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Posts tagged 'Pulitzer Prize'

Awards Season for PSNY Composers

Four of our PSNY composers—Kate Soper, Timo Andres, Andrew Norman, and Anthony Cheung—have recently been honored with generous and prestigious awards from some of the most well-regarded organizations in America. We're proud that our composers are getting the recognition they very much deserve, and are honored to make their compositions available to the public. 

Timo Andres, well-known for his works for piano, was a 2016 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for his work "The Blind Banister," a piece for piano and orchestra that reimagines the cadenza in Beethoven's Second Piano Concerto. Andres writes: "the best way I can describe my approach to writing the piece is: I started writing my own cadenza to Beethoven's concerto, and ended up devouring it from the inside out." Starting from a seemingly simple scalar motive, Andres' composition flows like a hand leading itself on a banister in the dark, echoing Beethoven's sense of purpose-driven confidence but in a world of total sound. 

Kate Soper, as we've mentioned on the blog, has recently won the Virgil Thomson Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. This marks the second time this young award has been given; Soper's opera Here Be Sirens is now available on PSNY. Check out a highlight reel below: 

HERE BE SIRENS: Highlight Reel from Kate Soper on Vimeo.

And last but certainly not least, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has recently released their 2016 list of fellows, which includes PSNY composers Andrew Norman and Anthony Cheung. The Guggenheim Fellowship is awarded to artists and scholars "who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts." Norman and Cheung will use their Fellowships to support the composition of new works, and will join the ranks of fellow PSNY Composers Marcos Balter, Richard Carrick, Lei Liang, Keeril Makan, Alex Mincek, and Kate Soper, all of whom have been Guggenheim Fellows in the past decade.  

Andrew Norman Premieres "Split" at the New York Philharmonic



As Will Robin writes in his recent in-depth profile on Andrew Norman in The New York Times, a premiere of a new work by Norman is "a major event in the music world." Describing his somewhat hermetic, labor-intensive compositional practice, Norman reveals his dedication to the orchestral institution: "I love the orchestra, and I believe in it, and I think there’s a future there, and I think we should all be trying as hard as we possibly can to figure out where that medium can go." 

On the heels of his successful premiere of Switch at the Utah Symphony, and in anticipation of a new commission from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Norman will see his new work for the New York Philharmonic, entitled Split, premiere on December 10th, performed by pianist Jeffrey Kahane. Picking up on ludic cues from Switch, Split also involves a game-like architecture of percussive activation of large swaths of instruments—a feature that Norman culls from our saturated world of media, games, and screens. 

Clearly, Norman's vibrant, interactive musical style has resonated strongly with the contemporary orchestral landscape. In 2015, he has been one of the top ten most performed living composers in America, with nineteen performances of his orchestral works alone. And, only a few years after his Companion Guide to Rome was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist, Norman's Play, recently recorded by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, has been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. Of course, Play has already shown up on year-end top-ten lists from NPR, Rhapsody, and others; Alex Ross and other critics have hailed it as "a modern classic"

Lei Liang's "Xiaoxiang" Concerto Named Pulitzer Prize Finalist!

Lei Liang’s Xiaoxiang Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra has been named a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Music. The work received its world premiere in its revised and expanded version in 2014 with soloist Chien-Kwan Lin and Gil Rose leading the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. This nomination marks another significant achievement for Liang, who has received an Aaron Copland Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Rome Prize.

Liang evokes a specific incident in Chinese history with Xiaoxiang, a name for the region in Hunan Province where the rivers Xiao and Xiang intersect. This incident occurred during the Cultural Revolution, when a woman sought to avenge the unjust death of her husband by wailing in the forest near the house of the local official that killed him. Liang writes of the work:

Instead of displaying technical virtuosity, the soloist in this piece portrays the protagonist’s inability to articulate or utter. The soloist’s music is marked by silences. In that sense, the work may be perceived as an anti-concerto.

Listen to a full recording of BMOP's premiere performance here: 

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