Seung-Won Oh receives the Kees van Baaren Prize from the Municipality of The Hague for her composition YeonDo, which she wrote in 2020, commissioned by festival November Music in Den Bosch. Oh, who has her roots in South Korea, says of this requiem: ‘In Korea, yeondo is a prayer for souls in purgatory. It is a unique ritual, mixing elements of traditional Korean funeral culture with Catholic beliefs.’ In her composition, the soloist, choir, percussion quartet and orchestra initially perform separately. Part III sees the convergence of their prayers, processions and bells in the impressive Lux Aeterna. The jury praised YeonDo as ‘a very skilful composition, which at the same time strongly moves the listener’.
The musicians chosen to perform the mesmerising composition at this occasion are the New European Ensemble and Cappella Pratensis.
The Kees van Baaren Prize is a composition prize of the municipality of The Hague, awarded once every six years for an orchestral or music theatre work. Previous winners include Rob Zuidam and Mayke Nas.
In the run-up to the premiere of YeonDo, music journalist Thea Derks talked to Seung-Won Oh. Read the full interview Watch a fragment of YeonDo in the video below