UConn News HomeUConn News

Winner of Inaugural Raymond and Beverly Sackler Music Composition Prize Announced (Released: November 12, 2002)

By Allison Thompson, Office of University Communications

STORRS, Conn. -- Celebrated composer and pianist Gabriela Lena Frank has been named the recipient of the first Raymond and Beverly Sackler Music Composition Prize. Sponsored by the University of Connecticut School of Fine Arts, the competition supports and promotes composers and the performance of their new musical works.

"The prize is part of a broader structure promoting innovation, inventiveness and the creative spirit within the School of Fine Arts," says David G. Woods, dean of the school. "It provides the opportunity for cutting-edge creative exploration and productivity, and will reflect the essence of creativity in the artistic program of the school."

As this year's winner, Frank will receive $20,000, and her piece, "An American in Perú," will have its world premiere at UConn next spring. A second performance will take place at UConn's Stamford campus.

Frank's composition tells the story of her Jewish father and his experiences in Perú as a Peace Corps volunteer in the 1960s. The piece, written for a solo violin and chamber ensemble of 11 players, will document the blending of Frank's father's Jewish roots with Peruvian influences. It will culminate with a festive celebration of the union between Frank's father and her Peruvian-Indian mother.

Frank's winning composition was one of 58 entries received for the inaugural Sackler Music Composition Prize. In addition to receiving entries from composers in 20 states, the judges also received applications from people in nine other countries.

"Words can't adequately express the pleasure and honor I feel at having been selected the first winner of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Music Composition Prize," says Frank. "It is not just an opportunity to bring to life a large work using the talents of terrific players, but also a chance to set a high standard of imagination and craft for future recipients of the prize. I deeply appreciate this pledge of faith from the music department at UConn, and I'm enjoying very much working on my newest composition."

The prize was established through a gift given from Raymond and Beverly Sackler, philanthropists and frequent UConn donors. The Sacklers fund several important initiatives at the School of Fine Arts, including an artist-in-residence program, the Master Artists and Scholars Institute, and the Art and Archeology Lecture Series. The Sacklers were also instrumental in forging an academic partnership between the Metropolitan Opera and UConn, which is the first collaboration of its kind between the opera company and an institution of higher learning. In addition to the fine arts programs, the Sacklers also fund numerous other initiatives at UConn.

Three nationally known and respected musicians judged this year's competition: John Corigliano, a noted composer who won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his "Symphony No. 2 for String Orchestra"; Raymond Leppard, composer, conductor laureate and former music director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra; and Joseph Schwantner, who won the 1979 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his work, "Aftertones of Infinity."

Frank, who received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Rice University and her doctoral degree from the University of Michigan, has presented concerts as a pianist and composer. She has released numerous CDs.

The 2003 Raymond and Beverly Sackler Music Composition Prize will be for 10-15 minute composition for solo trumpet and a chamber ensemble of five to 15 players. The head of the music department and music professors choose the category each year.

November 2002 Releases
UConn News Homepage