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Jan. 9, 1992. The Canadian Jewish News
Reprinted with permission

CBC radio to celebrate Morawetz's 75th birthday

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) will celebrate Canadian composer Oskar Morawetz's 75 birthday with a series of special radio programs of his memorial to Martin Luther King beginning on Jan. 17.

On Sunday, Jan. 12, from 9:05 p.m. to 11 p.m., Richard Paul will host a gentle roast, with people who have known Morawetz. Music by Oskar Morawetz the Canadian composer will include the world premiere of his fifth string quartet, Tribute to W.A. Mozart, based on the Mozart Requiem. The piece was recorded by the now disbanded Orford String Quartet, during Toronto's 1991 Glory of Mozart festival.

On Friday, Jan. 17, Morawetz's actual birthday, Terry Campbell will present the full Glory of Mozart concert with the Orford String Quartet and violist Steven Dann. The Tribute to Mozart is complemented by two Mozart works - String Quartet in D, K 575 and String Quintet in C, K. 515. The program will start at 8 p.m. and run two hours.

On Jan. 27 Franz-Paul Decker will conduct the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Morawetz's Sinfonietta for Strings and on Jan. 28, Greg Tintnr [sic] leads Symphony Nova Scotia in Memorial to Martin Luther King, with new principal cellist Norman Adams as soloist. Both will appear on Mostly Music from 9:05p.m. to 11 p.m.

On Sunday, Feb. 9, from 11:05 a.m. to 1 p.m. on CBC Stereo and 8:05 p.m. on CBC Radio, host Judy Piercey will replay the concert heard Jan. 27 on Mostly Music.

Morawetz, born in Czechoslovakia on Jan. 17, 1917, moved to Canada after the Nazi occupation of his country in 1940. Since that time he has established himself as one of Canada's leading and most frequently perfonned composers. His orchestral compositions have been programmed in North and South America, Europe, Australia and Asia by over 120 orchestras.

Among his best known compositions are Piano Concerto, which was awarded first prize by conductor Zubin Mehta in a competition sponsored by the Montreal Symphony in 1962, and Memorial to Martin Luther King and from the Diary of Anne Frank.

Morawetz's style absorbs, in his own distinctly personal way, several trends of the 20th century, but he was never attracted to serial music or the latest avant-garde styles such as chance or electronic music.

In 1987 Morawetz was the first composer in Canada to receive the Order of Ontario honoring citizens "who have demonstrated excellence and achievement of the highest degree and distinction."

In 1989 he was awarded the Order of Canada by the Governor General for his "outstanding achievements and service."