Edition Peters is delighted to join the American Academy of Arts and Letters in celebrating the music of composer Shawn E. Okpebholo, who has been named by the Academy
as the 2021 laureate of the Walter Hinrichsen Award for music.
A resident of Wheaton, Illinois, where he teaches as Professor of Music Composition and Theory at Wheaton College Conservatory of Music, Okpebholo creates music across a vast range of styles and instrumentations. He has received many awards for his artistry, and his music has been performed worldwide, including by the Fifth House Ensemble, the U.S. Army Field Band, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Most recently, he was selected to receive the 2021–2023 Vanguard Emerging Opera Composer residency from the Chicago Opera Theater, where his aria mishpat • chesed • hatznea received its digital premiere last year. His music has been championed by baritone Will Liverman, who recently recorded Okpebholo's Two Black Churches
to great acclaim, and mezzo-soprano J'nai Bridges, who sings alongside Liverman on the recording of Steal Away,
Okpebholo’s full-length cycle of newly reimagined spirituals.
Evelyn Hinrichsen and the C. F. Peters Corporation—the American office of the global Edition Peters Group—established the Walter Hinrichsen Award in memory of her husband, the founder of C. F. Peters Corp. Together, Evelyn and Walter Hinrichsen helped shape Edition Peters into the home of some of the world's most important and innovative composers.
Says Okpebholo: I am incredibly honored that the Academy of Arts and Letters has awarded me the Walter Hinrichsen Prize. As a composer, to join a two-century-old legacy of groundbreaking artists published by Edition Peters is humbling and exciting! I’m enormously grateful.
Christian Hinrichsen, the grandson of Walter and Evelyn Hinrichsen and shareholder of the Edition Peters Group, comments:I am pleased to extend my congratulations to the latest recipient of the Walter Hinrichsen Award, Shawn Okpebholo. This award was established to honor the achievements of my grandfather's life in music. Each year it offers one composer the opportunity to add a work to the catalogue of great contemporary music. Edition Peters is privileged to provide talented composers like Mr. Okpebholo a publishing platform in this regard, now and in the future.
Adds Kathryn Knight, President of C. F. Peters Corp.: George Crumb, one of the composers Walter and Evelyn brought to Edition Peters, described music as 'a system of proportions in the service of spiritual impulse.' This is certainly true of the music of Shawn Okpebholo, whose elegantly constructed works speak to our human realities as well as to our sacred ideals. For more than two centuries, the Edition Peters colophon has been the mark of a commitment to musical integrity, and this award helps to bear that tradition forward into the next century as well.
This year’s honorees were nominated by the membership of the Academy and selected by a committee including Peters composer George Lewis, his fellow Academy members Robert Beaser, Martin Bresnick, Stephen Hartke, Shulamit Ran, and Julia Wolfe, and committee chairperson Chen Yi.