Composer Olga Neuwirth wins $100,000 Grawemeyer Award for “Orlando” opera

Posted on: December 7, 2021

“Olga Neuwirth, a groundbreaking Austrian composer and multimedia artist known for the technical virtuosity and elemental power of her work, is the newest recipient of one of classical music’s most prestigious and lucrative honors,” reports Steve Smith in Monday’s (12/6) National Public Radio. “On Monday, Neuwirth was announced as the winner of the 2022 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition, which includes $100,000. She was recognized for her opera Orlando, which had its world premiere at the Vienna State Opera in December 2019…. Neuwirth co-authored the opera’s libretto with Catherine Filloux, inspired by Virginia Woolf’s novel of the same title. The novel, concerning a young male poet in 16th-century England who mysteriously transforms into a woman, deals with gender fluidity…. Neuwirth called upon enormous forces for a polyglot score ranging from Tudor balladry to punk rock and electronic noise. As staged in Vienna, the opera also included a brassy tour de force spotlight number for the transgender cabaret artist Justin Vivian Bond…. The University of Louisville … sponsors the award…. Neuwirth is the fourth woman composer to claim the prize, previously awarded to Joan Tower, Kaija Saariaho and Unsuk Chin.”