Artsbreak Blog

The 2015 Grawemeyer Award in Music has been awarded to Wolfgang Rihm for his 15-minute orchestral work IN-SCHRIFT 2, premiered in October of 2013.

Rihm composed the music to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Berlin Philharmonic‘s concert hall, the Philharmonie, a concert venue known for its excellent acoustic properties and unique construction. IN-SCHRIFT 2 explores this unique space, by placing musicians from the orchestra around and within the audience, creating spatial and surround-sound effects. The work is also noted for not using flutes, violins or violas (standard orchestral instruments), instead focusing on the darker and deeper sounds of the ensemble. A preview of the premiere can be seen on the Berlin Philharmonic’s website.

A prolific composer of over 400 works, Wolfgang Rihm came to prominence in 1974 after the premiere of Morphonie at an historic new music festival in Donaueschingen. His output is often associated with expressionism, a style that can be traced back to Gustav Mahler and Arnold Schoenberg. Rihm has composed thirteen string quartets, four operas, and his oratorio Deus Passus was commissioned by the International Bach Academy of Stuttgart for the 250th anniversary of Johann Sebastian Bach’s death. He has been featured composer at music festivals in Lucerne and Salzburg, and his violin concerto was premiered in 2010 by Anne-Sophie Mutter and the New York Philharmonic. Rihm was born in 1952 in Karslruhle and is a professor at Karlsruhle University of Music.

The 2015 Award in Music is one of five Grawemeyer awards from the University of Louisville, each with a prize of $100,000.

Daniel Gilliam is the weekday afternoon host (1-3pm) on 90.5 WUOL Classical Louisville, and director of radio for Louisville Public Media.