Laureates 2007

2007 Present - Contemporary Music

Pascal Dusapin

dusapinPascal Dusapin (born in 1955) is an outstanding figure within the world of contemporary music, where he is regularly performed by highly specialized ensembles and is a leader working with the most prestigious musical institutions.

In the last five years, he has received commissions from La Scala, Paris Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Berlin Philharmonic. Beethovenfest in Bonn, the Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, the Deutsche Staatsoper for his opera Faustus the last Night. New projects are being commissioned by La Scala (Milan) and the Aix-en-Provence Festival. A new version of Faustus will be produced by the Spoleto Festival and the Lincoln Center Festival in New York to be presented during the 2007-08 season.

These and many other projects (like To be Sung, a chamber opera conceived in collaboration with visual artist James Turrell and which has toured all over Europe and was presented in New York in 2003) show that Dusapin's music appeal to a much wider audience than usually expected for contemporary music. This is because of the composer's unique style of writing, one which is at that same time complex and yet immediately understandable. Dusapin has an excellent sense of color and texture and manages to create dramatic tension as well in his shorter chamber works as in his large-scale operas and orchestral works. Even within these last works, he keeps a voice for individual soloists, and this is due to the relation of friendship and mutual respect he creates with the performers of his music.

He is a very open minded character, and his music draws from very different influences, within the classical Western tradition as well as outside of it, through his interest for jazz, contemporary art (he's himself an amateur photographer), architecture and contemporary literature. He provides a bridge between various strands of creativity in modern musical and visual arts and has an ability to learn from and synthesize many different traditions. His strong musical craftsmanship and this cultural diversity certainly explain why his music finds its place within a larger cultural context in various places of the world.

There is also a lot of generosity in his attitude and he is well known for his accessibility to young composers where he genuinely wishes to share his experience especially in the field of orchestral writing as shown by his visionary project of an international academy for orchestral composition, that would enable young composers from the whole world, to gain invaluable practical orchestral skills, and to hear their first orchestral compositions performed and analyzed by experts. Being a member of the Bayerische Akademie Schönen Künste in Munich and a professor at the prestigious College de France in Paris, Dusapin witnesses the fact that contemporary music is not meant to remain within closed circles, but can truly link itself to the "wide world" and help us to understand it.

The 2007 Dan David Prize honors Pascal Dusapin in the field of Contemporary Music, for his significant contributions in this field.