Veronika Krausas wins tenth annual Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award for Female Composers

- DSO competition is only one of its type among major orchestras

Detroit, (June 26, 2019) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) today announced the winner of the tenth annual Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award for Female Composers: Los Angeles-based Australian-Canadian composer Veronika Krausas.

The Lebenbom Award includes the commission by the DSO of a new orchestral piece to be premiered by the orchestra in an upcoming season, a $10,000 cash prize, and a one-month residency at the Ucross Foundation, an artist’s retreat in northern Wyoming.

“I’m excited to receive the award; being familiar with many of the women who have won in the past, I’m honored to be included in the group,” says Krausas. “I’ve been wanting to write a new symphony piece—orchestras offer such a large palate of instrumental colors to work with. I’m looking forward to visiting Detroit to explore the city and see if my experiences there will inform the composition.”

Krausas has composed works for orchestra, chamber groups, soloists, player pianos, and other configurations, as well as operas and multimedia pieces that blend music with dance, acrobatics, and video. She currently serves on the faculty of the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California.

The Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award, launched in 2006, is the only annual orchestra-sponsored award granted annually to a living female composer of any age or nationality. Krausas was chosen by a jury of DSO musicians and members of the Detroit music community.

See below for more information about the Lebenbom Award, including a list of previous winners.

About Veronika Krausas

Veronika Krausas is a composer based in Los Angeles where she is currently a faculty member in the Composition Department at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California. The Globe & Mail (Toronto) writes “her works, whose organic, lyrical sense of storytelling are supported by a rigid formal elegance, give her audiences a sense that nature's frozen objects are springing to life.”

Krausas was one of six composers involved in the acclaimed mobile opera Hopscotch. Her first opera, The Mortal Thoughts of Lady Macbeth, was premiered at New York City Opera’s VOX festival in 2008, with a full production mounted in Los Angeles in 2010. Her most recent opera is Ghost Opera, which premiered with Calgary Opera at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in May 2019.

Krausas has been commissioned by and collaborated with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Industry, Tanglewood Contemporary Music Festival, Ensemble musikFabrik at the Darmstadt Music Festival, Chicago Architecture Biennial (2016), Piano Spheres for Gloria Cheng, The Vancouver Symphony, ERGO Projects, Esprit Orchestra, Fort Worth Opera, Jacaranda Music, Motion Music, San Francisco Choral Artists, LiederAlive, the Penderecki String Quartet, and others. A composer of great flexibility, she has written music for chamber groups, soloists, player pianos, and multimedia projects blending music, dance, acrobatics, and video.

Krausas studied at the University of Toronto, McGill University, and the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California.

About The Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award

The Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award was inspired by composer, teacher, poet, artist, and lecturer Elaine Lebenbom, a resident of Bloomfield Hills, MI, who died in 2002. Despite her talent as a composer, making a career was diffi­cult for Lebenbom: she faced overt sexism and discrimination in the musical field, often having pieces rejected or rescinded upon orchestras learning she was a woman. But she persisted, ultimately earning praise as both a composer and tireless advocate for women’s representation in the arts.

The Award was created in 2006 to honor Lebenbom’s memory, talent, and activism.

Previous winners of the award include, from first to most recent:

Stacy Garrop

Margaret Brouwer

Cindy McTee

Du Yun

Missy Mazzoli

Wang Jie

Sarah Kirkland Snider

Britta Byström

Juliet Palmer

About the DSO

The most accessible orchestra on the planet, the acclaimed Detroit Symphony Orchestra is known for trailblazing performances, collaborations with the world’s foremost musical artists, and a deep connection to its city. As a community-supported orchestra, generous giving by individuals and institutions at all levels drives the continued success and growth of the institution. Conductor Leonard Slatkin, who recently concluded an acclaimed decade-long tenure at the helm, now serves as the DSO’s Music Director Laureate, endowed by the Kresge Foundation. Celebrated conductor, arranger, and trumpeter Jeff Tyzik is the orchestra’s Principal Pops Conductor, while the outstanding trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard holds the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Jazz Creative Director Chair. Making its home at historic Orchestra Hall within the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center, the DSO offers a performance schedule that features Classical, PNC Pops, Paradise Jazz, and Young People’s Family Concert series. One of America’s most acoustically perfect concert halls, Orchestra Hall will celebrate its centennial in 2019-2020. In addition, the DSO presents the William Davidson Neighborhood Concert Series in seven metro area venues, as well as a robust schedule of eclectic multi-genre performances in its mid-size venue The Cube, constructed and curated with support from Peter D. & Julie F. Cummings. A dedication to broadcast innovation began in 1922, when the DSO became the first orchestra in the world to present a radio broadcast and continues today with the free Live from Orchestra Hall webcast series, which also reaches tens of thousands of children with the Classroom Edition expansion. With growing attendance and unwavering philanthropic support from the people of Detroit, the DSO actively pursues a mission to embrace and inspire individuals, families, and communities through unsurpassed musical experiences.