Henri Lazarof Living Legacy

Fourth Annual Henri Lazarof International Commission Prize

A portrait of composer Njabulo Phungula

Njabulo Phungula: Winner of the Fourth 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. 

Njabulo Phungula Wins Henri Lazarof International Commission Prize

A panel of judges has selected composer Njabulo Phungula as the winner of the Henri Lazarof International Commission Prize. Now in its fourth year, the prize is awarded by Brandeis University and honors the late classical composer Henri Lazarof, MFA’59. Phungula's commissioned work will receive a world premiere at Brandeis University's Slosberg Recital Hall on Sunday, May 5, 2024.

 Njabulo Phungula (b. 1993) is a composer from Durban, South Africa. His music - often influenced by literature, film, and visual arts - continually seeks to deconstruct his own understanding of form, gesture, text, and texture.

His works have been performed in South Africa, Germany, the USA, and UK, by performers such as ensemble recherche, KOMPASS Ensemble, the JACK Quartet, Stephanie Lamprea, Midori Samson, and Naomi Sullivan, among others. He has received commissions and grants from NewMusicSA, the New Music Forum at Stellenbosch, JACK Studio, the Goethe-Institut, impuls, Thompson Street Opera Company, and the Negaunee Music Institute at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and his works have been featured at the Unyazi Music Festival: Infrastructures in 2016, and at the SASRIM Composers’ Meeting in 2018.

He was a JACK Studio Artist from 2020-2022 and a Postolconial Recherche Fellow with ensemble recherche and the Goethe-Institut from 2021-2022.

He holds a BA Hons degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal where he studied composition under the supervision of Jürgen Bräuninger, and later with Clare Loveday.

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]