Considered one of the most coveted prizes in the world of music composition--and certainly the most lucrative at $100,000--the Grawemeyer Award has attracted so many musical luminaries over the past thirty years that its winners’ list reads like a textbook on twentieth century music. Lutosławski, Corigliano, Dun, Boulez and Salonen are but a few of the previous Award recipients to have graced the School of Music with their gifts and shape the world’s musical landscape.
This year, the Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition was won by Serbian-Swedish composer Đuro Živković for his chamber orchestra piece, On the Guarding of the Heart. Inspired by the religious music of Bach, Živković describes his work as an “instrumental cantata” of which the main theme is the need to return to oneself. He continues: “It is about hard-achieved detachment, stillness and watchfulness, it's about solitude and exile.”
Marc Satterwhite, the Award Director, describes the piece as making “a huge emotional journey in a relatively short period of time, moving through many landscapes between the mysterious, moody opening and the ecstatic conclusion.” He also adds that Živković “makes wonderful use of the colors of the fourteen-piece ensemble. The instruments are used in fascinating ways [...] that shape the sound of unnatural, echoing beauty.”
Born in 1975 in Belgrade, Živković is an active violinist and violist and currently teaches at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm where he also lives. He has pioneered his own “harmonic field” compositional procedure that involves building chords based on their relation to each other rather than how they exist separately. His technique is now a topic of research at Graz University in Austria.
Živković will present a lecture on his work this Thursday, April 10th at 3 pm in Comstock Hall at the School of Music. The lecture is free and open to the public.
(Photo courtesy of http://www.zivkovic.eu.)
Follow Michael on Twitter: @rackoflambert.
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