Aleksandra Vrebalov's Musical Tapestry: 'Missa Supratext' Clinches $100,000 Grawemeyer Award for Uniting Cultures and Harmonizing the Human Experience
December 6, 2023

Aleksandra Vrebalov is set to receive a monetary award of $100,000 for her composition "Missa Supratext," a musical piece designed for a girls' choir and string quartet.

The Grawemeyer Awards at the University of Louisville have been recognizing outstanding achievements since 1984, presenting annual prizes in areas such as music, political science, psychology, education, and religion. The composition award, valued at $100,000, is bestowed upon a significant work that premiered within the five years leading up to the award's deadline.

Originally from Serbia, Vrebalov immigrated to the United States in 1995. With over 90 compositions in her portfolio, she has been commissioned by more than 25 organizations, including prestigious entities like the English National Ballet and Carnegie Hall.

The 2024 recipient's winning piece, "Missa Supratext," is scored for a string quartet and girls' chorus. It features a text composed of invented words, aiming to convey a broader perspective on "planetary interconnectedness."

The Kronos Quartet has been a notable advocate of Vrebalov's music, premiering 15 of her works since 1997.

Matthew Ertz, the director of the music award, expressed that Vrebalov's music has a transformative effect on the listener. He highlighted the universality of human expression in her winning piece, emphasizing its ability to transcend language, style, and tradition. Vrebalov's compositions amalgamate diverse harmonies, rhythms, styles, and improvisations, reflecting her dedication to music and the uniqueness of all things.

Regarding "Missa Supratext," Vrebalov clarified that it is not affiliated with any particular religion. The creative force driving all life, according to her, transcends cultural, linguistic, and religious boundaries. The piece employs fabricated words without inherent meaning, moving beyond verbal narratives to illustrate the interconnectedness of all life on our planet.

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