HomeGenresClassicalBent Sørensen wins the Grawemeyer Award

Bent Sørensen wins the Grawemeyer Award

L’Isola della Cittá

Danish composer Bent Sørensen has won the 2018 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition for a triple concerto. The piece, L’isola della Città (The Island in the City), is a five-movement work for violin, cello and piano with orchestra. Sørensen composed the work for the Danish ensemble Trio con Brio and The Danish National Symphony Orchestra. It premiered in Copenhagen in January, 2016.
‘In all five movements the “island” (the trio) tries to escape the shadows of the orchestra. This is most evident in the last movement, in which the trio ever so silently and without attracting any attention, simply glides away from the orchestra’s noisy shadows,’ Sørensen wrote. On receiving the award he comments: ‘I am proud – I allow myself to be that, and I am incredibly grateful for the recognition that is inherent in receiving such a grand award as this. With the recognition comes a responsibility – in the best possible way – and even more: it becomes a wonderful inspiration for my work as a composer in the future.’
Marc Satterwhite, award director and faculty member at the University of Louisville School of Music, said, ‘It is not a virtuoso showcase, but rather integrates the soloists smoothly into an ever-evolving orchestral texture. Often they feel more like “first among equals” rather than traditional soloists, but at other times really come to the fore. Although it has its larger moments, on the whole it is one of the gentler, more introspective, winners of this award.’

Sørensen, 59, studied composition with Ib Nørholm and Per Nørgård in his native Denmark. His music is widely performed around the globe. He received the Nordic Council Music Prize in 1996 for the violin concerto Sterbende Gärten and in 1999 he received the Wilhelm Hansen Composer Prize.
The New York Philharmonic conducted by Edo de Waart will premiere Evening Land by Sørensen on November 30 at David Geffen Hall.
All 2018 Grawemeyer Award winners will be announced this week, pending formal approval by the university’s board of trustees. The University of Louisville presents the prizes annually for outstanding works in music composition, ideas improving world order, psychology, and education, and gives a religion prize jointly with Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The 2018 winners will present free lectures about their award-winning ideas when they visit Louisville in April to accept their $100,000 prizes.
Sørensen joins eleven other composers also represented by the Music Sales Group and who have won the Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition: Hans Abrahamsen (2016); Esa-Pekka Salonen 2012); Peter Lieberson (2008); Kaija Saariaho (2003); Aaron Jay Kernis (2002); Tan Dun (1998); Simon Bainbridge (1997); Karel Husa (1993); John Corigliano (1991); Joan Tower (1990) and Witold Lutosławski (1985).
Photo by Lars Skaaning

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