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Kudos to two very different musicians

Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - 01:32 PM

Congratulations to Kevin Puts and to DJ Eddie Marz, for winning two very different prizes.  The Pulitzer Prize for Music went to Kevin Puts yesterday, for his opera “Silent Night,” inspired by the true story of an impromptu truce on Christmas Eve, 1914, during World War I. 

I had a chance to watch some of the opera last month during an arts funding panel I was chairing in Philly, and the entire panel was struck by the score.  (The request for funding, from the Opera Company of Philadelphia, to produce “Silent Night” next season, was enthusiastically approved.) It strikes me as a very deserving winner.  The other finalists, by the way, were Tod Machover’s electronic opera "Death and the Powers," and Andrew Norman’s "The Companion Guide to Rome."

The Pulitzer is of course a big deal.  But DJ Eddie Marz did okay for himself in a much smaller setting – he was announced today as the winner in the Brooklyn Philharmonic’s “Beethoven Remix” project.  As Brooklyn Phil director Alan Pierson told us on Soundcheck when the project started, the idea was to offer DJs and producers a chance to remix Beethoven’s Symphony #3, the groundbreaking “Eroica” Symphony - but they had to use the actual orchestral sounds.  The reason for the limitation was quickly made clear: the winning remix would then be orchestrated – by none other than Andrew Norman, one of the Pulitzer finalists – and played live by the Brooklyn Phil. 

Marz’s remix is largely built upon two fragments of the Beethoven piece, which he inventively layers on top of his own beats.  Check the listener comments on the page where we first covered the contest and you’ll see several people mentioning his remix in particular.  Marz’s remix will be performed live by the Brooklyn Phil as part of its season finale Bed-Stuy Orchestra Concert on June 9, 2012, which also features hip-hop legend Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) and a tribute to Bed-Stuy native Lena Horne.

You can hear the winning remix (and the other finalists) here.

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