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UND composer Michael Wittgraf receives Individual Artist Fellowship

Michael Wittgraf, Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor of Music, was awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship by the North Dakota Council on the Arts.

The Individual Artist Fellowship program recognizes established artists residing in North Dakota with a monetary award, according to the NDCA. Wittgraf and Efrain Amaya, director and conductor of the Minot Symphony Orchestra, each received a $5,000 award in June.

Upon his selection, Wittgraf said he will travel across the state, recording sounds in a variety of locations for use as source audio in creating several musical works. He plans to perform his music in Grand Forks, Griggs County, Nelson County and Medora.

“The sounds from each location will be used in their own sets of musical works, creating a kind of audio signature in the music for each place,” Wittgraf said. “For example, if audio is recorded in the Medora area, then the set of musical works associated with Medora will use only those recordings.”

Wittgraf is a composer whose recent work explores live manipulation of feedback and interactive improvisation. Over the course of his career, he’s worked in many areas of music and sound, from classical to rock. His music has been performed across the world, appearing on multiple labels.

One of his original orchestral works, titled “A Marriage of Seasons,” appeared on Navona Records’ Inviting Worlds: New Works for Large Ensemble Vol. 1, which was released July 22.

Though most of his career in North Dakota has taken an external focus, showcasing music in national and international venues and bringing those experiences back to UND students, Wittgraf expressed a desire to “reverse the process,” he said.

“The time is right to bring the knowledge that I have gained over my career back home, showcasing to our communities what the state has to offer in terms of sound resources,” Wittgraf said.

The Individual Artist Fellowship program is designed to support professional artists with outstanding talent and ability to improve their artistic skills and enhance their career opportunities. Fellowships for Theatre, Dance and Folk/Traditional artists will be awarded in 2023.

For more information on NDCA’s grant programs, please visit NDCA’s Grants at a Glance page or call 701-328-7590.