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György Kurtág wins 2006 Grawemeyer Award

Hungarian composer György Kurtág has won composition's most prized award, the 2006 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition for his ‘…concertante…’ for violin, viola and orchestra, premiered in 2003.

The award, worth $200,000, is given annually by the Grawemeyer Foundation for a work that makes an outstanding contribution to the field of musical composition.

‘…concertante…’ was commissioned by the Leonie Sonning Foundation of Copenhagen and was premiered in September 2003 by violinist Hiromi Kikuchi and violist Ken Hakii accompanied by the Danish Radio Orchestra under Michael Schonwandt. Since then, the 25-minute score has been performed in Austria, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands and the USA.

In ‘…concertante…’ Kurtág has invented a sophisticated formal concept that holds characters ranging from ‘quasi silence’ to ferocious asymmetry in a sensitive equilibrium. The prize announcement describes how Kurtag’s “orchestra is used to full advantage but without overshadowing the role of the soloists. After ranging through many changes of mood, tempo and texture, from intimate to violent, the final section is mysterious and ambiguous.”

Previous winners include John Adams, Thomas Ades, Harrison Birtwistle, Pierre Boulez, Unsuk Chin, Aaron Jay Kernis, György Ligeti and Krzysztof Penderecki.

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