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Maxwell Davies is new Master of the Queen's Music


Sir Peter Maxwell Davies has been appointed Master of the Queen's Music for a 10-year period. The announcement was made by Buckingham Palace on 7 March and the composer has welcomed the appointment as giving him the opportunity to help raise the profile of classical music in the community. The post is honorary and carries no fixed duties, with the composer receiving a small stipend. Maxwell Davies succeeds Malcolm Williamson in the role, following the latter's death in March 2003, and is in line of succession from prestigious earlier incumbents including Edward Elgar, Arnold Bax and Arthur Bliss.

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James MacMillan awarded CBE in New Year Honours


James MacMillan is the leading Scottish composer of his generation, and his works are played around the world, including over 300 performances to date of his percussion concerto Veni, Veni, Emmanuel in 30 countries on all five continents. His output ranges from opera and music theatre, through orchestral, to chamber and choral. His music is widely recorded on BMG/RCA Red Seal, BIS, Chandos, Naxos, Black Box and Hyperion. He is also active internationally as a conductor and currently holds the post of Composer/Conductor with the BBC Philharmonic in Manchester.
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Magnus Lindberg wins Wihuri Sibelius Prize


Magnus Lindberg has been awarded the Wihuri Sibelius Prize, a prestigious international award that carries with it one of the largest cash sums in the classical music sector, EUR 100,000.

The prize was established in 1953 to recognise and support the work of "prominent composers who have become internationally known and acknowledged". It has been awarded only ten times since Jean Sibelius received the inaugural award in 1953 and Lindberg now joins the elite rank of previous winners including Dmitri Shostakovich (1958), Igor Stravinsky (1963), Benjamin Britten (1965), Olivier Messiaen (1971) and György Ligeti (2000).

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Unsuk Chin wins 2004 Grawemeyer Award


Unsuk Chin is awarded the world’s top composition prize for her Violin Concerto

Unsuk Chin has won the 2004 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition for her Violin Concerto, premiered in 2002. The Grawemeyer Award, worth $200,000, is awarded annually by the Grawemeyer Foundation for a work that makes an outstanding contribution to the field of musical composition. The prize announcement describes Chin's Violin Concerto as "a synthesis of glittering orchestration, rarefied sonorities, volatility of expression, musical puzzles and unexpected turns".

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Ned Rorem nominated for Grammy


Three Symphonies disc in running for best classical album

Composer Ned Rorem is one of the nominees for Best Classical Album at next year’s Grammy Awards for his disc Three Symphonies on the Naxos label.

Born in 1923 in Indiana, Ned Rorem has been the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship (1951), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1957), and an award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters (1968). He received the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award in 1971 for his book Critical Affairs, A Composer's Journal and in 1975 for The Final Diary. He received the Pulitzer Prize in 1976 for his orchestral suite Air Music and in 1998 he was chosen as Composer of the Year by Musical America.

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Tarik O’Regan joins Chester Novello


Oxbridge educated Tarik O’Regan has signed a publishing contract with Chester Novello. O’Regan was recentlty awarded a Fulbright-Chester Schirmer Fellow in Music Composition, which he will take up in March this year at Columbia University, New York.

We understand he is studying with John Adams, and working towards a new chamber opera, "Heart of Darkness", with librettist Tom Phillips.

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Berio's last work premiered in Paris


Stanze (meaning "Rooms"), Luciano Berio's last work, completed shortly before his death, was premiered in Paris on 23rd Jan. The 25-minute work is for orchestra, baritone soloist and three male choruses and set words by five different poets, including pianist Alfred Brendel, Paul Celan and others.

It is hoped a recording of the new work will appear shortly.

Barenboim to step down as director of Chicago orchestra in 2006


Internationally renowned conductor Daniel Barenboim will step down as musical director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra when his current contract expires in 2006, according to the Chicago Symphony Center.

His decision apparently was caused by the increasing administrative burdon the role entailed, and by the strain of travelling between Chicago and his family in Berlin, where Barenboim is music director of the Berlin Staatskapelle, the orchestra at the Berlin opera.

"It could take a few years before we decide who will be Daniel's successor," CSO board chairman William Strong said in an interview with the Sun-Times. "We're in no hurry. We want to find the right person."

Ades arrives at the Royal Opera


Almost ten years since the startling operatic success of Powder Her Face, Thomas Ades unveiled his new work The Tempest, written for the full forces of the Royal Opera House.

The two works are in stark contrast to one another - the former cynical, jazzy, and irridescent in its use of avant-garde orchestration. The latter accepts most of the traditions of 19th century grand opera, including numerous set pieces, and an at-times Wagnerian approach to tonal harmony.

It is nevertheless a powerful work which diplays a strange maturity in a composer who is still only 32. It is already guaranteed several performances in continental Europe.

US premiere of Knussen Symphony


Oliver Knussen's 'Symphony in One Movement' will be premiered by the Philadelphia Orchestra. in November.

The Symphony is a reworking of the early Concerto for Orchestra, written in 1969 when the composer was only 17. Unperformed since its 1969 premiere in Florida, Knussen substantially revised the work for his 50th Birthday Portrait Concert, given by the BBC Symphony Orchestra last November. It provides a fascinating glimpse back to the origins of Knussen's mature style – though it is not without surprises, including some jazzy piano solos (played at the premiere by Andre Previn).

Following the 2002 unveiling Paul Driver wrote in The Sunday Times: '... (it) has a sheer aural delectability that made one long for an immediate repeat performance.'

News Archive - records 301-310 of 315
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