Possehl Music Prize

The foundation and the College of Music have been awarding the Possehl Music Prize to particularly outstanding students in Lübeck since 1963. A real marathon jury session takes place before the award is conferred: the prize is not given within particular categories of instrument; students in all the different degree courses can compete against one another. That means the jury is faced with the challenge of comparing the performance of an organist with that of a violinist and a vocalist. The prize-winners’ concert in January every year is an evening of the most varied music and an established feature of Lübeck’s cultural life. Chamber music plays a large role, so the Possehl Foundation recently introduced a Prize for Piano Accompaniment. It is intended to underline the importance of piano accompanists for a successful artistic performance.

The College of Music and the foundation have also launched a new competition, the Possehl Prize in the category New Musical Performance Concepts. Students who develop contemporary concert formats in collaboration with other disciplines or using new media were able to present examples of their work in this competition for the first time in January 2019.

Possehl Music Prize in the category New musical performance concepts 2021

Composer Reika Hattori wins Possehl competition

The composer Reika Hattori has won the category “New musical performance concepts” in the second Possehl Music Competition that was held on 8-9 July at the Lübeck College of Music (LCM). The nine-person jury chaired by Christian Schwandt praised the variety of the performance concepts and awarded the first prize to the Japanese student for her multimedia project, “Water”.

Reika Hattori from Japan was awarded the first prize of €4,000 in the category “New musical performance concepts” in the Possehl Music Competition, which was held in the form of a private recital on Friday. In her multimedia installation Hattori describes her search for water, which she encounters in its various natural states before finally finding in its liquid form the source of life. Hattori worked with her own compositions, enormous projections of videos and images on the concert organ in the Great Hall, and a light show. Her ensemble was spread out across the concert hall and used violin, clarinet, percussion, organ and live electronics, accompanied by striking visual images, to conjure up a world of water. Hattori convinced the jury by her aesthetic approach to the topic, the immersive character of her performance and the audiovisual balance of sound and space.

Reika HattoriReika Hattori studied first in Tokyo and came to Lübeck in 2017, where she studied composition in the class of Prof. Dieter Mack and electronic music with Donny Karsadi. She has won several prizes for her works, which often deal with the concept of duality. Her work, “Traitor” for violin and 17-string koto has been performed in concerts in Yokohama, New York and Kyoto and is published by Mother Earth (http://www.mother-earth-publishing.com). Her orchestral piece, “Seductions” was one of the finalists in the competition held at the 11th Saarbrücken Composition Workshop and was performed for the first time by the SR/SWR Deutsche Radio Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Manuel Nawri. Hattori is currently studying electro-acoustic composition with Kilian Schwoon at the University of the Arts Bremen.

The jury also awarded two prizes of €1,500 each: one to Lena Seitz and Gregor Früh for their project, “Climate crisis in the here and now. Twilight of the Gods – music for a self-inflicted apocalypse”. The dramaturgy of the concert, with which they approached a vast subject, was compelling and intertwined their own compositions, improvisation and music from different periods to form an organic whole. Orestis Papaioannou received a second prize for developing, rehearsing and conducting his chamber opera for an ensemble of eleven musicians, “Sketches of the House of Commons”.

It is the second time that the Lübeck College of Music has held the Possehl Competition in the category, “New musical performance concepts”, in order to foster the artistic, pedagogical and technical skills for handling contemporary music. Five projects featuring multimedia presentations of around 30 minutes each by soloists, ensembles and composers from the College of Music competed for a total of €7,000 in prize money. They were assessed on the basis of their artistic originality and quality, the innovative approach taken by the project and its feasibility. The high-calibre jury was chaired by Christian Schwandt (Possehl Foundation) and consisted this year of Prof. Inge-Susann Römhild (Possehl Foundation), Prof. Gerd Uecker (Chair of the LCM Board), Annette Schlünz (composer), Thomas Fichter (Director of the Musikfabrik Ensemble), Oliver Wille (Director of Sommerliche Musiktage Hitzacker), Annesly Black (Berlin Academy of Arts), Prof. Rico Gubler (President of the LCM), Prof. Katharina Rosenberger (LCM) and Prof. Sascha Lino Lemke (LCM Project Manager).

The new competition was devised in 2018 because the “Composition” category no longer had an adequate place in the traditional Possehl Competition. Here the emphasis is not on the classical recital of a piece of music, but rather on contemporary art, creative interpretations, new media and electro-acoustic performance. The next Possehl Competition in the category “New musical performance concepts” will take place in January 2023.

The 57th Possehl Music Prize

The 57th competition for the Possehl Music Prize was held at the Lübeck College of Music on 17 and 18 November. The jury did not award a first prize, but commended all the finalists for their performance. Unfortunately, the pandemic meant that there was no audience present this year, but the music competition was streamed live by the Lübeck College of Music. 

Two second prizes went to the bassoonist Ariane Bresch and the violist Gueli Kim. Ariane Bresch is in the class of Prof. Pierre Martens. The 23-year-old from France is a member of the Philharmonic Orchestra Academy in Lübeck and is particularly interested in Baroque music, choral and Brazilian percussion music. Gueli Kim is 28 years old and from South Korea. She is the class of Prof. Pauline Sachse, has won various prizes in national and international competitions and was a member of the Karajan Academy at the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. 


Gueli Kim (viola) & Ariane Bresch (bassoon)

Two third prizes were awarded to the violist Bennet Morrice-Ortmann and the cellist Raphael Zinner. The pianist Lucas Huber-Sierra received a commendation. Eleven students of singing, piano, viola, cello, bassoon, flute and clarinet competed against each other in the first round and five of them went on to the final. They each presented a programme lasting around half an hour, which included demanding and virtuoso sonatas, suites and concertos by Bach, Brahms, Beethoven, Schumann, Bartok and Hindemith. This year they only performed before the jury members in the Great Hall of the Lübeck College of Music. The jury was composed of nine members, chaired by Dr. Ole Krönert (Posssehl Foundation), and awarded total prize money of €10,000. 


Left to right:  Raphael Zinner (cello), Bennet Morrice-Ortmann (viola), Lucas Huber-Sierra (piano)

Jury member Prof. Inge-Susann Römhild said: “It is most fortunate that the competition was able to take place despite the difficult circumstances. This is also due to the good preparatory work. We would like to take this opportunity to underline the systemic importance of music and culture generally and their significance for society.” Among the other jury members this year were Prof. Gerd Uecker (Chair of the College Board), Dr Christian Strehk (Kieler Nachrichten) and Stefan Vladar (General Music Director of Lübeck Theatre). The professors at Lübeck College of Music were represented by Lena Eckels, Rico Gubler, Diethelm Jonas and Otto Tolonen.

A concert by the prizewinners is scheduled for 10 July 2021 and will provide another opportunity to hear them perform live.

Since 2019: a Possehl Prize for new musical ideas

In January 2019 the first Possehl Prize in the category New Musical Performance Concepts went to Eirini Aravidou, a student at the Lübeck College of Music. She was awarded the prize for the particular creativity of her concept and performance. The 22-year-old from Greece, who studies in the percussion class of Professor Johannes Fischer, convinced the jury with her audiovisual performance, “Hands”, which focuses on human hands and the wide variety of their musical and gestural abilities. 

The next competition in this category will take place in July 2021 before the prizewinners’ concert, which otherwise is always held in February.


Possehl Foundation Lübeck

Beckergrube 38 – 52
D-23552 Lübeck
E-Mail: possehl-stiftung(at)possehl.de
Tel.: +49 (0)451 148-200

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