Category: Music Composition

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 […]

1986 – Gyorgy Ligeti

A 62-year-old composer who lives in Austria has won the second University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition. Gyorgy Ligeti, who was born in Hungary and now makes his home in Vienna, received the prize for his “Etudes for Piano,” a set of six short works. None of the pieces are longer than 3 […]

1985 – Witold Lutoslawski

Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski has captured the first University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition. Lutoslawski, 72, won the award for his Symphony No. 3, which was given its world premiere by Sir Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Sept. 29, 1983. He will receive $150,000, to be paid in five annual installments […]