GVSU ArtPrize entry wins Critics' Choice Award

A collaborative ArtPrize entry between Grand Valley and the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra (GRSO) hit a high note with critics leading to an award for the piece.

“Mathias Alten Triptych,” a three-movement composition honoring paintings by late artist Mathias Alten, received a Critics’ Choice Award during the St. Cecilia Music Center’s ArtPrize 7 Music Awards Ceremony October 15. The piece, commissioned by the GRSO, was hosted at the music center among 78 other musical entrants.

Composers Bill Ryan, director of Grand Valley’s New Music Ensemble; Jeremy Crosmer, GRSO assistant principle cellist; and Alexander Miller, GRSO assistant principal oboe, each chose a painting by Alten to musically interpret. The three paintings chosen were “The Grand River,” “Approaching Storm” and “Gulls of Leland.”

“I’m honored and excited to have our work chosen and it is especially nice because the musicians from the Grand Rapids Symphony did such a terrific job performing the music,” Ryan said. “The symphony and GVSU have a long history of collaboration, so it was great to work on this project to continue that tradition.”

Grand Valley holds the largest public collection of Alten works in the world, which can be viewed at the George and Barbara Gordon Gallery located in the DeVos Center on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

Alten, a celebrated American regionalist artist, painted more than 2,500 works of art throughout his life. He began as a naturalist scene painter and later transitioned into painting in an impressionistic style before his death in 1938.

For more information, contact Ryan at (616) 331-3087 or [email protected].


Sign up and receive the latest Grand Valley headlines delivered to your email inbox each morning.