World-bestriding composer and conductor HK (Nali) Gruber goes from one triumph to the next. Fresh from the world premiere of his Piano Concerto with soloist Emanuel Ax and the New York Philharmonic in January, he has received, along with friend and fellow composer Kurt Schwertsik, the Goldenes Ehrenzeichen für Verdienste um das Land Wien, one of the highest honors awarded by the State of Vienna. Cultural Commissioner Andreas Mailath-Pokorny, who presented Gruber’s award (see photo at right), called them “two giants of contemporary music” and noted their “readiness to transgress boundaries and break free of confining categories.”
Composer Christian Muthspiel gave the keynote address in Gruber’s honor. He lauded Gruber’s dedication to communication through music: “communication with the ears, minds, and hearts of his global audience through composing, singing, conducting, interpreting . . . persistently, passionately, and truthfully.” Gruber, like Weill before him, frequently incorporates words into his compositions, though Muthspiel cautioned that Gruber does not “set” texts. Rather, as Gruber himself puts it, he “simply clothes” the words in music.
The Foundation has a close and longstanding connection with Gruber, who has enriched the discography with several essential recordings and exposed concert and theater audiences the world over to authoritative interpretations of Weill’s music. We join his colleagues, friends, and admirers in congratulating him on this latest honor and anticipating the further honors that are bound to come!