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Jan. 1992. Radio Guide

Oskar Morawetz' 75th birthday

Oskar Morawetz is one of Canada's leading and most frequently performed composers. His orchestral compositions have been performed in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia by over 120 orchestras, and by such outstanding conductors as Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa, Rafael Kubelik, Kurt Masur, Gunther Herbig and Andrew Davis.

Born in Czecnoslovakia on January 17, 1917, Oskar Morawetz moved to Canada after the Nazi occupation in 1940. He was awarded the Order of Ontario in 1987, the first composer in Canada to receive such an award, and in 1989 he was awarded the Order of Canada for his outstanding achievements and service.

A concert celebrating the composer's birthday features the Orford String Quartet's premiere of the Fourth String Quartet. Two New Hours also presents the new Shauna Rolston recording of the composer's Memorial to Martin Luther King for solo cello, winds and percussion.

Memorial to Martin Luther King was commissioned by Mstislav Rostropovich and first recorded, in 1968, by Zara Nelsova. In 1979, to commemorate the 50th birthday of King, it was broadcast by radio stations in 24 countries. The work is now in the repertoire of 14 world renowned cellists, including Yo-Yo Ma.

Oskar Morawetz' other highly regarded compositions include Piano Concerto, which was awarded first prize by Mehta in a competition sponsored by the Montreal Symphony in 1962, and Sinfonietta for Winds and Percussion which was selected in 1966 for the coveted Critic's Award from among 104 works submitted to the International Competition for Contemporary Music in Cava dei Tirreni, Italy.

Musicologists and critics stress the melodic and rhythmic vitality of his music, sincerity and depth of expression, and his sense of building up powerful, dramatic climaxes.

Mostly Music and other programs are also participating in the composer's birthday celebrations.

Two New Hours
 January 12, 9.05 pm (9.35 NT)
Arts National
 January 17, 8.00 pm (8.30 NT)