English composer David John Roche wins the Dante700 prize for the composition of the best symphonic score dedicated to the poet

The award was promoted by the Camerata Strumentale Città di Prato and the Florence Philharmonic Orchestra

108 scores arrived from all over the world to participate in the International Symphonic Composition Competition dedicated to Dante promoted by the Camerata Strumentale Città di Prato and the Florence Philharmonic Orchestra – La Filharmonie. There was a large number of high-quality works, but in the end, it was English composer David John Roche who won first prize.

The jury, chaired by Anders Hillborg and made up of Silvia Colasanti, Mauro Montalbetti, Giovanni Sollima, Jonathan Webb, Alberto Batisti and Paolo Cognetti, selected three finalists, with their compositions performed by the Camerata Strumentale and the Filharmonie, directed by maestro Nima Keshavarzi during the awards ceremony which took place at the Politeama Pratese. In the end, young David John Roche won with his piece titled The waves I ride have never yet been crossed. In the words of the composer, “Dante explains that his descriptions of Paradise are insufficient, not so much because God is inexplicable, but because no one has undertaken that journey before him. The sound waves of my piece represent the desire and the sense of closeness that one can feel towards God. But the more one thinks he has approached, the more he discovers – as in life – that he will not be able to truly know any God. We can only imagine how it could be, enjoying the works we create and abandoning ourselves to them. This is the case with masterpieces such as the Divine Comedy and the works by mere mortals, such as myself!”

The other two compositions that reached the final were Nachbild by Steven Heelein (Germany), and Dantesca by Matteo Rubini (Italy).

The winner was awarded a prize of € 5,000 (offered by the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze). The score will be published in the Stilnovo series of the Curci Music Editions of Milan and promoted by the CIDIM Italian National Music Committee. CIDIM will also produce and distribute internationally the video of the concert with the three finalist scores to the network of Italian Cultural Institutes of MAECI.

David John Roche has composed pieces for vacuum cleaners and orchestra, shows for a planetarium, street organs, rock bands, video games, films, theater performances and international orchestras. His music tends to inhabit one of two worlds: one that is celebratory and luminous, in opposition to the world in which it was written, or one that is manic and violent in response to the poverty and politics of our time. Roche’s compositions have been broadcast on television, written about, and performed internationally. He has received over 30 academic and professional awards.