The National Arts Centre has awarded grants to three prominent Canadian contemporary composers to produce new music works to be performed by the NAC Orchestra over the next five years.

Yesterday, John Estacio, Peter Paul Koprowski, and Ana Sokolovic each received music commissions and residencies valued at $75,000 to each create three new music works and to teach students at the NAC’s annual Summer Music Institute.

“As Canada’s national performing arts centre, we believe that it’s important for us to take a leading role in championing Canadian talent,” said NAC president and CEO Peter Herrndorf.

Over the last 40 years, the NAC has commissioned 82 Canadian works that have toured the world.

“We see this as nation building through the arts,” said Herrndorf. “Through their imaginative work, our talented creators give voice to this country’s epic story and celebrates the spirit of its people.”

Polish-born Peter Paul Koprowski divides his time between European and North American engagements as a composer and conductor.

“I think of myself as a mid-career composer and I certainly hope the best works are still to be written,” he said. “This is a great opportunity and I am grateful to have it.”

Serbian-born Montreal resident Ana Sokolovic’s repertoire consists of works for soloists, for voice, for orchestra and several pieces of chamber music which have been performed all over the world.

“It’s a great honour and privilege for me to receive this,” said Sokolovic.

A composer-in-residence for the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, the Calgary Philharmonic, the Calgary Opera, and Pro Coro Canada, John Estacio is currently finishing his third opera, Lillian Alling, to be premiered by Vancouver Opera in 2010.

“This is one of those opportunities a musician would be mad not to seize,” he said in a statement.

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