Aya Yoshida wins the Zemlinsky 1st Prize

At the Zemlinsky Competition 2019, composer Aya Yoshida won the 1st prize with her work 'Double-face'

Aya Yoshida / Photo: Kazue

Japanese born composer Aya Yoshida won 1st Prize in the Zemlinsky Composition Competition for orchestral music and dance 2019 for her piece Double-face

Announcing Yoshidas 1st prize, the Zemlinsky Committee gave their enthusiastic congratulations in selecting Double-face as the winner after three stages of judging. 

"I am really happy and humbled to receive it. It is a big reward three years after the premiere," Aya Yoshida says after having received the reward. 


Double-face is an orchestral work written in 2015 for the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and PULSAR Festival, published by Edition·S in 2016. At PULSAR Festival, three composition students were chosen to write a piece for symphony orchestra to premiere at the opening concert, one of those three being Aya Yoshida. 

Inspired by fashion, Double-face came into existence.

"I have been writing pieces inspired by fashion recently, and a lot of the titles of my pieces are fashion terms, including Double-face. "Double-face" means reversible, as a piece of clothes which can turn inside out. Just like in the orchestral work where there are two instrumentations; the orchestra itself and the remote string quartet. There is not only an obvious "double-face" as instrumentation but also the audience could hear various "double face as sound."

Look at the score sheet of Double-face here

In 2016, Edition·S assisted Yoshida in the process leading up to the opening concert, helping her to prepare the score for the Danish National Symphony Orchestra who premiered the work. At the time, Edition·S interviewed Yoshida about the piece, where she described Double-face.

"In this orchestra piece, I have focused on the energy that music and orchestra itself have. I have tried to transform abstract fashion energy into musical energy and push myself by using classical musical materials with an unusual sound."

Read the full interview here

When asking her about working in the orchestral format, the composer elaborated:"To be honest, it has been quite hard but also intense and exiting to compose for such a big orchestra. I personally think it has been like a dream and a goal for all composers to compose a piece for orchestra and the orchestra itself is quite classical. But there are still a lot of possibilities to make something new, and it has been interesting to think about the proper orchestration for my music."A dream come true, one is tempted to say, as the piece turned out to win a renowned prize of compositions.

The Zemlinsky 1st prize

The Zemlinsky 1st Prize winner is given a world premiere performance by CCM's Philharmonia Orchestra in 2020-2021 of a newly commissioned work for orchestra and ballet, a commercially produced recording by the CCM Philharmonia, and a cash prize of US$30,000.

Yoshida already has ideas for the world premiere performance by the CCM Philharmonia Orchestra. 

"Music is a collection of movements. I am looking forward to finding various movements between ballet and music in my next piece which will be performed by the CCM Philharmonic."

About the composer

Since 2014, Yoshida has been living in Copenhagen, Denmark and she completed her postgraduate studies in composition with Niels Rosing-Schow and Jeppe Just Christensen at The Royal Danish Academy of Music.

Her works have been performed in Japan and Europe by a diverse range of soloists, ensembles and orchestras, including the performances by Curious Chamber Players in Viitasaari, Finland (2013), by Arditti Quartet (2014) and by Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra (2016).

Read more about the composer here