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Sven Birch


Kavala Tango Days 2022 composition contest results

The first tango music composition competition held within the framework of the 1st Kavala Tango Days has ended. The number of submissions reached 38 compositions and 6 of them reached the final stage. The 6 projects were created by the composers Nicolás Posternak, Fabricio Gatta, Emilio Teubal from Argentina, Fokion Polydorou, Iosif Vallet from Greece and Sven Birch from Denmark.

The 6 tangos were performed for the first time worldwide by TANGartO Quintet and performedn by the tango dancers: Sebastian Jimenez and Joana Gomes, Gabriel Marino and Vasia Thanopoulou, Stelios Stampoulidis and Despina Amarantidou during the show “Tango Moments: From Yesterday to today” held at the Antigoni Valakou theater on Saturday, November 5, 2022.

The Jury consisting of Vladimiros Symeonidis (orchestra conductor, composer and Assistant Professor at the Department of Music Studies of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), president, George Panagiotopoulos, (musician of the ERT Symphony Orchestra, head of Tangarto Quintet), member and Alekos Papadopoulos, (musician, composer, dancer and tango teacher, member of Tango Orchesta Locos de Atar), member awarded:

1st prize to Sven Birch’s “Helsinki Tango” | €750

2nd prize to Emilio Teubal’s “Milonga Pa’Zapata” |€500

3rd prize to Joseph Vallet  “Tango for the Writings” | €250


Audience Award goes to “Helsinki Tango” by Sven Birch


Award-winning composers undertake that in any future public performance, publication or recording, their work must be accompanied by the title “Kavala Tango Days 2022 Award”.


Winner’s Bio

Sven Birch was born in Denmark and studied in Aarhus with Aino Gliemann), followed by further studies in Vienna with Alexander Jenner and Leonid Brumberg. He has been teaching piano at the Anton Bruckner University in Linz, Austria since 1992 and is director of the Keyboard Instrument Institute. He also taught at the Royal Academy of Music in Copenhagen and at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg and is director of the “Center of Piano Art” Piano Academy in Linz.

Birch is a sought-after musician with a wide repertoire ranging from Johann Sebastian Bach to contemporary music. He has composed works for solo instruments, chamber music and orchestral works. He appears on world tours as a soloist, musician and conductor. He is a member of the George Crumb Trio Linz, ‘Ensemble Nord’ Copenhagen, Duo Georgiadis/Birch (flute/piano) and conductor and artistic director of the Ensemble Lezard aux Plumes. He is frequently invited to give courses and workshops and has made numerous recordings for CD, TV and radio.

Helsinki Tango – Sven Birch

After visiting Helsinki and experiencing the special atmosphere of this great city, he immediately developed an emotional connection with the special mood of tango. This city and this special kind of music just fit perfectly! In coronation season, the imagination took wings and the music came easily. The piece consists of three contrasting themes that start with the sweet and melancholic melody on the violin at the beginning and later lead to more dramatic and playful motifs on the accordion and piano. Towards the end of the piece all three themes are played simultaneously in a “quodlibet” (a light-hearted mix of familiar melodies) just before the close.The four instruments converse intimately – sometimes dolce, sometimes dramatic and certainly never boring!

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