Piet Swerts
composer | Belgium, °1960
 
COMPOSITION 1993 : First Prize
Piet Swerts is a Belgian composer, conductor and pianist of international acclaim. His large catalogue includes stage, orchestral, chamber, choral, vocal, and piano works.

He studied from 1974-89 at the Lemmensinstitute in Leuven, where he obtained ten first prizes, and also, for the first time in the history of the same institute, the special Prize Lemmens Tinel for composition and piano with great distinction. Among his teachers were Alan Weiss (USA) and Robert Groslot. Since 1982, he is Professor of Composition, Piano and Analysis at the same institute, currently Faculty of Music, Performing Arts and Education, associated with the University of Leuven, K.U.L.

He has been invited as guestprofessor in the Sweelinck Conservatory, Amsterdam, Netherlands, in the Department of Electronic Music at the University of Huddersfield, GB, the Polytechnic Institut in Castelo Branco, Portugal, in the Polytechnic Institut North Karelia, Conservatory of Joensuu, Finland, and the Conservatory of Barcelona, Spain, as well as the Pietro Mascagni Institute of Livorno, Italy.

As a composer, he has received more than ten awards, including the Baron Flor Peeters Prize (1983) for Apocalyps I and the Prize of the Belgian Artistic Promotion (1985) for the song Ardennes. He has also received the SABAM Prize (1986) for Piano Concerto No. 2 (Rotations), which was chosen as a compulsory concerto during the finals of the Queen Elisabeth Competition later that year. His other awards include the Camille Huysmans Composition Prize (1986) for Dreampictures and the Prize for Composition of the Province Limburg (1986) for Capriccio.

In addition, he has received the Silver Trophy of the Cultural Youth Passport Belgium-Netherlands (1988) as a promising young artist, the Prize of the Gazet van Antwerpen (newspaper) (1989) for Symphony No. 1 and the Prize for Composition of the Province Brabant (1993) for a choral work and for Antifona (2007).

As a composer, he considers himself an autodidactic. Nevertheless, in summer 1981, he participated in a composition workshop with Witold Lutoslawski and Vladimir Kotonsky in Poland. From 1985 untill 2005, he became also conductor of the Ensemble for Contemporary Music at the Institute and since that time, he has mostly worked off the base of commissions.

Among commissioners were the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Flanders, the Symphony Orchestra of Flanders, the Opera of Antwerp, the Radio Orchestra, European Brassband Championships, l'Orchestre de Strassbourg, Rubio String quartet, Gaggini Quartet, Flanders recorder Quartet, the Queen Elisabeth Competition, Nobuya Sugawa and many others. His catalogue has almost reached almost the number of 200 compositions now.

In 1993, his violin concerto Zodiac was selected out of 154 works from 28 countries as the compulsory concerto for the finals of the Queen Elisabeth Competition for Violin. For this piece, he received the Grand Prix in the Queen Elisabeth Composition Competition, 1993 (the first Belgian composer to win the prize).
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