Enrico Scacciaglia wins the Berio Competition




The second edition of the “Luciano Berio” International Composition Competition was a great success. Organized and promoted by Santa Cecilia National Academy in collaboration with the Luciano Berio Study Centre, the La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra, the RAI National Symphony Orchestra, the Carlo Felice Theatre, Universal Edition (UE) and with support of SIAE – Società Italiana degli Autori ed Editori – and the Boris Christoff Foundation, the Competition is a member of the World Federation of International Music Competitions.
After analyzing all the submitted scores, the prestigious international Jury, chaired by Antonio Pappano, Music Director of the Santa Cecilia National Academy Orchestra and including composers Luca Francesconi (Italy), Tania León (United States), Michael Jarrell (Switzerland), and Hilda Paredes (Mexico/UK), has unanimously assigned the First Prize to the Italian composer Enrico Scaccaglia, born in Parma in 1989. 
“Words fail me,” the winner declared. “I am overwhelmed with emotion. It is a great joy and honour to have received so prestigious a prize. Since its first edition in 2019, this Competition has held a particular attraction for me, since the figure of Luciano Berio was and continues to be a source of inspiration. It is to my encounter with Maestro Berio’s work that I owe my own approach to the ‘New Music.’ I would like this honour to be not so much a resulting point of many years of study and passionate exploration, as a starting point towards new horizons.”

Winner, President and Jury of the Berio Competition

Enrico Scacciaglia

During the preliminary phase, which started on 15 November after the submission deadline, the jury shortlisted 25 finalist composers, whose works were the object of a further, more in-depth analysis by the jurors, reunited in Rome for the final phase on 15 and 16 January. Each candidate had been asked to submit two scores: one for symphonic orchestra, and one with free instrumentation, in order to gain a broader view of the composer’s musical literature. 
The Jury has also awarded 2 honourable mentions: one to Annachiara Gedda, and one to Chia-Ying Lin. 

Enrico Scaccaglia will receive a commission worth € 20,000 for the composition of an original piece for symphonic orchestra which will be premiered by the Santa Cecilia Academy Orchestra during its 2024-2025 Symphonic Season. The winning piece will be also published by Universal Edition (UE) and will be subsequently included in the concert seasons of the partner orchestras. The winner will also receive a free two-year premium subscription to scodo, the new web tool for publishing music scores, conceived and launched by Universal Edition in 2021.

Michele dall’Ongaro, President-Superintendent of the Academy and among the Competition’s leading promotors, recounts how it came into being: “This is how we set it up: we chose Berio’s name as a virtual guarantor for the event’s quality, and not so much in order to label the competition as such, beyond my personal relations with the Maestro and the fact that the Santa Cecilia Academy makes its home at Largo Luciano Berio. More than a competition, it is actually a project, and it has absolutely innovative aspects: it has involved some of the country’s greatest music institutions, abandoning a possible ‛local’ dimension while in fact seeking to involve all the music organizations upon which Berio truly left his mark; it has involved a high-quality international jury, and above all one of the world’s most important publishers, Universal Edition[…]. And that’s not all: we will not limit ourselves to selecting a score, but the composer as a whole, from whom a new composition will be commissioned. […] It is a different commitment; we have chosen to believe in a collaboration among the great institutions towards a project that looks to young musicians, and therefore to the future.”

The initiative’s international dimension may be seen in the numbers: out of the 134 entries, 44 are from Italian composers, and 90 from the rest of the world; as in the first edition, all five continents are represented.

Here are the numbers in detail: submissions have grown more numerous since the first edition in October 2019: 134 in this edition (as against 128 in 2019); of these, 80 originate from Europe (89 in 2019), 16 from the Americas (14), 32 from Asia (22), 5 from Australia (2), and 1 from Africa (1). On the other hand, the number of nations represented – 37 – has remained unchanged. The men and women who submitted their compositions range in age from 13 to 40 (the maximum age for admission); the average age is 28; 109 men entered the competition, and 25 women. 

The Winner: Enrico Scaccaglia (1989, Parma).
Son of bakers, he spontaneously approached music through electric guitar at a young age, exploring an array of genres (from Blues to Progressive-Rock, from Jazz to Post Rock). Beethoven’s work brought him towards Classical Music, whereas Luciano Berio’s composition nourished his interests in the New Music. In 2018 he graduated cum laude at Conservatorio Arrigo Boito in Parma (Italy) after studying with Roberto Sansuini and in 2020 at the Malmö Academy of Music (Sweden) under the guidance of Luca Francesconi and Bent Sørensen. His pieces are animated by the force of narration through a “theatrical approach” that conceives musical figures as musical characters who meet and transform each other. He received commissions from internationally renowned ensembles and orchestras such as Malmö Symphony Orchestra, Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Filarmonica Toscanini, Musica vitae string orchestra, Molinari String Quartet, Gageego! Ensemble e SoloDuo. He has won various awards, such as “4th European Composer Competition” (second prize), “32nd Young Musician International Competition Città di Barletta” (first prize), “Vienna World Composition Award” (first prize in two different categories: Chamber Music and Orchestral Music) and “Molinari Quartet’s 8th International Composition Competition”.

©Accademia Nazionale Santa Cecilia