NPR | Tom Huizenga
A rambunctious 45-minute orchestral piece called Play, by American composer Andrew Norman, has been named the winner of the 2017 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition. The prize, which includes $100,000, was announced this evening by the University of Louisville, which sponsors the award. Former winners include Pierre Boulez, John Adams, Kaija Saariaho and Thomas Adès.
Norman, 37, wrote Play for the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, an ensemble led by Gil Rose, which premiered the work in 2013 and released a critically acclaimed recording last year. The work has had subsequent performances by three other orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic in October. In 2012, the young composer’s string trio The Companion Guide to Rome was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
Grawemeyer Award Director Marc Satterwhite, who is also a composer, praised Playin a media statement for its brilliant orchestration, calling it “wildly inventive and idiomatic.” In an age of shortened attention spans, he noted how well the piece, divided into three “levels,” held the listener’s interest. “It ranges effortlessly from brash to intimate, and all points in between,” Satterwhite said. …