How exciting! Not only does Sarasota County's Hermitage Artist Retreat work with world class artists but now it is also affiliating with world class organizations like the Aspen Music Festival and School. The two have just announced their partnership in creating and awarding the first recipient of the Hermitage Prize, an annual gift of an artist residency and stipend that will be awarded to an Aspen Music School composition student during the prestigious two-month Music Festival. The first Prize winner is Patrick Harlin, who is presently pursuing his DMA from the University of Michigan. The Prize was presented at the Aspen Music Festival's first Composition Studies AACA Composer Showcase on Sunday, August 11th in Harris Concert Hall. Making the announcement were the Festival and School's Music Director Robert Spano, President and CEO Alan Fletcher and Bruce E. Rodgers, executive director of the Hermitage.
Patrick Harlin grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He holds degrees from Western Washington University and the University of Michigan, and he is currently a doctoral candidate at Michigan. Last spring he won the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Presser Award from the Theodore Presser Foundation. His work Rapture will be performed in September by the St. Louis Symphony under Stéphane Denève.
"It is a great pleasure to present the Hermitage Prize," commented Spano. "I have spent time at the Retreat and in a very short time, produced more work than I've been able to do in the past 22 years. We're very pleased to be able to add this generous gift of time and space to an up and coming young composer."
Spano became aware of the Hermitage Artist Retreat when he was invited to be the keynote speaker for the 2012 Greenfield Prize, awarded in music that year to Vijay Iyer. Spano became a fellow of the Hermitage in the fall of 2012 and during that time, along with Hermitage Executive Director Bruce Rodgers, saw an opportunity for Aspen and the Hermitage to collaborate. The Aspen Music Festival and School went on to create a new prize in composition to be called the Hermitage Prize.
"This Prize is important for several reasons," explained Bruce E. Rodgers, Executive Director of the Hermitage. "First, it gives an up and coming American composer the gift of time and space to work on their art apart from the everyday world and its constant interruptions and distractions. Secondly, it allows the student to meet and interact with mid-career artists who have already found success in their artistic endeavors. Thirdly it is an affirmation that their work is already being recognized by some of the most important professionals in music today."
Harlin was selected by a panel of six prestigious composers, including Spano and Fletcher. The others were composers-in-residence at this year's Festival and School: John Corigliano, John Harbison, Steven Stucky and George Tsontakis.
“Based on the quality of their work, many of our composition students were eligible candidates for this first Hermitage Prize,” continued Alan Fletcher. “It was a very hard decision. However, we selected Patrick based not only on his musical talent, but also on where he is in his career. We felt this was the right time for him to use this gift in a most meaningful way.”