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September 10, 2015

SEPTEMBER 10, 2015, TORONTO, ON - The Canadian Music Centre is thrilled to congratulate Canadian composer Brian Current for receiving the inaugural $50,000 prize from the Azrieli Foundation created to celebrate, foster and create opportunities for the performance of high quality orchestra Jewish Music. This is one of two prizes to be awarded – the second $50,000 prize to be awarded at the international Azrieli Foundation Competition in early 2016. Both new works will be performed by the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal and Maestro Kent Nagano and the Azrieli Music Project Gala Concert at Maison symphonique de Montréal on October 19, 2016.

Azrieli Music Project founder Dr. Sharon Azrieli Perez comments, “I would like to offer my personal congratulations to Brian for both his exceptional talent as a composer, as well as the fascinating proposal he submitted to the competition. In the submissions we received from across the country, the jury noted the extremely high quality of the applicants, as well as the care and thought that went into the excellent proposals. We were impressed with the variety of topics considered and the creative approaches the applicants employed in their attempts to interpret the musical and philosophical questions at the heart of the Azrieli Commissioning Competition.” The choice of Mr. Current was unanimous amongst the Azrieli Music Project jury, which includes conductor Boris Brott; composer Aaron Jay Kernis; musicologist Neil Levin; conductor and composer Steven Mercurio; and composer Ana Sokolović.

Brian Current’s The Seven Heavenly Halls will be scored for choir, orchestra and solo tenor. Current was inspired by the Zohar, the foundational book of the Kabbalah and the most mysterious of Jewish mystical texts. “While reading through the Zohar, I immediately heard turbulent and gestural music full of orchestral colours,” says Current, “Even more inspiring was the reference to the Sefer Hekalot or the Seven Heavenly Halls, a series of ecstatic stages where each vision is marked by a different colour.”

Current intends for The Seven Heavenly Halls to become part of River of Light, a six-movement cycle for choir, orchestra and soloists to be completed in 2018.

For more information, please visit: Azrieli Foundation

A graduate of McGill University in Montreal and U. C. Berkeley, Brian Current writes music that is brimming with energy – sometimes with the propulsive rhythms of so-called minimalist music, sometimes with a more delicate sense of flux, but almost always with a sense of motion and playfulness about the treatment of time and texture. These features have won him numerous honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Barlow Prize for Orchestral Music, and Italy’s Premio Fedora for his new chamber opera Airline Icarus.

Airline Icarus was also awarded Classical Composition of the Year at the 2015 JUNO Awards in Hamilton, ON. The Canadian Music Centre presented Current’s Pilot Aria at the Classical Nominees’ Showcase in partnership with CBC Music and JUNOFest.

About the Canadian Music Centre
The CMC has been connecting Canadians and sharing our stories, through music, for over half a century. At five regional offices across the country, the CMC provides access for performing organizations, the cultural community and individuals to an extensive collection of music and recordings (both digital and on-site). By supporting innovative programming, promoting composers and performers and engaging audiences, we maintain the rich legacy of Canadian concert music and ensure the voice of our composers is heard by generations to come. Connect with the Canadian Music Centre at musiccentre.ca, on Facebook (Canadian Music Centre) and on Twitter (@cmcnational).

About The Azrieli Foundation
The Azrieli Foundation is a Canadian philanthropic organization that supports a wide range of initiatives and programs in the fields of education, architecture and design, Jewish community, Holocaust commemoration and education, scientific and medical research, and the arts.


For further information about the Azrieli Foundation:
Shira Gilbert
Phone: 514-585-3868
Email: shira@shiragilbertPR.com

For further information about the Canadian Music Centre, please contact:
Allegra Young, Director of Communications and Centrediscs
Phone: 416-961-6601 x 304
Email: ayoung@musiccentre.ca

Related Composers: Brian Current