U of L Announces Grawemeyer Award for Music

by ekramer on December 1, 2008

Today, the University of Louisville announced the winner of the 2009 Grawemeyer Award in Music. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.

Australian composer Brett Dean’s “The Lost Art of Letter Writing” is the winner of this year’s award in music. The four-movement concerto for violin and orchestra was chosen from 145 entries worldwide.

Dean says he based the work on letters written in the 19th Century by several artists and the defiant Australian folk hero Ned Kelly.

“Each piece had its own stratagem, but always coming from the fiddle itself,” Dean says. “I’m a viola player, but while I was writing this piece I brushed up my violin playing and borrowed a much nicer fiddle.” 

Dean says he wrote the piece for his favorite violinist.

“Frank Peter Zimmerman was a player that I’d always admired,” Dean says. “I’ve always loved his playing with its combination of unbelievable intelligence and honesty about the composer’s intentions.”

Dean is the first composer from Australia to win the award in music.

“To have the recognition of an award is a very warming experience and the Grawemeyer is a humbling experience, in many ways the ultimate recognition and award for a composer,” he says.

Each year, the Grawemeyer Foundation at U of L gives awards for outstanding works in music composition, ideas improving world order, psychology, education and religion.

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