A winner of the 1969 Pulitzer Prize in Music and the 1993 UofL Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition, Husa has had a longstanding relationship with the university.
Christopher Doane, dean of the School of Music, presented the award at a noon luncheon in Husa’s honor at the 18 Seaboard restaurant.
“Husa’s music, teaching and conducting has been imprinted on generations of musicians throughout the United States and the world,” Doane said. “He is an international music treasure.”
A native of Czechoslovakia, Husa immigrated to the U.S. in 1954 and has been active as an orchestral conductor, composer and academic with Cornell University and Ithaca College in New York. Husa’s works have included commissions to write for many of the world’s major orchestras and are among the most performed music compositions of the late 20th-century.
“Our celebration honors the close relationship between Husa and the university,” Doane said.
Husa’s ballet “The Trojan Women” was commissioned for the 1980 opening of the School of Music building on the university’s Belknap Campus and, more recently, he wrote “Cheetah,” which was performed by the University of Louisville Wind Symphony at Carnegie Hall in honor of the school’s 75th anniversary in 2007.
The school has also released “Music of Life – Orchestral Masterworks of Karel Husa,” a CD of Husa’s music featuring the works of faculty and students that include the only commercial recording of the “Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra,” a composition for which he was awarded the Grawemeyer Award.
The UofL honor adds to Husa’s numerous honorary degrees and recognitions, which include a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation; awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, UNESCO, and the National Endowment for the Arts; Koussevitzky Foundation commissions; the Czech Academy for the Arts and Sciences Prize; the Czech Medal of Merit, First Class, from President Vaclav Havel; and the Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund Award.
Now 90, Husa lives in Apex, NC, near Raleigh.