Chairman of the jury
Marcel Poot
Belgium, °1901 - 1988
Marcel Poot (1901-1988), the son of Jan Poot, director of the Royal Flemish Theatre, grew up in an artistic milieu. He took his first music lessons with the organist Gerard Nauwelaerts and subsequently studied solfège, piano and harmony from 1916 to 1919 at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels with Arthur De Greef, José Sevenans and Martin Lunssens. His first prizes in counterpoint (1922) and fugue (1924) were earned at the Royal Conservatory in Antwerp with Lodewijk Mortelmans. He also studied composition and orchestration privately with Paul Gilson.

Together, Poot and Gilson published La Revue Musicale Belge, a periodical that appeared starting in 1925. In that same year, he and seven other of Gilson’s students set up the group known as Les Synthétistes, which aimed to create a synthesis of the achievements of current musical evolutions, without sacrificing their individuality. In 1930, he won the Rubens Prize, which allowed him to study for three years with Paul Dukas at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris.

Marcel Poot began his career at the State Secondary School in Vilvoorde and also taught piano, solfège and music history at the music academy in that city. He taught practical harmony (1939) and counterpoint (1940-1949) at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels before becoming director of that school (1949-1966). Besides this, he was a lecturer at the Institut Supérieur des Arts Décoratifs, headmaster of the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel (1970-1976), a member of the Royal Flemish Academy for Sciences, Letters and Fine Arts, a jury member for the Queen Elisabeth Competition (1963-1981), chairman of SABAM (composers’ rights organisation), the Union of Belgian Composers and CISAC (the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers), and he was a jury member for various composition competitions.
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René Defossez
Belgium, °1905 - 1988
René Defossez, componist en vermaard dirigent, is een van de markante figuren van de twintigste-eeuwse Belgische muziekwereld. Nadat zijn vader Léon Defossez de basis legde van zijn muzikale ontwikkeling, vervolmaakte hij zich aan het Conservatorium van Luik en ging hij reeds aan de slag als soloviolist in zijn geboortestad Spa en in Luik. In 1935 mocht hij de prestigieuze Prix de Rome in ontvangst nemen voor zijn cantate Le vieux soudard. Het jaar daarop werd hij geëngageerd als dirigent aan de Koninklijke Muntschouwburg, een functie die hij gedurende 22 opeenvolgende seizoenen zou behouden en waarin hij bijna 120 opera’s zou dirigeren. In 1946 werd hij aangesteld als docent orkestdirectie aan het Conservatorium van Brussel. Toen hij in 1951 het verplichte vioolconcerto voor de finale van de Koningin Elisabethwedstrijd componeerde, oogstte hij veel bijval; vijf jaar later schreef hij het verplichte werk voor de pianosessie. Hij werd tot lid van de Académie royale de Belgique verheven in 1970.
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Raymond Gallois Montbrun
°1918 - 1994
Né en 1918 à Saïgon, Raymond Gallois Montbrun quitte sa ville de naissance dès sa petite enfance et effectue ses études scolaires à Neuilly-sur-Seine. De 1930 à 1942 il étudie au Conservatoire national supérieur de musique de Paris, auprès de Firmin Touche (violon), Jean Gallon (harmonie), Noël Gallon (fugue et contrepoint) et Henri Busser (composition musicale).

En 1942 il gagne le Premier Second Grand Prix de Rome de composition musicale avec la cantate Pygmalion délivré et en 1944 le Premier Grand Prix de Rome de composition musicale avec la cantate Louise de la Miséricorde, sur un texte de Charles Clerc.

Entre 1944 et 1957 il mène une double carrière de violoniste concertiste et de compositeur. Il fait de nombreuses tournées de concerts en Europe, en U.R.S.S., en Afrique du Nord, au Moyen et Extrême-Orient et enregistre des disques pour Erato-France. À l'Institut Français de Tokyo il donne des cours de violon, d'écriture et de composition musicale de 1952 à 1954. Parallèlement, il donne des conférences au Japon, en Allemagne et au Canada sur l'enseignement musical français.

Directeur de l'Ecole nationale de musique de Versailles entre 1957 et 1962, Raymond Gallois Montbrun crée avec la Municipalité le Festival de Versailles. En 1962, il devient Président de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire (jusqu'en 1967) et Directeur du Conservatoire national supérieur de musique de Paris (jusqu'en 1983). Il est ensuite Directeur artistique du Concours international Long-Thibaud, Président des 5 Académies de l'Institut de France, Président intérimaire du Concours international Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud et Président du Comité Directeur du Concours international Long-Thibaud.

En 1980 Raymond Gallois Montbrun est élu Membre titulaire de l'Académie des Beaux-Arts au fauteuil de Paul Paray. Il est également Officier de la Légion d'Honneur, Grand Officier de l'Ordre du Mérite, Commandeur des Arts et Lettres et Membre de l'Institut.
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Karl Höller
Germany, °1907 - 1987
Karl Höller studied composition, conducting and organ in Munich. As from 1937 he taught composition at the Musikhochschule in Frankfurt am Main and gave master classes in composition at the Munich Musikhochschule as from 1949, the school of which he would later become President.
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André François Marescotti
°1902 - 1995
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Virgilio Mortari
Italy, °1902 - 1993
Italian composer Virgilio Mortari studied at the Milan Conservatory with Bossi and Pizzetti, and graduated in the piano and composition (1928) at the Conservatory in Parma. In 1924 he won the Società Italiana di Musica Contemporanea competition. He taught composition at the Venice Conservatory (1933-40) and at the Conservatorio di Musica S. Cecilia in Rome (1940-73). Together with Casella he was responsible for the establishment and artistic direction of the Settimane Musicali in Siena. He was artistic director of the Accademia Filarmonica Romana (1944-46), supervisor of the Teatro La Fenice in Venice (1955-59), and vice-president of the Accademia di S. Cecilia in Rome (1963). In 1980 he was the first Italian to be awarded the Prix Montaigne. He was a member of the Accademia di S. Cecilia and of the Filarmonica Romana.

From his very first works, most of them vocal, Virgilio Mortari's music revealed original strains of caricature (e.g. La partenza del Crociato), the childlike (e.g. Giro giro tondo) and folklore (e.g. the opera Secchi e Sberlecchi). His large output of orchestral and chamber works displays a leaning towards solid formal construction and a strongly neo-classical style of clear, diatonic melody. With these stylistic elements remaining fundamentally unchanged, his postwar theatrical works explored ideas from the eclectic (La figlia del diavolo) to the grotesque and the light-hearted (L'alfabeto a sorpresa, Il contratto). By contrast, in the sacred vocal music his typical melodic vein was transformed into a mood of serene religiosity (Laudi, Stabat mater, Salmi in memoria di A. Casella).
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Knudage Riisager
Denmark, °1897 - 1974
Knudage Riisager studied political science, but at the same time took private lessons in music theory from Otto Malling and Peder Gram. When he had completed his law studies he went to Paris for further studies in music theory with Albert Roussel and others. The years in Paris were crucial to his activities as a composer. He cultivated a French-inspired treatment of instrumentation and timbre, and remained a devotee of "Gallic" clarity in music. Lightness and gaiety are characteristic of his smallest works, but his elegance and masterly treatment of the instruments function brilliantly even in the largest works. Best known are his ballet works Etudes, Slaraffenland, Qarrtsiluni, which were created in collaboration with the Danish choreographer Harald Lander, and the ballet Tolv med Posten in collaboration with Børge Ralov. Many of his children's songs are still on the lips of Danes. Knudage Riisager was a cultured, intellectual figure and a lively debater. The fact that he drew inspiration from Central European Modernism was of great importance to Danish music. Along with other contemporary Danish composers who had studied abroad he definitively broke with Romanticism as well as the epigonism of Carl Nielsen's disciples.
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