Alexina Louie Wins Jules Léger Prize
First woman to win the Canadian award
A composition for 14 solo strings has earned composer Alexina Louie the Canada Council’s Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music. Louie is the first woman to win the prize, worth about $5,100.
Entitled Nightfall, the piece was written for I Musici de Montreal. Though it hasn’t yet been recorded on CD, the Esprit Orchestra’s performance of the work was broadcast across Canada, on both the English and French CBC radio networks.
The Léger Prize was established in 1978 by Jules Léger, then Canada’s Governor General, to encourage chamber-music composition and performance. Past winners include R. Murray Schafer and Christos Hatzis.
The prize is one of a long list of awards Louie has picked up. In 1986, the Canadian Music Council named her Composer of the Year, and two years later she won a Juno Award (Canada’s Grammy) for her orchestral work Songs of Paradise. That same year, the International Society for Contemporary Music selected Louie’s Music for a Thousand Autumns for performance in Hong Kong. And in 1994 her Obsessions won the Chalmers Award for Best Canadian Composition. Recently, the CBC released Shattered Night, Shivering Stars, a CD of her orchestral compositions performed by the National Arts Centre Orchestra.
Louie is currently composer in residence at the Toronto-based Canadian Opera Company, where she’s working on an adaptation of a 17th-century Kabuki play with the librettist David Henry Hwang, who wrote M. Butterfly.