Ensemble Dal Niente, a Chicago-based contemporary music group featuring six alumni of the Bienen School of Music, received the Kranichstein Music Prize at the 46th Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik (International Summer Courses for New Music) in Darmstadt, Germany. The international award includes a cash prize and an invitation to the 47th Darmstadt International Summer Course as featured performers.
The ensemble, started in 2004 by Bienen School alumna Kirsten Broberg (G09), performed two concerts at this year’s Darmstadt Course: one that was the culmination of a ten-month workshop with six young international composers; and one showcase of both contemporary masterpieces and new scores composed specifically for the group. A three-member jury assessed many qualities of the performance, including the performers’ fidelity to the score, enthusiasm, efficiency of communication to the audience, quality of sound, and instrumental mastery. With this honor, Dal Niente became the first mixed ensemble to ever receive the Kranichstein Music Prize.
Dal Niente is dedicated to the promotion and advancement of contemporary music through concerts, commissions, and educational activities. They have collaborated in the past with such composers as Kaija Saariaho, a former recipient of the Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition; Bienen School alumna and former Bienen faculty member Augusta Read Thomas (87); and current Bienen music composition professor Lee Hyla. Of the 12 members who performed at Darmstadt this summer, six were Bienen alumni: J. Austin Wulliman (G08), Amanda Brod (G06), Mark Buchner (G11), Ryan Muncy (G12), Andrew Nogal (07, G10, WCAS07), and Jesse Langen (96, G97).
One of Ensemble Dal Niente’s new pieces performed at the Darmstadt Course, Evan Johnson’s “die bewegung der augen,” will receive its US premiere as part of the International Beethoven Festival in Chicago this September.