From November 10-15, the 2015 University of Louisville New Music Festival will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Grawemeyer Awards, one of the most prestigious prizes in the world. Founded by H. Charles Grawemeyer to help make the world a better place, the Awards are given annually by the University of Louisville to individuals in the areas of Education, Ideas Improving World Order, Music Composition, Religion, and Psychology. Of the five awards, the Music Composition award is the oldest, and was awarded for the first time in 1985 to Witold Lutosławski for his Symphony No. 3. Lutosławski is one of only two Polish composers to receive the award in its 30 year history, the second being Krzysztof Penderecki, who won the award for his symphonic piece Adagio for Large Orchestra in 1992.
With the New Music Festival’s focus this year on composers who have previously won a Grawemeyer Award, Penderecki and Lutosławski’s music will have a strong presence at various concerts, including one on November 12 presented by the Louisville Orchestra, celebrated for its First Edition Recordings series of new music by living composers. The Festival will host the 2003 Grawemeyer winner, Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, as this year’s special guest. French composer and visual artist Jean-Baptiste Barrière, American flutist Camilla Hoitenga and Danish cellist Jakob Kullberg will also be festival guests.
The School of Music at the University of Louisville has long been associated with the performance and creation of contemporary music, thanks in large part to the Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition as well as the annual New Music Festival. Polish composer Krzysztof Wołek works at the University of Louisville as a Professor of Music Composition and is the primary festival coordinator. The2015 New Music Festival is presented by the University of Louisville School of Music in partnership with the Polish Cultural Institute New York.