The Azrieli Foundation Celebrates Azrieli Music Prize Winners With Czech Debuts In Prague

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The preeminent Czech National Symphony Orchestra opens its 2019/20 season performing the Czech debuts of works by 2018 Azrieli Music Prize-winners Kelly-Marie Murphy and Avner Dorman on September 17 as part of the composers' prize package. Established in 2014 by the Azrieli Foundation, the Azrieli Music Prizes offer opportunities for the discovery, creation, performance and celebration of excellence in music composition.

In its first concert under new music director Steven Mercurio, the symphony is joined by celebrated violinist Lara St. John in Avner Dorman's Nigunim for Violin and Orchestra and COULOIR (cellist Ariel Barnes and harpist Heidi Krutzen) for Murphy's En el escuro es todo uno (In the Darkness All is One) - a double concerto for cello, harp and orchestra. Other works include those by Mahler, American composer Leon Stein, and an arrangement of a work by prolific Canadian-Jewish composer Srul Irving Glick, featuring soprano Sharon Azrieli.

Just days ahead of these two concerts, both prize-winning works by Dorman and Murphy receive their world premiere recording on a new album released by Analekta featuring the same soloists - Lara St. John and COULOIR - with the Orchestre Classique de Montréal conducted by Boris Brott. Titled New Jewish Music Vol. 2, the album also includes the new arrangement of Glick's Seven Tableaux from the Song of Songs featuring soprano Sharon Azrieli. New Jewish Music Vol. 2 is available in Canada and digitally worldwide on September 13, 2019. The album comes to the United States on October 4 and Europe in late October.

In 2018, the Azrieli Foundation awarded Israeli-American composer Avner Dorman The Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music for writing "the best new major work of Jewish music" for his composition, Nigunim for Violin and Orchestra. The original violin sonata version of Nigunim was premiered in New York in 2011 by the renowned Gil and Orli Shaham, for whom it was written.

Also in 2018, The Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music was awarded to Canadian composer Kelly-Marie Murphy to create the work En el escuro es todo uno (In the Darkness All is One). Seeking to encourage composers to creatively and critically engage with the question "What is Jewish music?", the Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music is given to the composer who proposes a response in the shape of a musical work that displays the utmost creativity, artistry and musical excellence.

Performance Details:

Tuesday, September 17, 2019 | 7:30 PM
Municipal House, Smetana Hall
nám. Republiky 1090/5, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia

Leon Stein: "Dance of the Joyous" from Three Hassidic Dances
Srul Irving Glick: "Let Him Kiss Me" and "How Beautiful You Are My Love" from Seven Tableaux from The Song of Songs (arr. François Vallières)
Avner Dorman: Nigunim for Violin and Orchestra
Kelly-Marie Murphy: En el escuro es todo uno (In the Darkness All is One) for Violoncello, harp and orchestra
Gustav Mahler: "Adagio" from Symphony No. 10

Czech National Symphony Orchestra
Steven Mercurio, conductor
Sharon Azrieli, soprano
Lara St. John, violin
Ariel Barnes, cello
Heidi Krutzen, harp

Tickets, 150-600 Kč, and more information available at

The upcoming 2020 Azrieli Music Prizes will award an additional third prize: The Azrieli Commission for Canadian Music. This prize is offered to a Canadian composer to create a new musical work that creatively and critically engages with the challenges of composing concert music in Canada today.

About The Azrieli Foundation
Fulfilling the philanthropic legacy of David J. Azrieli, the Azrieli Foundation has been funding institutions as well as operating programs in Israel and Canada since 1989. Driven by a strong belief in the powerful role and responsibility of philanthropy, the foundation empowers and supports a broad range of organizations in eight priority areas including Music and the Arts, Science and Education.

About Kelly-Marie Murphy, 2018 Azrieli Commission Winner
With music described as "breathtaking" (Kitchener-Waterloo Record), "imaginative and expressive" (The National Post), "a pulse-pounding barrage on the senses" (The Globe and Mail), and "Bartok on steroids" (Birmingham News), Kelly-Marie Murphy's voice is well known on the Canadian music scene. She has created a number of memorable works for some of Canada's leading performers and ensembles, including the Toronto, Winnipeg, and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras, The Gryphon Trio, James Campbell, Shauna Rolston, the Cecilia and Afiara String Quartets, and Judy Loman.

About Avner Dorman, 2018 Azrieli Prize Winner
A native of Israel now living in the United States, Avner Dorman draws on a variety of cultural and historical influences in composing, resulting in music that affects an emotional impact while exploring new territories. His music utilizes an exciting and complex rhythmic vocabulary, as well as unique timbres and colors in orchestral, chamber, and solo settings; many of his compositions have become contemporary staples in the repertoire. Dorman's music is championed by conductors including Zubin Mehta, Christoph Eschenbach, Ricardo Chailly, and Andris Nelsons, and by soloists such as Pinchas Zukerman, Gil Shaham, Martin Grubinger, and Hilary Hahn.

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