Henri Lazarof Living Legacy

Third Annual Henri Lazarof International Commission Prize

A portrait of composer Yotam Haber

Yotam Haber: Winner of the Third Annual Henri Lazarof International Commission Prize

Henri Lazarof once said, “The world is big enough for all kinds of composers. … I try to always write for new instrumental forces — to search out the limits of the performer and one’s own limits as a composer.” The Henri Lazarof International Commission Prize will provide support to composers attempting to do the same today.

The annual prize is for the composition of an original work for select instruments. The specific instrumentation will change each year to complement an existing work by Henri Lazarof, and the commissioned piece will be performed alongside Lazarof's work. 

Yotam Haber Wins Henri Lazarof International Commission Prize

A panel of judges has selected composer Yotam Haber as the winner of the Henri Lazarof International Commission Prize. Now in its third year, the prize is awarded by Brandeis University and honors the late classical composer Henri Lazarof, MFA’59. Haber's commissioned work will receive a world premiere at Brandeis University's Slosberg Recital Hall on Sunday, May 7, 2023.

His music hailed by New Yorker critic Alex Ross as “deeply haunting,” by the Los Angeles Times as one of five classical musicians "2014 Faces To Watch," and chosen as one of the “30 composers under 40” by Orpheus Chamber Orchestra’s Project 440, Yotam Haber was born in Holland and grew up in Israel, Nigeria, and Milwaukee. He is winner of the 2021 Benjamin Hadley Danks Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the 2020 Azrieli Music Prize, a 2017 Koussevitzky Commission for the Library of Congress, a 2013 Fromm Music Foundation commission, a 2013 NYFA award, the 2007 Rome Prize and a 2005 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. He has received grants and fellowships from Civitella Ranieri, the MAP Fund, New Music USA, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Jerome Foundation, the Bellagio Rockefeller Foundation, Yaddo, Bogliasco, MacDowell, the Hermitage, ASCAP, the Copland House, Aspen Music Festival and Tanglewood.

In 2015, Haber’s first monographic album of chamber music, Torus (Naxos), was hailed by New York’s WQXR as "a snapshot of a soul in flux – moving from life to the afterlife, from Israel to New Orleans – a composer looking for a sound and finding something powerful along the way."

Recent commissions include works for PRISM Quartet, Talea Ensemble, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Argento New Music Project, Kronos Quartet and Carnegie Hall, Pritzker Prize-winning architect Peter Zumthor; an evening-length oratorio for the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, CalARTS@REDCAT/Disney Hall (Los Angeles); New York-based Contemporaneous, Gabriel Kahane, and Alarm Will Sound; the 2015 New York Philharmonic CONTACT! Series; the Venice Biennale; Bang on a Can Summer Festival; Neuvocalsolisten Stuttgart and ensemble l’arsenale; FLUX Quartet, JACK Quartet, Cantori New York, the Tel Aviv-based Meitar Ensemble, the Israeli Chamber Players, and the Berlin-based Quartet New Generation.

Recent major projects include New Water Music, an interactive work (2017) for the Louisiana Philharmonic and community musicians performed from boats and barges along the waterways of New Orleans; They Say You Are My Disaster (Koussevitzky Commission for the Library of Congress, 2019) for voice and ensemble to be premiered by Collide-O-Scope and Argento Ensembles in 2021; and Estro Poetico-armonico III (2020) for mezzo-soprano, electronics, and sinfonietta for Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne.

Haber is Associate Professor of Composition at UMKC Conservatory, and Artistic Director Emeritus of MATA, the non-profit organization founded by Philip Glass that has, since 1996, been dedicated to commissioning and presenting new works by young composers from around the world. His music is published by RAI Trade.

Listen to the Henri Lazarof Living Legacy on Brandeis radio!

Henri Lazarof at his piano

If you missed the Sunday, March 14 episode of Brandeis Concert Series REMIX on Brandeis' WBRS 100.1 FM, which featured a tribute to Henri Lazarof as well as a showcase of inaugural commission prizewinner Yair Klartag, you can listen to the full episode here[Audio Transcript available here]