Renowned Norwegian composer Natasha Barrett receives the prestigious Nordic Council Music Prize 2006 for the electro-acoustic work ‘...fetters...’. This year’s 12 nominations consisted of Nordic works all of which included electronic elements.
The work ...fetters..., was commissioned for The Norwegian Broadcasting Company (the national Norwegian TV and Radio broadcaster) in 2002. Barrett describes the work as being inspired by the laws of physics, which portrays the movement of molecules within a limited space, and how these movements change and accelerate through impulses of energy until the limited space explodes.
The prize amounts to 350,000 Danish kroner and will be presented during the Nordic Council’s Session in Copenhagen on 1 November.
A mature artistic expression
The adjudication committee justifies its decision as follows:
"What is chiefly characteristic of this year’s winning composition is a mature, strong and convincing artistic expression that is conveyed with integrity and credibility. The jury has attached weight to the strong dramaturgical character of the work; as a whole it describes a fascinating dynamic condition rather than the course of a narrative. At the same time, within the exciting experiential space that is created, minor and major dramatic events occur and grow, melting into each other in a compelling and sometimes humorous way. Barrett also shows a clear consciousness of the capacity of silence to highlight the various interest-moments in the composition, in a shifting interplay between activity and calm, chaos and order.
In addition, Barrett demonstrates an impressively skilful grasp of the unique technological potential of the medium and its complex material particularity. She has not allowed herself to be seduced by the enormous diversity of sound which the medium can offer, but has managed to establish a defined and harmonious palette which she explores and exploits in an original way and with a sure hand.
"...fetters..." presents itself as a radical and innovative work within the genre of electro-acoustic music; in it the concrete and electronic sound-material is arranged with a refined artistic insight and a lively, colourful wealth of sound."
Praising high artistic standards
The Nordic Council Music Prize recognises creative and practical musicians of a high artistic standard. The prize is awarded on alternate years to a piece of music by a living composer and to a small or large ensemble of high artistic and technical standards.
The prize was launched as early as 1965 and was originally awarded every third year. Since 1990 the prize, which is worth 350,000 Danish kroner, has been awarded every year. In 1997 the autonomous territories were granted permission to make their own nominations for the prize.
The Nordic Music Committee, NOMUS, acts as the jury and the secretariat for the Nordic Music Prize. NOMUS's General Secretary acts as the secretary of the jury.
Natasha Barrett began working seriously with electroacoustic composition during a master's degree in analysis and electroacoustic composition, studying under Jonty Harrison. This study gave her the opportunity to work with BEAST (Birmingham Electroacoustic Sound Theatre), and has greatly influenced her current work. In 1998 she was awarded a doctoral degree in composition, supervised by Denis Smalley. Both degrees were funded by the Humanities section of the British Academy. In the same year, a grant from the research council of Norway enabled her to work as a resident composer at NoTAM, Oslo (Norwegian network for Technology, Acoustics and Music). Afterwards, she worked for one year as a senior lecturer at the music conservatory in Tromsų, Norway. She is now a freelance composer and teacher, based in Oslo.
Her compositional output consists of works for instruments and live electronics, sound installations, dance, theatre, and animation projects, but all activity is rooted in her work with acousmatic tape composition, which features most strongly amongst her creations.
Her work has received many awards, including Prix Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria 1998), Noroit-Leonce Petitot (Arras, France 1998 & 2002), first prize in the Trivium section of the Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Awards (France 1998, 2001, and a mention in the same competition in 1995), Concours Scrime, (France 2000), International Electroacoustic Creation Competition of Ciberart (Italy 2000), Concours Luigi Russolo (Italy 1995 and 1998), and selection in the IREM 2002. She has received commissions from institutions and performers in throughout the world, and her work is available on numerous CD labels, including empreintes DIGITALes, Cultures electroniques/Mnemosyne Musique Media, CDCM/Centaur, and two privately produced solo CD productions. sd
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