Current PhD student Baldwin Giang has been nominated for the 2022 Gaudeamus Award for his piece songs after sufjan. Gaudeamus has been awarding this prize to new music pioneers every year since 1957. Giang is one of five nominees for the 2022 Award.
Founded in 1945 by Walter Maas, Gaudeamus Muziekweek has been supporting young composers for over 70 years. The annual Gaudeamus prize was originally open to Dutch composers, but was later opened to composers of any nationality or background. The Gaudeamus Award consists of a commission worth € 5000 that will be performed during the Gaudeamus Muziekweek the following year.
Baldwin Giang (b. 1992, Philadelphia) is a composer, pianist, and multimedia artist whose work aims to empower communities of audiences and performers by creating concert experiences that are opportunities for collective wonder and judgment. Described as "taut and cohesive...challenging and rewarding" (Cacophony), Baldwin’s music has been performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Symphony Center, and Chateau de Fontainebleau. He has received commissions from the National Sawdust Ensemble, New York Youth Symphony, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Fondation Maurice Ravel, Playground Ensemble, Music in Bloom, Yale in Norfolk’s New Music Workshop, and Copland House’s CULTIVATE.
Giang says about the nominated piece "songs after sufjan is, in part, an homage to the singer/songwriter/composer Sufjan Stevens. I found myself most intrigued with how Stevens's lyrics, often intensely lyrical, conflicted, and loaded with symbolism, are usually accompanied by music of simplicity and restraint. I wondered how this ambiguous combination of elements would be transformed if fragmented and cast as purely instrumental music. My piece for piano trio makes use of some of the musical material of Stevens's songs, such as translating their carefully orchestrated pop production into dreamy microtonal harmony and extended techniques, as a means to evoke both the intimacy and delicate affect of Stevens's sound worlds. Furthermore the ghosts of Stevens's lyrics, when re-contextualized against my own music, serve as a starting point for the unique emotional arc of my own work."