Annual Prize Founded in 2022 in Partnership With Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and Villa Albertine
Inaugural Pisar Prizewinner Alex Nante’s A Subtle Chain (Five songs After Ralph Waldo Emerson) to Premiere at Théâtre des Champs-Elysées on April 30, 2024
NEW YORK, February 7, 2024––The second annual Pisar Prize in composition has been awarded to Juilliard alumnus Christian-Frédéric Bloquert, a Paris native who is also a conductor and music educator. As winner of the 2023 Pisar Prize, Bloquert will receive an award of 10,000 euros and a multiweek residency at Juilliard to create a new piece that will premiere in Paris and New York in 2025. The Pisar Prize was initiated in 2022 by Juilliard, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, and Villa Albertine, and seeks to strengthen the cultural ties between France and the United States by commissioning and premiering a work by a young contemporary composer each year.
“The Pisar Prize represents what Juilliard can do to share its music with audiences through active collaborations”, said David Serkin Ludwig, dean and director of Juilliard’s Music Division. “It is always meaningful for composers to have recognition and performances, but that this is an international award with top-level performances makes the Pisar all the more impactful. We are grateful to Judith Pisar for her vision of bringing two cultures together through art as well as the opportunity for our students to work with extraordinary living composers.”
As part of Bloquert’s residency in New York, his new composition will be workshopped by Juilliard’s AXIOM Ensemble, led by Jeffrey Milarsky, in April 2024. Bloquert said the 10- to 15-minute piece is inspired by themes of memories, the nature of time itself, and the way both define us, as found in Marcel Proust’s seminal work À la recherche du temps perdu. The piece is intended to exist in two versions: an early version for small ensemble—to be read by AXIOM in April—and a version scored for full orchestra to be premiered in Paris at a later date.
“The aim of the Pisar Prize is to build bridges between the United States and France, and my goal is to be true to that mission,” Bloquert said. “I’ve elected to compose a work in reference to Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu that focuses on the concept of time and memory, and how the perception of both is affected by where we are. Conceived in New York, what better bridge is there than for the piece to be recalled in Paris since one of the best ways to create connection is to share memories? Receiving the Pisar Prize is a genuine honor!”
The inaugural Pisar Prize was awarded to Argentinean composer Alex Nante in 2022. He received a score reading in 2023 by Juilliard’s AXIOM Ensemble, conducted by Jeffrey Milarsky. His orchestral work will be premiered on April 30, 2024, at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris by orchestra Les Siècles conducted by François-Xavier Roth.
“This prize is designed to foster international artistic exchange and open bright horizons for young composers. It will offer them a chance to travel, discover, create and have their work realized and performed. It is my hope that this will help strengthen cultural bridges across the Atlantic,” Pisar said. “It is in gratitude to my mentors, John Cage and Merce Cunningham, who taught me that, with an open outlook, possibilities become infinite. The fact that it is under the joint aegis of three great cultural institutions—Juilliard, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, and Villa Albertine—makes it even more meaningful.”
Created at the initiative of Judith Pisar, this Franco-American prize aims to support contemporary music and young composers through the commission of a new work. In addition to receiving support for the residency and the premiere of the work, the recipient receives 10,000 euros. More information here.
About Christian-Frédéric Bloquert
Christian-Frédéric Bloquert is a composer, conductor, and music educator. Born in Paris, he grew up in France, the Dominican Republic, the U.K., and Australia. He attended Berklee College of Music, earning a Bachelor of Music with a double major in composition and film scoring, and a minor in conducting, and received his master’s degree at Juilliard in 2022.
Bloquert has received numerous accolades, including the Contemporary Symphony Orchestra Composition Competition and the John Bavicchi Memorial Prize for Outstanding Composition Achievement at Berklee, and he remains the only student to have won the latter for two consecutive years. Bloquert was awarded the ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composers Award in 2022, and the Juilliard Orchestra Composition Competition in 2021. Most recently he was a recipient of a 2023 BMI Composers Award. Bloquert has received commissions from the Ensemble InterContemporain, the Théàtre du Châtelet in Paris, and the New York City Ballet Choreographic Institute. In 2022, he was selected as a Blueprint Fellow in partnership with National Sawdust, which resulted in the premiere of one his new works. As a conductor, Bloquet co-founded the New York City based BeComEnsemble, a group focused on providing a platform for early- career composers and performers, and he frequently conducts other orchestras in the New York area.
About Alex Nante
Alex Nante’s oeuvre is characterized by a nocturnal and dreamlike atmosphere that opens the door to a spiritual world.
Born in Buenos Aires in 1992, Nante has studied with George Benjamin, Peter Eötvös, and Stefano Gervasoni, earning a doctorate from King’s College London and degrees from the Conservatoire de Paris and the National University of the Arts of Argentina.
Established in concert halls throughout the world, Nante has had his orchestral compositions performed by Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Kent Nagano and the Haydn Orchestra of Bolzano and Trento. His residency at the Orchestre National de Lille (2021-23) led to the premiere of his Sinfonía del cuerpo de luz, his piano concerto Luz de lejos, and his Symphony No. 2 (“Mystérion”).
Nante has received awards includingthe Daegu Contemporary Competition, Guillermo Graetzer, Île de Créations, Premio Nacional, and the second prize in the Basel Composition Competition.
About The Juilliard School
Founded in 1905, The Juilliard School is a world leader in performing arts education. The school’s mission is to provide the highest caliber of artistic education for gifted musicians, dancers, and actors, composers, choreographers, and playwrights from around the world so that they may achieve their fullest potential as artists, leaders, and global citizens. Led by President Damian Woetzel since 2018, Juilliard is guided in all its work by the core values of excellence; creativity; and equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging (EDIB). Juilliard is committed to enrolling the most talented students regardless of their financial background.
Located at Lincoln Center in New York City, Juilliard offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in dance, drama (acting and playwriting), and music (classical, jazz, historical performance, and vocal arts). Currently more than 800 artists from 43 states and 44 countries and regions are enrolled in Juilliard’s College Division, where they appear in more than 700 annual performances in the school’s five theaters; at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully and David Geffen halls and at Carnegie Hall; as well as at other venues around New York City, the country, and the world. The continuum of learning at Juilliard also includes nearly 400 students from elementary through high school enrolled in the Preparatory Division, including its Music Advancement Program (MAP), which serves students from diverse backgrounds often underrepresented in the classical music field. More than 800 students are enrolled in Juilliard Extension, the flagship continuing education program taught both in person and remotely by a dedicated faculty of performers, creators, and scholars. Beyond its New York campus, Juilliard is defining new directions in performing arts education for a range of learners and enthusiasts through a global K-12 educational curricula as well as pre-college and graduate studies at The Tianjin Juilliard School in China.
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Villa Albertine, Dylan Hadida:
Photos by © Christian-Frédéric Bloquert