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Brett Dean Wins 2010-2011 Stoeger Prize for Chamber Music

(November 2011)

Awarded by Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

Australian composer Brett Dean (b. 1961) is the recipient of the 2010-2011 Elise L. Stoeger Prize, awarded by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The prestigious prize is the largest prize devoted to chamber music composition ($25,000) and is presented every two years in recognition of significant contributions to the field.

One of the most internationally performed composers of his generation, much of Brett Dean’s work draws from literary, political or visual stimuli, including a number of compositions inspired by paintings of his wife Heather Betts. Dean also performs widely, as solo violist, chamber musician and conductor, and these performing relationships inform and enhance his world as a composer. His compositions are recognized for their “voice of fertile imagination, originality and expressive subtlety” (Chicago Tribune). Dean began his composition work with arrangements, then working in improvisation for radio and film projects in Australia. He later spent 15 years in the viola section of the Berlin Philharmonic, including some time as Principal Viola. As a composer, Dean became established in his own right through works such as the clarinet concerto Ariel’s Music (1995), which won a UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers award, and his violin concerto The Lost Art of Letter Writing (2006), which brought him the 2009 Grawemeyer Award. He is widely-known for Carlo (1997), for strings, sampler and tape. Other celebrated works for chamber music include Twelve Angry Men (1996), written for 12 cellists; Voices of Angels (1996), for piano quintet; and Recollections (2006), for a mixed ensemble. His string quintet Epitaphs (2010) was most recently performed at the Cheltenham Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, La Jolla SummerFest, Cologne Philharmonie, Melbourne Recital Centre, and London’s Wigmore Hall. His most recent chamber work, Sextet (2011), featuring flute, clarinet, violin/viola, cello, piano, and percussion, was called "masterly achivement" by the Daily Telegraph. Several of his works will be performed in London by the BBC Symphony Orchestra in March 2012 for their Total Immersion day.

The Elise L. Stoeger Prize was established in 1987 with a bequest from Milan Stoeger, a long-time subscriber to the Chamber Music Society, in memory of his wife, Elise.  Winners are chosen from the nominations of leading musicians, composers, educators, managers, and presenters from around the country.  Final selection is made by a rotating anonymous panel of professionals and CMS Co-Artistic Directors David Finckel and Wu Han.

> For more information on Brett Dean, click here.
> To watch Brett Dean perform Intimate Decisions, for solo viola, click here.
> To listen to excerpts of other works by Brett Dean, click here.

Photo: Mark Coulson

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