Dr. Michael Wittgraf Awarded NOVAC's Artist of the Year

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News Article

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College of Arts & Sciences


The North Valley Arts Council has named Dr. Michael Wittgraf as 2011 artist of the year. The Artist of the Year award recognizes extraordinary artistic achievement with a gift of $1,000, underwritten by the Grand Forks Herald.

Dr. Wittgraf is the Chair of the University of North Dakota’s Department of Music, where he has been a professor since 1998; he specializes in composition, theory, technology and bassoon. Dr. Wittgraf’s musical composition catalog contains over fifty works and includes music for orchestra, band, choir, chamber ensembles, solo instruments, voice and electronics. Dr. Wittgraf has won many honors, including the University of Minnesota Craig and Janet Swan Sesquicentennial Commissioning Project, and 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. He has been composer-in-residence for the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra and has performed in bands that have opened for artists like the Neville Brothers, Molly Hatchet and Kenny G. Dr. 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 local favorite performing group, the Downtown Horns.

The North Valley Arts Council initiated the Annual Arts Awards in 2006 to honor individuals who most actively produce quality art and to show appreciation for members of the community who support the production of art through volunteerism, financial contributions, purchase of art, and attendance at arts events.

The 2011 Annual Arts Awards and Art Auction will take place on Tuesday, September 13th at the Empire Arts Center. Hor d'eurves and Wine Hour starts at 5:30pm, accompanied by a Silent Art Auction featuring affordable artwork by some of the region's most talented artists. The Awards Ceremony begins at 6:30pm and features performances by area arts organizations, including the North Dakota Ballet Company, Northern Valley Youth Orchestra, and University of North Dakota String Quartet.Admission is $10 at the door. Advance reservations are not required.