New York, NY (March 8, 2007) - Yaddo composer Sebastian Currier has received the prestigious Grawemeyer Award in Musical Composition for Static, a chamber work heard last year at concerts in New York City and Saratoga Springs jointly presented by Yaddo and Music from Copland House, for which the piece was commissioned.
One of the top international honors in classical music competition, the $200,000 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award is given "in recognition of outstanding achievement by a living composer in a large musical genre." Static, lasting nearly 30 minutes and scored for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano, is the first chamber work to receive the honor in 20 years. It received its world premiere in February 2005 with Music from Copland House, which recorded it for Koch International Classics on a just-released all-Currier CD titled "On the Verge."
The Grawemeyer Award in Musical Composition was first conferred in 1985 and was established by H. Charles Grawemeyer, a Kentucky-born industrialist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist who established similar prizes in the areas of education, improving world order, philosophy, and religion. Four other Yaddo composers have received the music composition award – George Tsontakis in 2005 for Violin Concerto No. 2, Aaron Jay Kernis in 2002 for Colored Field, Karel Husa in 1993 for Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra, and Chinary Ung in 1989 for Inner Voices.
Fellow award recipient Tsontakis said: "I think it's just great that Sebastian has been honored with the Grawemeyer. He is a terrific composer whose music speaks with elegance, thoughtfulness, and heart. I have shared many a happy dinner with him at the Yaddo table and I know how much Yaddo has meant to his work. I'm certain that he will take advantage of the award and continue to compose inspired music."
Like Currier's other works, Static inhabits a world of ambiguities, shifting perspectives, and multiple meanings. His works are known to challenge the listener to reconsider generally accepted concepts and boundaries of time, sound, context, character, narrative, and structure, as well as the very nature of artistic creativity. He has been a guest at Yaddo several times, most recently in the summer of 2006, and comes from a musical family. Both his mother, Marilyn, and his brother, Nathan, are composers who have held residencies at Yaddo.
Currier's music has been performed worldwide in major cities such as Paris, Rome, Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Beijing, Moscow, London, and Toronto. Among his other honors are a Berlin Prize, a Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and several awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His works have been performed by Anne-Sophie Mutter, the Cassatt Quartet, the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Frankfurt Radio Orchestra, EOS Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony. In addition to Koch International Classics, his works are recorded on New World Records, Albany Records, Crystal Records, and CRI. Currier has taught at The Juilliard School and Columbia University.