Neruda Songs wins Grawemeyer music prize

Neruda Songs wins Grawemeyer music prize
Neruda Songs a song cycle written by composer Peter Lieberson as a parting gift to his dying wife, has earned the 2008 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition. The work, a group of songs based on five love poems by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, was chosen for the prize among 140 entries from around the world.

Lieberson wrote the song cycle in 2005 for his wife, the late mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, who was ill with cancer. She performed it with the organizations that jointly commissioned it, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Boston Symphony, before she died in 2006. Each song represents a different stage of love, from first passion to the end of life, said Marc Satterwhite, a University of Louisville music professor who directs the award program. “The piece has beauty and surface simplicity, but great emotional depth and intellectual rigor as well,” he said.

Among his other compositions are three concertos and several solo pieces for pianist Peter Serkin, the concerto Six Realms for cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the operas King Gesar and Ashoka’s Dream

The Grawemeyer Foundation at University of Louisville annually awards $1 million -- $200,000 each – for outstanding works in music composition, ideas improving world order, psychology, education and religion.

Winners of the other 2008 Grawemeyer Awards also are being announced this week.

For more details, see www.grawemeyer.org/

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