IRCAM and the Orchestre national d'Île-de-France are delighted to announce the 3 finalists of the Élan Award 2024

An international composition competition for an orchestral work held as part of the ManiFeste festival in partnership with France Musique, the Maison de la Musique Contemporaine the Durand-Salabert-Eschig publishing house / Universal Music.

The three finalists

Tom Belkind, 33 years old, Israel/Austria

Tel Aviv-born, Cologne-based composer Tom Belkind's compositions combine elements of popular musical with abstract forms of expression, using physical characteristics of sound and layering sound to create different levels of intensity and sonic energy.

In 2016, Belkind began a Bachelor's degree in composition at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music (Tel Aviv University) with composers Josef Bardanashvili and Ruben Seroussi. In 2020, he began a Master's degree at the "Hochschule für Musik und Tanz" in Cologne with composer Miroslav Srnka. Belkind is currently following the "Konzertexamen" training program at the "Hochschule für Musik und Tanz" in Cologne. In 2021, he was awarded the Bernd-Alois-Zimmermann Scholarship for composition in contemporary music by the City of Cologne; as part of this, a portrait concert featuring his music was held at St. Peter's Church in Cologne. In 2022, he won the DAAD scholarship for music studies.

His compositions have been performed in Israel and Germany by orchestras and ensembles such as Ensemble Recherche (Freiburg, Germany), the Meitar Ensemble (Israel), Ensemble Musikfabrik (Cologne/Germany), Ensemble Erma (Cologne/Germany) and the Jack quartet (New York), as well as the Theater Orchester Aachen (2022). His works have been performed at festivals such as Acht Brücken (Cologne, Germany), Wittener neue Kammermusik Tage (Witten, Germany), CEME (Tel-Aviv, Israel).

Arnau Brichs, 23 years old, Spain

Composer and pianist based in Barcelona. Granted an ABSRM scholarship, Arnau Brichs studied with Rubens Askenar and Helen Grime at the Royal Academy of Music (London), graduating with top honors. He has won international prizes including the 2019 WCSMS Promising Young Composers Competition (USA) and the Eric Coates Prize (UK).

Brichs is co-founder of "polsfura", a label for electroacoustic and experimental electronic music.

He has performed and collaborated with the Uusinta Ensemble (Finland), the Lucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra (Switzerland), the Locrian Chamber Players (USA), the Flying Carpet Festival (Turkey) and the London Contemporary Soloists (London). Initially, Brichs studied jazz with Chano Domínguez and classical piano at the IEA Oriol Martorell Institute in Barcelona. As a soloist, he has performed at the Ateneu Barcelonès, the Fundació Miró (Lluerna), the CaixaForum (Microconcerts), and the Festival international de musique de Cadaqués.

Youssra Khechai, 27 years old, France

Paris-based cellist, composer of electroacoustic music and improviser. Youssra Khechai holds a diploma in composition with Philippe Pannier and in computer-assisted composition with Jean-Yves Bernhard from the Conservatoire à rayonnement régional d'Aubervilliers-La Courneuve.

Youssra Khechai breaks free from classical instrumental practice, seeking to explore new artistic forms and satisfy their insatiable curiosity for the world of sound. Composition appears to be a direct means of establishing connections with fellow creators. Khechai emphasizes multidisciplinarity in their work, and collaborates with a variety of artistic disciplines such as film and dance, whether in the course of creative work for festivals and concerts, or as a means of transmission. For Khechai, teaching cello and improvisation in numerous Parisian schools is an important activity as it plays a vital role in making music accessible. This diversity of experience enriches their artistic work and fuels their exploration of new creative avenues.

Improvisation plays a central role in Khechai's artistic practice, embodying a realm of freedom in which creativity can evolve freely, blurring the boundaries between composition and performance. Improvisation enables them to explore new soundscapes, push back the boundaries of their own musical expression and experience the present moment in a unique way.

The Elan Prize

A major jump-start for the careers of young composers, the Élan Prize is designed to promote their careers and provide them with professional support over several years.

The three young composers selected to compete for the Élan Prize will benefit from an exceptional coaching program combining the know-how of the two organizations in orchestral and electronic writing. They will be guided in their compositional work by both the Orchestra's musicians and IRCAM's teams, as well as by guest artists who will join the coaching team each year.

As part of the ManiFeste Festival Academy, the finalists will attend a workshop on composition for orchestra and will participate in rehearsals of the works they have written for the competition. These will be performed by the Orchestre national d’Île-de-France, under the baton of Nicolò Foron. At the end of this public concert, the Élan Prize, endowed by France Musique and the Maison de la Musique Contemporaine, will be awarded. The winner will have his or her score published by Éditions Durand Salabert Eschig - Universal Music.
The winner will also receive a commission from IRCAM and the Orchestre national d'Île-de-France to write a new work for solo instrument, orchestra, and electronics to be premiered at the ManiFeste festival the following year. In his or her training in electronics, he or she will benefit from the teaching and advice of IRCAM's computer music designers.

The creations of the Élan Prize winner will be performed during the Orchestra's seasons, on tour in Île-de-France and in the region, thereby ensuring a wide distribution.

Dans les studios avec les équipes pédagogiques de l’Ircam © Ircam-Centre Pompidou, photo : Mikhail Malt

Calendar Élan Award 2024

May 31 – November 8, 2023
Applications open to international composers born after January 1, 1992.
The application is based on the first miniature for orchestra.

January 11, 2024
Announcement of the selection of 3 finalists.

February -April 2024
Masterclasses led by the 2024 mentor composer Chaya Czernowin, the conductor Nicolò Foron, the musicians from the Orchestra.

June 2024
Composition workshop as part of the ManiFeste-2024 Academy, rehearsals of the finalists' works.

June 15, 2024
Final of the Competition during a public concert conducted by Nicolò Foron and presentation of the Award.

June 2025
Premiere of the piece commissioned from the 2024 laureate during the ManiFeste-2025 festival.

Seasons 2024-2025 and beyond
The works by the laureate are performed on tour in France.

L’Orchestre national d’Île-de-France au Centre Pompidou Paris, finale du Prix Élan 2023, photo : Hervé Véronèse