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Honorary Fellow award

19 February 2008

Cardiff University has awarded an Honorary Fellowship to one of the world’s major living composers.

Henri Dutilleux received the award at a festival weekend, Discovering Dutilleux, celebrating his music organised by the School of Music in collaboration with BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

In response to the award, Henri Dutilleux said: "When I first heard about this honour, in Paris, I thought it was a dream. I am deeply touched by this distinction from Cardiff University and that my Second Symphony as well as other orchestral and chamber works have been used as cornerstones of this festival. For some years my compositions have been proposed for attention and well-received by British audiences, whose listening force has always impressed me".

The festival explored some of the nonagenarian composer’s most important orchestral and chamber works in a weekend of concerts and talks at the University Concert Hall and St David’s Hall.

Professor Robin Stowell, Head of the School of Music said: "Dutilleux ranks among the greats of French music and this Honorary Fellowship celebrates his international distinction as a composer.

The University’s 125th anniversary year is already a memorable one for the School of Music. We recently awarded the Polish composer Henryk Górecki an Honorary Fellowship and our Distinguished Research Professor in Composition, Judith Weir, was accorded the honour of having one of the BBC's famous January weekends at the Barbican Centre ('Telling the Tale') devoted to her work."

Dr Caroline Rae, a specialist in French music at the School of Music who first met Dutilleux while completing her doctorate said: "This has been a wonderful and groundbreaking collaboration with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. The orchestra’s Senior Producer Tim Thorne must be warmly congratulated on his outstanding initiative in programming music by one of the world’s major living composers. We were also very proud that the French Ambassador, His Excellency Monsieur Gourdault-Montagne, attended the concert in which the Honorary Fellowship was awarded to Maitre Dutilleux."

The School of Music hosted two chamber music concerts at the University Concert Hall and two afternoons of talks and discussion investigating Dutilleux’s music with BBCNOW’s Principal Conductor, Thierry Fischer, as well as leading composers, performers and writers on music who have worked closely with Dutilleux. The events were led by Roger Nichols, one of the UK’s leading specialists on the composer and on French music.

At the centre of the weekend’s events, Thierry Fischer, BBC National Orchestra of Wales’ Principal conductor, and the Orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor Jac van Steen conducted two concerts of Dutilleux’s music alongside works by Debussy, Ravel and Bartók with American soprano Claron McFadden, Welsh baritone Jeremy Huw Williams and French cellist Gautier Capuçon among the soloists. The orchestral and chamber concerts of the Discovering Dutilleux Festival will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in March.