and abroad, including Berlin (Ultraschall), Brussels (Ars Musica), Cologne (Musik der Zeit), Donaueschingen, Frankfurt am Main, Graz (Steirischer Herbst), London, Lucerne, New York, Paris, Stuttgart (ECLAT), Vienna (Wien modern), Witten (Tage für neue Kammermusik), and Zurich (Tage für neue Musik).
  • Biography
More info
Frederik van Rossum
Belgium, °1939
Frederik van Rossum was born in Brussels. Since he was awarded the Premier Grand Prix de Rome in 1965, his works have won many international awards. His Réquisitoire for brass and percussion, for example, won First Prize at the International Rostrum of Composers backed by UNESCO in Paris in 1981. His First Violin Concerto was the compulsory work at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 1980 and was subsequently the subject of five different recordings. In 1988 his Aria a modo di vocalizzo was the compulsory work for the semi-final of the Queen Elisabeth Competition for Singing. A brilliant orchestrator, van Rossum has written a number of works for orchestra with and without soloists. He has also composed chamber music and music for the stage and for opera, along with an extensive and varied range of works for the piano ; he is himself an excellent pianist and his works for the instrument occupy a central place in his oeuvre. Frederik van Rossum is a member of the Académie Royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique. From 1995 to 2000 he was Composer in Residence of the Festival of Flanders.
  • Biography
More info
Relive the performances of Voice 2023
The Competition's CD's
This site uses cookies to provide you with the best experience possible.
By clicking on « ACCEPT » or continuing to browse the site, you accept the use of cookies on your web browser. For more information about our cookie policy and the different types of cookies used, click on Learn more