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by BWW News Desk
Composers Anthony Cheung and Franck Krawczyk will join Peter Eotvos in sharing The Marie-Josee Kravis Prize for New Music at the New York Philharmonic at the request of inaugural recipient Henri Dutilleux, it was announced this evening from the stage in Avery Fisher Hall during a special concert dedicated to Dutilleux's music.
The Kravis Prize for New Music is bestowed every two years for extraordinary artistic endeavor in the field of new music, and French composer Henri Dutilleux was named the first recipient in 2011. At the award ceremony held at the Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris on December 7, 2011, Mr. Dutilleux announced that he would share the $200,000 award with three composers, each of whom would write a work to be performed by the Orchestra in his honor. Dates of the performances of these new works will be announced at a later time.
Also as part of the Kravis Prize, the Philharmonic will name a Kravis Emerging Composer in years when the main Kravis Prize is not given. Bestowed on a promising up-and-coming composer, the Kravis Emerging Composer will receive $50,000 and an opportunity to write for the Orchestra. The 2012 Kravis Emerging Composer will be American Sean Shepherd, who will write a new work for the Philharmonic to be performed in the 2013–14 season.
"I was moved by Henri Dutilleux's generous and gracious decision to share his honor with three composers from younger generations," said Music Director Alan Gilbert, "and I find his choices to be fascinating and exciting. He has chosen composers - some established and some not as well known - with the idea of supporting people in different stages of their careers. It is inspiring to me that Henri Dutilleux is so committed to providing other composers in whom he believes the chance to work with the New York Philharmonic."
"I am honored to be receiving this commission from the New York Philharmonic, which has been important in forming my musical consciousness for as long as I can remember," Anthony Cheung said. "These commissions further an already deep and impressive commitment to new music by the orchestra. Henri Dutilleux has long been one of my favorite composers. Every time I return to his work, I rediscover what made me want to pursue composition in the first place: music that is brilliantly conceived, heard, and articulated, but filled with mystery, ambiguity, and spirituality. He gave me very sage advice as a composer when I first met him a decade ago. The fact that he has decided to support other composers on this occasion exemplifies the generosity and humility for which he is well known."
"I would like to congratulate from the bottom of my heart Mr. Dutilleux for The Marie- Jose?e Kravis Prize for New Music, and I would like to thank him for his recommendation," said Peter Eo?tvo?s. "The invitation to write a new composition for the New York Philharmonic is a great honor for me in two ways: firstly, because of the trust of Henri Dutilleux, whom I honor very much and consider one of the greatest composers of our time. Secondly, because of the trust of the New York Philharmonic, which, as one of the best orchestras in the world, has made possible our first collaboration with me as a composer."
"Sean Shepherd is a young composer who represents what is happening today in New York," Alan Gilbert said. "We are proud that the New York Philharmonic's relationship started just as Sean was hitting the world stage, and it feels very natural to continue supporting a composer whose music we really believe in."
"I am profoundly honored to be chosen by the New York Philharmonic to write a new piece for the Orchestra as part of The Marie-Jose?e Kravis Prize for New Music, particularly because Henri Dutilleux is one of my personal musical heroes and a titan of the 20th century," said Sean Shepherd. "The Philharmonic has played a part in my musical imagination for as long as I can remember, and to be recognized as an emerging voice with this generous grant is an exceptional privilege and joy. Alan Gilbert and the musicians and staff of the Orchestra have been fervently supportive of my work, and I look forward to honoring their commitment to me with this piece."
Funding for The Kravis Prize for New Music comes from a $10 million gift given to the New York Philharmonic in 2009 by Henry R. Kravis in honor of his wife, Marie-Jose?e, for whom the prize is named, and which also endows The Marie-Josee Kravis Composer- in-Residence at the New York Philharmonic, currently held by Magnus Lindberg.
Prizewinners are selected by a committee comprising leading artists and administrators with close ties to the Philharmonic and a demonstrated interest in fostering new music. The total award - $200,000 to the winner of The Kravis Prize for New Music and $50,000 to the Kravis Emerging Composer - makes this among the world's largest new-music prizes.
Born in 1982 in San Francisco, Anthony Cheung is a composer and pianist. As a performer and advocate for new music, he is artistic director and pianist of the Talea Ensemble in New York. His music has been performed by the Ensemble Modern, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Linea, Musiques Nouvelles, Chicago Symphony?s MusicNOW, Dal Niente, International Contemporary Ensemble, Minnesota Orchestra, French National Orchestras of Lille and Lorraine, Orchestra of the League of Composers, and eighth blackbird. Current projects include a Tremplin commission for the Ensemble intercontemporain and a Koussevitzky Foundation commission for the Talea Ensemble, both to premiere in 2012.
Mr. Cheung's honors include first prize and public prize at the sixth International Dutilleux Competition, Charles Ives Fellowship and Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and several ASCAP Morton Gould awards. His music has been programmed at international festivals such as Ultraschall (Berlin), cresc... Biennale for Modernism (Frankfurt), Musica Nova Helsinki, Centre Acanthes (France), Tactus Young Composers Forum (Belgium), and Domaine Forget (Canada).
Mr. Cheung's principal teachers included Tristan Murail and Bernard Rands for composition. He studied at Tanglewood, Aspen, Acanthes, Domaine Forget, and Fontainebleau, where he worked with many leading composers. His music is primarily self-published, with selected works by EAM/Schott (PSNY edition) and Editions Alphonse Leduc. Mr. Cheung received his bachelor's degree in music and history from Harvard University and his doctorate from Columbia University, where he taught and served as assistant conductor of the Columbia University Orchestra. Most recently, he was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. Mr. Cheung will spend the 2012– 13 season in Rome as a recipient of the Rome Prize, and he will begin a teaching appointment at the University of Chicago in 2013.
Peter Eotvos's music is featured regularly in programs of orchestras, contemporary music ensembles, and festivals worldwide. As a composer/conductor he has led projects focusing on his work in cities such as Paris, London, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Vienna. His most recent operas - Die Tragodie des Teufels, Love and Other Demons, Lady Sarashina, and Angels in America - follow the lead of his Three Sisters, which was awarded France's Prix Claude-Rostand, Grand Prix de la Critique (1998), and Victoires de la Musique Classique and du Jazz (1999). Several major music theater commissions are due in the next few years. His violin concerto, SEVEN, was awarded the Prix de Composition Musicale from the Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco in 2008. Among his numerous other honors are the Pro Europa Prize for Composition (2004); Hungary's Barto?k- Pasztory Prize (1997) and Hungarian Arts Prize (2006); France's Commandeur de l'Ordre des l'Arts et des Lettres (2003) and Cannes Classical Award for Living Composer (2004); Germany's Frankfurter Musikpreis (2007) and Christoph and Stephan Kaske Preis (2000); the U.K.'s Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award (2002); and Italy's Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement (2011).
Born in Transylvania, Mr. Eotvos received diplomas from Budapest Academy of Music (composition) and Hochschule fu?r Musik in Cologne (conducting). Between 1968 and 1976 he performed regularly with the Stockhausen Ensemble, and from 1971 to 1979 he collaborated with the electronic music studio of the Westdeutscher Rundfunk in Cologne. In 1978, at the invitation of Pierre Boulez, he conducted the inaugural concert of IRCAM in Paris, and was subsequently named music director of the Ensemble intercontemporain, a post he held until 1991. That same year he founded the International Eotvos Institute and Foundation, and in 2004, the Eotvos Contemporary Music Foundation in Budapest for young conductors and composers.
Born into a family of self-taught musicians, Franck Krawczyk studied piano in Paris and composition in Lyon with Gilbert Amy and Philippe Manoury; he now teaches chamber music with Jacques Aboulker at the . Early in his career, the Festival d'Automne encouraged Mr. Krawczyk to pursue composition. Since then, he has received numerous awards, including the Prix Herve Dugardin and SACEM for his orchestral piece Ruines in 2000. Mr. Krawczyk has cultivated friendships with artists from other disciplines to create a deeper, more direct, free, and unpredictable fusion between music and other art forms. Among his collaborators and influences are Christian Boltanski and Jean Kalman, Peter Brook and Marie-He?le?ne Estienne, Emio Greco and Pieter C. Scholten, as well as Sonia Wieder-Atherton and Laurence Equilbey.
Mr. Krawczyk's most recent works and collaborations include Polvere, a cello concerto with Ms. Wieder-Atherton for Christian Boltanski's solo exhibition at Monumenta 2010; Une Flute enchante?e, based on Mozart's The Magic Flute with Mr. Brook and Ms. Estienne; and Passione in Due, based on Bach's St. Matthew Passion with Mr. Greco and Mr. Scholten.
Composer Sean Shepherd has quickly gained admiration and return engagements with major ensembles and performers across the U.S. and Europe. Recent performances include those with the National, BBC, and New World symphony orchestras; at festivals in Aldeburgh, Heidelberg, Santa Fe, and La Jolla; and with premiere European ensembles including the Scharoun Ensemble Berlin, Asko|Schonberg Ensemble, and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. His growing list of conductor-champions includes Oliver Knussen, who premiered Wanderlust with The Cleveland Orchestra in 2009; Alan Gilbert, who led the premiere of These Particular Circumstances, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, on the inaugural season of CONTACT!, the new-music series, in 2010; and Susanna Malkki, who premiered the Ensemble intercontemporain- commissioned Blur in Paris and Cologne in 2012. Recent premieres include Quartet for Oboe and Strings, for New York Philharmonic Principal Oboe Liang Wang, at the Santa Fe and La Jolla summer festivals in 2011, and Trio for the Claremont Trio. In June 2012, Christoph Eschenbach and the National Symphony Orchestra premiered Mr. Shepherd's Blue Blazes, a Hechinger Commission. Other summer performances of his works include concerts at the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music and the Lucerne Festival in August.
Mr. Shepherd continues as the Daniel R. Lewis Composer Fellow of The Cleveland Orchestra, with a major new work for Franz Welser-Most and the ensemble to premiere in January 2013. Named a USA Van Dusen Fellow and a Deutsche Bank Fellow, Sean Shepherd is the recipient of numerous awards, including the triennial Benjamin H. Danks Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and first-prize winner of the international Lutosawski Award.
Programs are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Photo credits: Jamie Kingham, Beowulf Sheehan, Eve Delfiner