Composer Nina Šenk receives Austria’s Johann Joseph Fux Prize

Graz – Slovenian composer Nina Šenk is the recipient of this year’s Johann Joseph Fux Prize, awarded by the government of the Austrian state of Styria, for her new opera composition called Canvas, based on the libretto by Simona Semenič.

“Nina Šenk is a composer with technical skills who shows a high level of maturity,” the award jury said, noting that it had been strongly impressed by the whole body of work of the Slovenian composer.

The jury said it saw great potential in the poetic libretto for the piece, written by Simona Semenič.

“The theme that the two artists have chosen to explore is a reversal of a well-known motif from musical history: the Don Juan syndrome. The man serves as a projection screen for several women, and the story is told from a woman’s perspective.”

The jury added that the composition placed the principles of gender equality in an ambivalent field of conflicting narratives, which provides for an interesting work as part of musical theatre.

Šenk shares the Johann Joseph Fux Prize, which comes with a EUR 8,000 cheque, with Austrian composer Christof Ressi, who has received the accolade for his chamber opera Avatara, says the website of the Musikprotokoll radio studio.

Both award-winning pieces will be performed at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna by students of the vocal and instrumental department in cooperation with the Austrian public broadcaster ORF.

Avatara will be performed this October, and the opera by the Slovenian laureate will be performed in October 2023.

Šenk is the second Slovenian to receive the Johann Joseph Fux Prize after Tomaž Svete in 2000 for his chamber opera Kriton, the newspaper Večer noted.

After graduating in composition and music theory at the Ljubljana Academy of Music, Šenk studied composition at the Carl Maria von Weber music school in Dresden and earned a master’s degree at the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich in 2008.

She received many Slovenian and international awards already while studying, and was the winner of the Prešeren Fund Prize in 2017.

In the 2008/2009 and 2009/2010 seasons, she was composer-in-residence of the orchestra of Staatstheater Cottbus in Germany.

She has been teaching composition at the Maribor Faculty of Education since 2019 and is an associate member of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts.

Šenk’s compositions were performed at major festivals in Slovenia and abroad, and issued by the publishing house of the Association of Slovenian Composers.