Hans Abrahamsen wins the 2016 Grawemeyer Award


Abrahamsen's 'let me tell you' earns the composer $100,000 in prize money

Hans Abrahamsen
Hans Abrahamsen

The Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen has won the world's biggest prize for musical composition, the Grawemeyer Award, for his song-cycle for soprano and orchestra let me tell you.

The winning work was premiered by soprano Barbara Hannigan with the Berlin Philharmonic and conductor Andris Nelsons in 2013. Let me tell you is a setting of a libretto by Paul Griffiths, adapted from his 2008 novel. This is the second time that a musical setting of a text by Paul Griffiths has won the Grawemeyer (Tan Dun's Marco Polo won in 1998).

Gramophone's Rebecca Schmid spoke to Barbara Hannigan about the commissioning of let me tell you last year, and she revealed just how involved she was at the early stages of the composition process: 'This being the composer’s first sung work, Hannigan had given him a four hour session in vocal music from the Renaissance to 12-tone. "I think that’s why the writing doesn’t feel like modern music to me," she says. "I feel like it has always been there. Even though the intervals and rhythms might be difficult, the lyricism has a timeless quality." You can read the full interview here: 'Soprano of our time: Barbara Hannigan'.

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