UND Music Chair Is Northern Valley Arts Council’s Artist Of The Year

Michael Wittgraf, chair of the University of North Dakota Department of Music, will be

Michael Wittgraf
Michael Wittgraf

 honored Tuesday evening when he receives the Northern Valley Arts Council (NOVAC) Artist of the Year Award.

The award recognizes extraordinary artistic achievement with a gift of $1,000, underwritten by the Grand Forks Herald. The 2011 Annual Arts Awards and Art Auction will be held at the Empire Arts Center in downtown Grand Forks beginning at 5:30 p.m.

A professor at UND since 1998, Wittgraf specializes in composition, theory, technology and the bassoon. His musical composition catalog contains more than 50 works and includes music for orchestra, band, choir, chamber ensembles, solo instruments, voice and electronics.

Wittgraf has won many honors, including the University of Minnesota Craig and Janet Swan Sesquicentennial Commissioning Project. His compositions have received special distinction in the United States, Canada, France, Germany and Austria. Many artists – including the Chiara String Quartet, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the National Symphony Orchestra – have commissioned and/or performed his music.

A composer-in-residence for the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra, Wittgraf has performed in bands that have opened for artists such as the Neville Brothers, Molly Hatchet and Kenny G.  Wittgraf is also active in the Grand Forks region as a performer and lecturer. He is a member of the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra and member of the Downtown Horns.

Also being honored at the event is UND alum and artist Madelyn Camrud of Grand Forks, who will receive the Individual Support of the Arts award. She will be recognized for her extraordinary support of area arts and culture. Camrud was instrumental in developing the annual benefit dinner and fall art auction at the North Dakota Museum of Art (NDMOA), and has donated her artwork to the auctions on numerous occasions.

NOVAC initiated the Annual Arts Awards in 2006 to honor those who produce quality art and to show appreciation for community members who support the production of art through volunteerism, financial contributions, the purchase of art, and the attendance of arts events.

The annual NOVAC Arts Awards and Art Auction begins with a hors d’oeuvre and wine hour at 5:30 p.m., accompanied by a silent art auction featuring artwork by some of the region’s top artists. The awards ceremony begins at 6:30 p.m. and will feature performances by area arts organizations, including the North Dakota Ballet Company, Northern Valley Youth Orchestra and UND String Quartet. Admission is $10 at the door.    

Useful links:

Northern Valley Arts Council

UND Department of Music