The multi-media opera La Comedia has earned Dutch composer Louis Andriessen the 2011 Grawemeyer Award, one of the most lucrative music awards.
The $100,000 cash award, awarded each year by the University of Louisville, was announced Nov. 28. Awards are also given for ideas for improving world order, psychology, education and religion.
The opera is based on Dante's Divine Comedy, was first seen at the 2008 Holland Festival in Amsterdam, and was produced in association with American film director Hal Hartley. It's Andriessen's fourth opera.
Grawemeyer Award director Marc Satterwhite says that although the opera is wide-ranging in scope and utilizes diverse musical languages, it remains a unified whole.
"Although some describe Andriessen’s music as hard-edged," he says, "it is always human and humane."
Andriessen, from Utrecht, is considered one of Europe's preeminent composers. His musical interests and influences range from American boogie-woogie and jazz to minimalism. He held the composer's chair at Carnegie Hall in 2009, and was named 2010 Composer of the Year by Musical America. He teaches at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague.
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