Eric Funk receives special citation in American Prize for Composition
By Carol Schmidt, MSU News Service
APRIL 27, 2018
A composition by Montana State University music instructor Eric Funk that was inspired by Czech musician Jan Hanus has received a special citation in the prestigious American Prize in Composition.
Funk’s “Variations on a Theme by Jan Hanus, Op. 127” received a special judges’ citation for the Best Concerto/Concerted Work of the Year in the professional orchestra division. The American Prize is a series of nonprofit competitions that recognizes and rewards the best performing artists, ensembles and composers in the United States based on submitted recordings.
Eric Funk received a special judges’ citation for the Best Concerto/Concerted Work of the Year in the professional orchestra division from the American Prize for his composition “Variations on a Theme by Jan Hanus, Op. 127.” Funk is an instructor in the MSU School of Music and the host of the award-winning “11th & Grant with Eric Funk” on Montana PBS. Photo by Rick Smith courtesy of Montana PBS..
Funk said his award-winning composition was inspired by a trip to Hungary several years ago to hear and film Hungarian violin virtuoso Vilmos Olah perform Funk’s composition “The Violin Alone,” which Funk wrote specifically for Olah. The Montana PBS special, “The Violin Alone” that was largely filmed during that overseas trip is currently nominated in the regional Emmy competition in several categories.
Funk said that while he was at Olah’s concert in Budapest he met Jan Hanus’ daughter, Daniela Pokorna. She asked Funk to compose a new piece that would be played at a celebration honoring her father’s life in music. Funk was familiar with Hanus from his time as conductor of the Helena Symphony, where he programmed an all-Czech music concert that included a work by Hanus.
“I have had a long relationship with Czech composers,” said Funk, who has studied with Czech-born composer Tomas Svoboda, who introduced Funk to a host of Czech composers, as well as Hungarian composer Sandor Veress and Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki.
The American Prize judges noted that Funk has had a “considerable compositional output” that includes nine symphonies, four operas, six ballet scores, three large works for chorus and orchestra, 17 concertos, several orchestral tone poems and numerous works for chamber ensembles, solo instruments and vocal works, of which one-third were commissioned.
Funk said he was deeply honored at receiving the American Prize special citation as the best concerto of the year.
“I didn’t think I had a hope, so I was pumped when I heard,” Funk said.
Eric Funk 406-994-1973, firstname.lastname@example.org