Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
Award Week at the Kennedy Center, as they called it, finished Sunday night with the selection of the prize winners in symphonic music.
The top winner among the five finalists was one of the country's better known, and more conservative, composers - Vincent Persichetti, His winning composition, among the 54 submitted for the first Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards, was a Concerto for English Horn and String Orchestra.
Persichetti has been one of the country's most eminent composers for many years. He became the chairman of New York's Juilliard School department of composition in 1963.
Beyond its general lyricism, Persichetti's music is characterized in the program book by critic and conductor Hugo Weisgall in this fashion: "He has a phenomenal natural musicality, closely resembling Hindemith's. He can improvise entire sonatas, read the most complex scores at sight, and in the classroom quote musical examples covering the entire range of musical literacy from memory."
The No. 2 winner in the competition was called "Adios" and was by Cuban-American Aurelio de la Vega. It was a melange of dissonance with frequent quotes from the works of Mahler, Richard Strauss and Bruckner. Vega says he wrote it this way because the person who commissioned it was Zubin Mehta, and these three composers are particularly identified with Mehta.
Prize three went to a famous conductor, the Minneapolis Orchestra's Stanislaw Skrowaczewski.
It was Ricercari Notturni for Saxophone and Orchestra, which sounds from the title pretty obtuse but was basically a simple concerto, and full of jazz.
Persichetti's prize was $5,000; Vega's was $2,000; and Skrowaczewski's was $500.
The performances Sunday night were by the Peabody Conservatory Symphony Orchestra, under Frederick Prausnitz And, given the problems involved, they were oustanding.
The judges were: Irving Lowes, who is the music critic on The Star and soon to become dean of Peabody; Elliott W. Galkin, formerly of The Baltimore Sun and now head of Peabody, and Boris Schwarz of Queen's College.