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Louis Andriessen Awarded the New York Philharmonic’s Kravis Prize for New Music

(November 2016)

Andriessen_NewsItem_FrancescaPatellaMay08.jpg The New York Philharmonic will commission a new orchestral work by Andriessen to be premiered during the 2018–2019 season, led by Jaap van Zweden in his first season as Music Director.

The Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music at the New York Philharmonic, which recognizes a composer for extraordinary artistic endeavor in the field of new music, has been awarded to Dutch composer Louis Andriessen. Andriessen was chosen to receive the Kravis Prize for his lasting contributions to new music by a Selection Committee of leading artists and administrators who have close ties to the New York Philharmonic and a demonstrated interest in fostering new music. One of the world’s largest new-music prizes, the Kravis Prize for New Music is awarded every two seasons, and includes $200,000 and a commission to write a work for the New York Philharmonic.

The New York Philharmonic will give the world premiere of a new orchestral work by Andriessen during the 2018–2019 season, led by Jaap van Zweden, who will then be in his first season as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic. Of note, the Philharmonic also performed the New York premiere of Louis Andriessen’s De Staat in May 1986, led by Gunther Schuller, as part of the Orchestra’s new-music series Horizons.

Andriessen remarked, "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. Being preceded by such masters as Per Nørgård and Henri Dutilleux is in itself already a great inspiration. I admire them both and have known and adored Dutilleux since I was 18 years old. 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."

Andriessen has also held the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair at Carnegie Hall, and was awarded Composer of the Year Award by Musical America in 2010 and the Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition in 2011 for his opera La Commedia. Coming from a background of jazz and avant-garde composition, Andriessen has evolved a style employing elemental harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic materials, heard in totally distinctive instrumentation. His range of inspiration is wide, spanning the music of Charles Ives in Anachronie I, the art of Mondrian in De Stijl, medieval poetic visions in Hadewijch, and writings on shipbuilding and atomic theory in De Materie Part I. Collaborative works with other artists include a series of dance projects; the full-length theater piece De Materie created with Robert Wilson for the Netherlands Opera and recently presented in a critically acclaimed production by Heiner Goebbels at the Park Avenue Armory in New York; and three works created with Peter Greenaway: the film M is for Man, Music, Mozart, and the stage works ROSA The Death of a Composer (1994) and Writing to Vermeer (1998). Theatre of the World, Andriessen’s most recent opera, received its world premiere this past May at Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Funding for the Kravis Prize comes from a $10 million gift to the New York Philharmonic in 2009 by Henry R. Kravis in honor of his wife, Marie-Josée, for whom the Prize is named. The Selection Committee for the Kravis Prize for New Music includes Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert; Jaap van Zweden, who becomes Music Director in the 2018–19 season after serving as Music Director Designate in the 2017–18 season; Esa-Pekka Salonen, The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence at the New York Philharmonic, 2015–18; Nicholas Kenyon, managing director, Barbican Centre, London; Ara Guzelimian, provost and dean of The Juilliard School; and Daniel Druckman, New York Philharmonic Associate Principal Percussion.

The inaugural Kravis Prize for New Music was awarded in December 2011 to Henri Dutilleux (1916–2013). In alternating years, when no Kravis Prize is given, the Orchestra names the Kravis Emerging Composer, who receives a $50,000 stipend and a commission. Boosey & Hawkes composer Sean Shepherd was named the inaugural 2012 Kravis Emerging Composer, which led to the commission and premiere of Songs in June 2014, conducted by Alan Gilbert.

For more information about the Kravis Prize, visit nyphil.org/kravis



Photo: Francesca Patella

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