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Louis Andriessen Receives Kravis Prize for New Music at the New York Philharmonic

The audience at last night’s concert witnessed an exciting announcement from the stage: Louis Andriessen has been awarded The Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music at the New York Philharmonic, one of the world's largest new-music prizes, which recognizes a composer for extraordinary artistic endeavor in the field of new music. President Matthew VanBesien presented the award (see above). He is the third recipient, after Henri Dutilleux and Per Nørgård.

The Dutch composer and influential teacher — whose influences and subjects span visual art, medieval poetic visions, shipbuilding, atomic theory, mortality, music and politics, and time and velocity — receives $200,000 plus a commission to write a work for the Philharmonic, which the Orchestra will premiere in the 2018–19 season, led by Jaap van Zweden, who will then be in his first season as Philharmonic Music Director.

“It is an immense honor to receive The Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music, and I send my deep and solemn feelings of gratitude,” Mr. Andriessen said. “My father, the composer Hendrik Andriessen, used to say: ‘We are not important; the music is important, and we have the duty to write as well as we can.’ It is in this spirit that I will write for the New York Philharmonic.”



(Photo: Chris Lee)

Hear Kravis Emerging Composer Anna Thorvaldsdottír's In the Light of Air at NPR Music

Anna Thorvaldsdottir NPR Music New York Philharmonic

Wanna hear something cool? It's "the aural soul of Iceland," in the words of NPR Music's Tom Huizenga.

NPR Music is streaming In the Light of Air by Anna Thorvaldsdottír, the New York Philharmonic's Kravis Emerging Composer, as part of its First Listen series. It's from an eponymous recording, to be released August 28, and is performed by International Contemporary Ensemble.

"This rumbling, evocative music ... seems grounded deep in the beautifully austere landscapes of her native Iceland," Huizenga writes. "This album is a good way to hear the magic of a faraway place and get a sense of a fascinating young composer on the rise."

Thorvaldsdottír is also featured in this Sunday's New York Times (but it's online now), which calls In the Light of Air "breathtaking." Q2 Music has named In the Light of Air its Album of the Week, and you can watch it performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble here.

Just Announced: Anna Thorvaldsdottir Named Kravis Emerging Composer

Anna Thorvaldsdottir New York Philharmonic

You don’t have to spell it, but remember this name: Anna Thorvaldsdottir. She is “one of the most unique and expressive voices in the compositional scene today,” said Music Director Alan Gilbert, and she was just named the New York Philharmonic Kravis Emerging Composer.

The Philharmonic made this exciting announcement at tonight’s final CONTACT! concert of the 2014–15 season. The award recognizes an up-and-coming composer as part of The Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music.

The Icelandic composer will receive a $50,000 stipend, including a commission to compose a work for the Philharmonic to premiere in a future season. She succeeds Sean Shepherd, who was named the inaugural Kravis Emerging Composer in June 2012.

In 2012 Ms. Thorvaldsdottir won the Nordic Council Music Prize for her orchestral work Dreaming, one of the pieces on her album Rhízōma. Check it out here.

A Great Dane: Per Nørgård Awarded The Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music

Kravis Prize Per Norgard Alan Gilbert NY Philharmonic

At last night's concert, Music Director Alan Gilbert took the stage to make an exciting announcement: Danish composer Per Nørgård has been awarded The Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music, one of the world's largest new-music prizes, which recognizes a composer for extraordinary artistic endeavor in the field of new music.

The prolific composer of 400+ works — including 8 symphonies, 11 concertos, 6 operas, 2 ballets, and 4 film scores including Babette's Feast — and inventor of the Infinity Series receives $200,000 plus a commission to write a work for the Philharmonic. Also announced: the Orchestra will give the U.S. Premiere of Nørgård's Third Symphony during the 2016 NY PHIL BIENNIAL. As previously scheduled: Alan Gilbert will lead Philharmonic musicians in Nørgård's music March 7, 2015, as part of next season's CONTACT!, the new-music series, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

Check out The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal's coverage of the announcement, and hear his music from the Vienna Philharmonic's new Dapaco recording of his First and Eighth Symphonies.

We leave you with this thought from Karl Aage Rasmussen:

"The world according to Nørgård is not just a confusing host of random events; it is an enchanted place, full of things to discover when your mind and your senses are wide open — the endless connections and relations in nature, the infinite universe represented by any sound, no matter how modest. A composer must have an ear for the wonders of the audible world, and must be able to sense miracles where others hear only the buzz of everyday life. On a South Indian beach, listening to the surf from the enormous waves, Per Nørgård suddenly became aware of an extremely deep sound from the seas, a kind of 'shadow tone,' unchanging by day or night. And he asked himself: might this be the basic sound, the very fundamental of the ocean?"

(Photo by Chris Lee: Music Director Alan Gilbert (right) with Per Nørgård)

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