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#1991084 - 11/26/12 12:59 PM Michael van der Aa 'Up Close' (2013 Grawemeyer Award)
Nikolas Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 6280
Loc: UK
While I rarely take a look at competitions (not sure why. Should talk to my psychologist about that...), I do tend to notice the Grawemeyer Award. Probably because it's the largest award for composers and generally in music. If I recall it used to be 1,000,000$ and now it's 100,000$. Still a huge amount of money! Past winners include the biggest names in the industry, such as Boulez, Adams, etc...

So this year the winner was some guy named Michael van der Aa, who I didn't know! Shameful perhaps, but at least I got to know him in the past hour.

At first when reading about his work 'Up Close' I didn't think much about it. Thought that it was a very nice dressing up of some music idea and that was about it.


It's a fabulous work (and the score looks extra nice as well, with almost too much empty space, but what the heck...).

Here's a youtube vid with a trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meJULooqG58 I hope you'll agree that it sounds, at least very exciting!

And now I have to get to amazon and order the DVD... wink

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#1991299 - 11/27/12 01:32 AM Re: Michael van der Aa 'Up Close' (2013 Grawemeyer Award) [Re: Nikolas]
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 8628
Somehow, his getting this award is almost like a response to your wondering, in another thread, about the future of "pure" music. This guy mostly writes a lot things that feature electronics and/or film in addition to the usual classical instrumentation. I was checking his work list at the Boosey site for piano works, and although there are two pieces listed as "piano solo", that's actually not accurate - both involve other stuff besides just a piano.

#1991302 - 11/27/12 01:42 AM Re: Michael van der Aa 'Up Close' (2013 Grawemeyer Award) [Re: Nikolas]
Nikolas Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 6280
Loc: UK
Yes it's exactly a reply to what I have been thinking lately (and remember that part of me deals with computer games music, which by definition is not 'pure' music).

It's highly interesting (and I did get the DVD, in HQ download (2.3 GB)), but it still requires much more than a solo pianist, or heck an orchestra.

Joey (here in PW) was attempting to get his concerto performed, and as far I don't think there's a positive result to this. Most of us recommended that he should compose something smaller. The Busoni concerto is rarely performed, exactly because of the huge forced required, the size and difficulty!

Imagine then, a work such as this. Which requires, orchestras, soloists, laptop, media playback, etc. All this is very difficult to get in a normal setting unfortunately. Same goes for installations. They're fine for Tate modern, but they can't be installed anywhere else, most of the times, because of the technical requirements...

It's a pity really that, on the one hand, it's very clear that there's so many things to be done with mingling with various media/arts, but on the other hand this co-dependency is making things even more difficult to perform!

My guess is that Michael understands this and this is why he's set up a very nice digital store and all (??) his works can be bought and downloaded...

#1991317 - 11/27/12 04:41 AM Re: Michael van der Aa 'Up Close' (2013 Grawemeyer Award) [Re: Nikolas]
Praeludium Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/19/11
Posts: 93
Loc: Besançon, France
Cool !

But the first thing I though, in addition to what Nikolas said, is that it must cost a lot of money to even just create a work like that in the first place - you have to do the film. This might seem stupid but this makes me think that very few composers will/are actually able to work like that.

#1991424 - 11/27/12 10:43 AM Re: Michael van der Aa 'Up Close' (2013 Grawemeyer Award) [Re: Nikolas]
Orange Soda King Online   happy
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6522
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Awesome!! My university hosts the Grawenmeyer award, so I remember Esa-Pekka Salonen coming last year for a few days (his violin concerto won in 2012). I hope he comes to the university for a bit. smile


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