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Durham University News



Durham University composer awarded prestigious music prize

(21 June 2011)

Richard Rijnvos by Brian Slater

Richard Rijnvos by Brian Slater

Durham University staff member Richard Rijnvos (Reader in Composition) is to receive the prestigious Matthijs Vermeulen Prize 2011 for his operatic song cycle Die Kammersängerin.

Richard, who was born in the Netherlands, is Head of Composition at Durham University's Music Department. This will be the second time that Richard has been awarded the prize, considered to be the most important composition award in the Netherlands. His orchestral work Times Square Dance received the same award in 2000.

Between 1972 and 2004, the Matthijs Vermeulen Prize was issued annually by the Amsterdam Arts Fund. In 2009, the format changed to a biannual prize awarded by the Performing Art Fund NL.

The prize will be presented on Wednesday 22 June 2011 during a Holland Festival production in the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ (Amsterdam). The concert will feature a fully staged performance of the award winning work by Marijje van Stalen (soprano), the Ives Ensemble, Jos van Kan (stage director), and Michiel Voet (set design). Similar to its world premiere on 8 May 2010, the concert will include animated surtitles designed by students of KMT (HKU Utrecht).

Die Kammersängerin is a cycle of twenty-one songs for high soprano and ensemble, based on texts by the Austrian poet Ernst Jandl. The work depicts one morning, one afternoon, and one evening in the life of a singer.

Richard Rijnvos has received many high-profile commissions from eminent performing groups such as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Ensemble Intercontemporain. His compositions have been featured in leading international festivals, such as the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, and have received performances all over the world by ensembles that include the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the London Sinfonietta.

He has been the recipient of several awards, including the Perspektief Prize in 1989. In August 2008 an international jury voted his NYConcerto ‘the best composition premiered in the Netherlands in the year 2007' and it subsequently received the Buma Toonzetters Award.


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