Azrieli Music Prizes - London Concert Debut

Azrieli Music Prizes

London Concert Debut

Sunday 15 October 2023, 18:30

Past Event
Azrieli Music Prizes Past Event


Iman Habibi Shāhīn-nāmeh
Aharon Harlap Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee, O Lord
Rita Ueda Birds Calling… From the Canada in You


Philharmonia Orchestra
Steven Mercurio conductor
Sharon Azrieli soprano
Sara Hamidi voice*
Naomi Sato sho
Zhongxi Wu suona/sheng
Pouyan Biglar setar
Georgia Mann presenter

(*change to previously advertised artist)

Journey across eras, cultures and landscapes as we explore the musical imaginations of the 2022 Azrieli Music Prize Laureates – composers Aharon Harlap, Iman Habibi and Rita Ueda. The European premieres of all three winning compositions will be performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra and guest conductor Steven Mercurio alongside internationally renowned soloists Sharon Azrieli, Sara Hamidi, Naomi Sato and Zhongxi Wu.

Please note start time.


Aharon Harlap, winner of the 2022 Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music, gives us his Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee O’ Lord, a setting of five psalms for soprano and orchestra. The work takes us on an emotional journey, moving through a state of despair to one of hope and celebration. This work conveys an uplifting message for our times.

‘Here was lyricism of a Mahlerian stamp … married to a sure sense of the joys and sorrows inherent in the texts.’ (Arthur Kapitainis, Ludwig van Montreal)

Iman Habibi, winner of the 2022 Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music has created Shāhīn-nāmeh for voice and orchestra. This song cycle, based on 14th-century texts by Judeo-Persian poet Shahin Shirazi, features Hamidi singing in Persian using a traditional Persian style. Shāhīn-nāmeh reveals the close affinity that historically existed between Persians and Jews dating back centuries.

‘Vocalist Sepideh Raissadat gave a ravishing account atop the orchestra’s glowing blanket of sound. High points in the premiere included the throbbing mix of lustrous strings and trilling winds Habibi uses to portray the luminescent Esther as she appears in a vision before the King like “the morning star.’ (James Imam, Musical America)

Rita Ueda, winner of the 2022 Azrieli Commission for Canadian Music, gives us her new double concerto for suona/sheng, shō and orchestra, titled Birds Calling… from the Canada in You. This major work incorporates Japanese, Chinese and Western musical influences with inspirations from the Canadian landscape, especially birdsongs collected from the country’s 450+ distinct species. Birds Calling… continues Ueda’s pursuit of a new transcultural musical identity by asking, ‘What does it mean to migrate and settle on land already rich in history?’

‘Thematically and technically, this work feels fresh, thoroughly Canadian, and breathtakingly original.’ (James Imam, Musical America)


Established in 2014, the biennial Azrieli Music Prizes (AMP) are an expression of the Azrieli Foundation’s conviction that music is a vital human endeavour that allows humankind to express its creativity, expand its worldview, and foster positive cultural exchanges. Open to the international music community, AMP accepts proposals for works from individuals of all ages, genders, nationalities, backgrounds and faiths. These proposals are submitted to two expert juries for review through a biennial open call.

AMP’s three prize packages – valued at $200,000 CAD each – make it the largest competition for music composition in Canada and one of the most substantial in the world.

Past prize-winners include Canadian composers Keiko Devaux (2020), Kelly-Marie Murphy (2018) and Brian Current (2016); Israeli American composers Yotam Haber (2020) and Avner Dorman (2018); Australian Israeli composer Yitzhak Yedid (2020); and Polish American composer Wlad Marhulets (2016).

Ticket Information

£37.50, £31, £24, £17, £11.50

Senior Citizens, Students, Musicians’ Union Members: 20% off (not available online)

All orders are subject to a transaction fee, except if made in person. See booking information for details, payment methods and delivery options.

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