A Serbian-born composer has won the Grawemeyer Award for music composition from the University of Louisville.
The piece was first performed in 2011, and it was written in the months prior in an 18th-Century house in Sweden.
“It’s a wooden house without electricity, without water, without anything inside. It’s a very special spiritual experience being there and to compose and to think,” Zivkovic says.
Adding to the spiritual experience was Zivkovic’s choice of reading material—Philokalia, a collection of works from the early Eastern Christian masters.
“It’s a very hard book to read because it’s very complex,” Zivkovic says. “But I was very inspired by these texts and I discovered some things I never knew before. I was reading the book and I was composing at the same time. When I got tired of composing, I was reading. When I got tired of reading, I was composing.”
Adding to it all is Zivkovic’s lifelong love of art, a spirit handed down from his parents.
“I got some good support from my parents. I could practice writing and compose without any other activities,” he says. “They allowed me to do that and supported me and everything. So thanks to my parents a lot.”
The Grawemeyer Award also comes with a $100,000 prize.
The remaining Grawemeyer winners will be announced throughout the week.
Listen to the whole piece here:
And you can hear Zivkovic talk with Classical 90.5’s Daniel Gilliam: