The Cintas Foundation will present the 2009 William B. Warren Lifetime Achievement Award in Music Composition to Cuban composer Aurelio de la Vega. The award is named after Cintas Foundation Chairman William B. Warren, who has led the foundation for the last 20 years as its second president.
Aurelio de la Vega was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1925 and studied at the University of Havana (Ph.D. in Law), at the Conservatorio Ada Iglesias (Ph.D., Music Composition) and, independently, with Fritz Kramer (Havana) and Ernst Toch (Los Angeles). De la Vega settled in California in 1959 and became distinguished professor of Music and the director of the Electronic Music Studio at California State University, Northridge. His vast catalogue of works encompasses compositions in all media except opera. He has been very influential in the U.S. musical scene, promoting the contemporary classical music of Latin America.
Throughout his teaching years and in the years since his retirement, de la Vega has been an active composer as well as a lecturer in the field of music. His list of compositions includes symphonic pieces, chamber music works, solo instrumental pieces, vocal works, piano, guitar and ballet music and electronic compositions. Major orchestras and prominent soloists throughout the world have performed his works. The composer has been the recipient of many prizes and distinctions, including the Friedheim Award of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, which he has received twice. In 2000, de la Vega was honored by the Library of Congress when his graphic score, “The Magic Labyrinth,” was included in the library’s 733-page volume, “Music History from Primary Sources.” Among the music greats included with him were Bartók, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Gershwin, Handel, Liszt, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Puccini, Stravinsky and Verdi.
“As one of the best known Cuban composers of his generation, Aurelio de la Vega offers a dramatic, intense and expressive musical style,” said Hortensia E. Sampedro, president of the Cintas Foundation, in announcing the award. “We are pleased to recognize the Maestro for a career that spans more than 50 years and includes recognition from around the world and most recently a nomination for a Latin Grammy for Best Classical Contemporary Composition for his piece Variación del Recuerdo (Variations of a Memory)”.
The award will be presented tonight at a ceremony at the Frost Art Museum of Florida International University on May 20, 2009 at 7:00 pm. The public is invited.
Click here to listen to a sample of his brilliant work.