Du Yun Named Winner of Annual Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award for Female Composers


DSO announces new partnership with Ucross Foundation

DETROIT, (Nov. 4, 2009) – Du Yun, an internationally acclaimed composer, has been awarded the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s (DSO) Fourth Annual Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award for Female Composers. Du Yun, who was chosen from over 50 applicants from the United States, China, Korea, Israel, Austria and the United Kingdom, will compose a new work that will receive its world premiere in the DSO’s 2010-2011 classical subscription series. In addition to performances of her work, Du Yun will receive a $10,000 prize and a one-month residency at the Ucross Foundation, an internationally known artist’s retreat located on the High Plains in northern Wyoming. The Foundation is the DSO’s new partner in recognizing and awarding exceptional female composers.

“I am very humbled by the honor of receiving the Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award and am grateful that the DSO and its prize jury are willing to give this opportunity to an emerging composer,” said Du Yun. “I am thrilled to work with the musicians at the DSO. I am, in every way, indebted to all the people, men and women, before me who have worked hard to pave the way for my generation. Hopefully, I might play a part in this, helping, as other composers, musicians and organizations have to build a strong lineage within our time and for future generations of composers whose work is respected beyond their gender, race or creed.”

Du Yun was born in Shanghai, China and currently resides in New York City. She is an alumna of the Shanghai Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory and Harvard University. Since 2006, Du Yun has served on the composition faculty at the State University of New York Purchase and is a founding member of the critically acclaimed International Contemporary Ensemble (I.C.E.). Equally adept at writing for concert halls, art shows, experimental theatres and dance, her compositions can be heard on record labels Wugui (Beijing), Shanghai Classical Music, ATMA Classique, New Focus and Oxingale.

Du Yun is currently involved in multiple composing projects including a work for string quartet, a dance and multimedia project with Moving Theater at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City and a multimedia collaboration with visual artist David Michalek for flutist Claire Chase. Highlights of recent seasons include premieres and performances in Switzerland, Finland, Canada, Norway, Argentina, Mexico, Germany, The Netherlands and China. Her scores for the silent films of Alice Guy-Blaché can be viewed at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City from November 2009 to January 2010. Du Yun will also be composing a chamber opera with composer Ken Ueno at The Flea Theater (NYC) in May 2010 and a score for visual artist Shahzia Sikander’s film Interstitial, which will tour India, Laos, Pakistan and Japan in early 2011.

Du Yun was chosen as the recipient of the Elaine Lebenbom Award by a panel consisting of Evan Chambers, Associate Professor and Chair of Composition at the University of Michigan, Bright Sheng, Leonard Bernstein Distinguished University Professor of Composition at the University of Michigan, Ian Ding, DSO Acting Principal Percussion, Randall Hawes, DSO Bass Trombone and Shannon Orme, DSO Bass Clarinet.

The Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award stands alone, internationally, as the only annual symphony-sponsored award competition exclusively for women composers. It is conferred annually and is made possible by a generous donor who wishes to remain anonymous. The Award was inspired by composer, teacher, poet, artist and lecturer Elaine Lebenbom, a resident of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, who died in 2002. Two of Lebenbom’s works have been performed by the DSO: Kaleidoscope Turning which received its World Premiere by the DSO under DSO Music Director Emeritus Neeme Järvi in 1997; and, posthumously, Reflections on a Rainbow, which had its DSO debut in 2004 under the direction of Hans Graf, Music Director of the Houston Symphony. Previous winners of the Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award include Stacy Garrop, Margaret Brouwer and Cindy McTee.

The DSO’s new partnership with the Ucross Foundation makes this year’s award even more special. The Ucross Foundation is located on a 20,000-acre working cattle ranch on the High Plains in northeastern Wyoming. Founded in 1981 by Raymond Plank, the Ucross Foundation has awarded Fellowships to over 1,400 writers, composers and artists in all disciplines from around the United States and the world. The Residency Program recognizes excellence in the visual arts, music and literature by supporting the work of individuals who have demonstrated exceptional achievement or potential for making a significant contribution to their field of inquiry and to society. Through the Foundation’s creative retreat, private studio space, public art gallery and abundant wildlife, Ucross is a true living laboratory in which the diverse interests of conservation, the arts and natural environment work together on mutually compatible goals. Part of the mission of the Ucross Foundation is to cast a reflection into the future from the cultural mirror of our lives and times. For more information visit www.ucrossfoundation.org.

The internationally acclaimed Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the fourth-oldest symphony orchestra in the United States, is known for trailblazing performances, visionary maestros and collaborations with the world’s foremost musical artists. Esteemed conductor Leonard Slatkin, called “America’s Music Director” by the Los Angeles Times, became the 12th Music Director of the DSO during the 2008-2009 season. The DSO offers a year-round performance schedule that includes classical, pops, jazz, young people’s concerts and festivals. The DSO makes its home in historic Orchestra Hall, one of America’s most acoustically perfect concert halls, and actively pursues a mission to impact and serve the community through music. For more information visit www.detroitsymphony.com.


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