Category: Music Composition

1997 – Simon Bainbridge

An orchestral work inspired by the poems of a Holocaust survivor captured the 1997 award. British composer Simon Bainbridge intertwined his music with the poetry of Auschwitz survivor Primo Levi in “Ad Ora Incerta — Four Orchestral Songs from Primo Levi,” which was selected from among 181 entries for the $150,000 Grawemeyer prize. The work […]

1996 – Ivan Tcherepnin

A concerto written by composer Ivan Tcherepnin for violinist Lynn Chang and cellist Yo-Yo Ma captured the 1996 award. Tcherepnin’s “Double Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Orchestra,” a 23-minute work premiered by the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras June 3, 1995, was selected from 173 entries to receive the $150,000 Grawemeyer prize. Tcherepnin described the […]

1995 – John Adams

John Adams “Violin Concerto” was commissioned by the Minnesota Orchestra, the New York City Ballet and the London Symphony Orchestra. The Minnesota Orchestra, under conductor Edo de Waart and featuring violinist Jorja Fleezanis, performed its world premiere Jan. 19, 1994. Composed in three movements, the 33-minute work is a free-flowing showpiece for violin that changes […]

1994 – Toru Takemitsu

Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu won the 1994 Award for Music Composition for his work “Fantasma/Cantos.” The work was commissioned by the British Broadcasting Corp. for the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra premiered the work Sept. 14, 1991. Takemitsu described the work as being “influenced by Japanese landscape gardens in the ‘go-round’ style. You walk […]

1993 – Karel Husa

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and conductor Karel Husa won the 1993 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition. Husa, the Kappa Alpha professor at Cornell University, won the award for his “Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra.” The work was commissioned by the Frank Kerze Jr. Fund and was premiered March 2, 1989, by the University […]

1992 – Krzysztof Penderecki

A Polish composer known for sending moral and political messages through his music has won the 1992 award. Krzysztof Penderecki won the award for his symphonic piece, “Adagio for Large Orchestra.” Commissioned by Radio France and the French secretary of state for the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of the Rights of Man, the work […]

1991 – John Corigliano

The pain, anger and frustration of watching friends suffer and die of AIDS led to the creation of John Corigliano’s “Symphony No. 1,” winner of the 1991 award. The piece, commissioned by the Chicago Symphony orchestra, premiered March 15, 1990. Corigliano said the composition was inspired by “The Quilt,” an exhibit of thousands of interwoven […]

1990 – Joan Tower

Flowing instrumental solos combine with tension-building momentum in Joan Tower’s “Silver Ladders,” winner of the 1990 award. The 22-minute orchestral work, commissioned by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Meet the Composer Inc., premiered on Jan. 9, 1987. “Its many upward-moving lines suggest nothing so much as a giant ladder, reaching to the sky and […]

1989 – Chinary Ung

Cambodian folk melodies and Western composition techniques are masterfully fused in Chinary Ung’s “Inner Voices,” winner of the 1989 award. The work, commissioned by the Pennsylvania Arts Council for the Philadelphia Orchestra, premiered in 1986. One music critic who attended the performance called the composition “lavishly colored, and wholly understandable in terms of contemporary American […]

1987 – Harrison Birtwistle

“The Mask of Orpheus,” a modern opera by British composer Harrison Birtwistle, has won the 1987 award. The four-hour opera features masked singers, mimes and electronic music. It was selected from 95 pieces submitted by conductors, critics, publishers and music schools in 20 countries. Birtwistle, 53, was to be notified by telephone today about the […]