RELEASE: Julian Anderson's 'Litanies' Wins 2023 Grawemeyer Music Prize

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RELEASE: Julian Anderson's 'Litanies' Wins 2023 Grawemeyer Music Prize

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LOUISVILLE, Ky., Dec. 5, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The burning of Notre Dame Cathedral and the death of an esteemed colleague influenced the creation of "Litanies," said Julian Anderson, a British composer who has won the 2023 Grawemeyer Award in Music Composition for the work, the University of Louisville announced today.

"Notre Dame burned down while I was writing the article," he said. "It was traumatizing to see such an important icon of civilization go up in flames. The experience affected my writing." A year earlier, when Anderson was beginning "Litanies," Oliver Knussen, an acclaimed British composer, bandleader, and close friend of his, died, prompting Anderson to write the slow movement of the work in his memory.

Radio France, the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Norwegian, Swedish and Swiss Chamber Orchestras commissioned him to perform the 25-minute concerto for cello and orchestra, which the German cellist Alban Gerhardt and the National Orchestra of France premiered in 2020 at the Radio France Auditorium. Anderson dedicated the concert to Gerhardt in recognition of his special qualities as a cellist, he said.

"The piece explores just about every sound that a cello and orchestra can make together," said Marc Satterwhite, who directs the Grawemeyer Music Prize. "He spans a wide emotional range and is constantly inventive, but always towards an expressive end, never for novelty."

Anderson, 55, studied with John Lambert, Alexander Goehr and Tristan Murail early in his career. The Boston Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, and the Cleveland Orchestra have commissioned works from him, and ensembles from across Europe and the United States have performed "Khorovod" and "Alhambra Fantasy," his most performed pieces. In April he premiered in Berlin "Exiles", a piece he wrote in 2021 for voices and orchestra.

Composition Teacher and Composer-in-Residence at the Guildhall School of Music

Schott Music Ltd. publishes his compositions written after mid-2014 and Faber Music, those written before.

Winners of next year's Grawemeyer Awards are being named this week pending formal approval from university administrators. The annual awards, worth $100,000, also honor fundamental ideas in world order, psychology, education and religion. Awardees will visit Louisville in the spring to accept their awards and give free talks about their winning ideas.

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