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Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti

Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music is the latest major accolade for a University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa music lecturer. Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) musician, composer and scholar Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti was named one of two Pulitzer finalists for a composition called “with eyes the color of time.”

recording equipment and people playing violas
Eli Spindel conducts the viola section of the String Orchestra of Brooklyn in the premiere recording of with eyes the color of time, Oktaven Audio, NY. (Photo credit: Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti)

The 32-minute piece is inspired by works in The Contemporary Museum (Honolulu Museum of Art Spalding House) when it first opened in 1988. The Honolulu Museum of Art closed its Spalding House location to the public in 2019. The piece premiered on August 6, 2021, at the Tenri Cultural Institute in New York City by the String Orchestra of Brooklyn.

The composition ​​combines experimental string textures and episodes of melting lyricism. The works of art featured include: George Rickey’s kinetic sculpture Two Open Triangles Up, Gyratory III (1988), Deborah Butterfield’s Nahele (1986), James Seawright’s Mirror XV (1987), Toshiko Takaezu’s moons (a series of sculptures she often referred to by the Hawaiian word, mahina) and David Hockney’s L’Enfant et les sortiléges (originally conceived as a set for the opera by Maurice Ravel of the same name). The title of the entire work, “with eyes the color of time,” comes from a phrase in the Ravel opera.

“I immediately called my collaborators in the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, the audio engineer Ryan Streber, and the head of New Focus Recordings, Dan Lippel to share the news and thank them for their amazing and generous work on the recording of this piece—a big part of what the committee used for evaluating the work. I am so grateful to everyone who made this possible, and it was exciting to be able to share the news with them!” Lanzilotti said. “Being a finalist is a great honor, especially with the wonderful cohort this year: fellow finalist Andy Akiho, and winner Raven Chacon!”

More about Lanzilotti

musical notes on a page
Close up of the “with eyes the color of time” score (Photo credit: Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti)

Lanzilotti is currently a UH Mānoa lecturer in music composition and viola. She is the recipient of several awards, including the 2020 Native Launchpad Artist Award, a National Performance Network Creation Fund Award and 2021 McKnight Visiting Composer Residency.

As a recording artist, Lanzilotti played the viola on albums, including Björk’s Vulnicura Live, Joan Osborne’s Love and Hate, Dai Fujikura’s Chance Monsoon and David Lang’s anatomy theater. She has also published articles in Music & Literature and Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, and written program notes for the London Symphony Orchestra.

The Honolulu native studied at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Yale School of Music and Manhattan School of Music. Lanzilotti was a faculty member at New York University, University of Northern Colorado, Casalmaggiore International Music Festival and Point CounterPoint Music Festival.

sculpture with bars on grassy lawn
Isamu Noguchi’s Sky Gate (Photo credit: Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti)

Lanzilotti’s next concert in Honolulu is on May 26, at noon at the City and County of Honolulu Civic Center. Chamber Music Hawaiʻi will perform the world premiere of her new piece called “Sky Gate,” which honors Isamu Noguchi’s sculpture on the civic center grounds.

Lanzilotti’s work is an example of UH Mānoa’s goals of Becoming a Native Hawaiian Place of Learning (PDF) and Excellence in Research: Advancing the Research and Creative Work Enterprise (PDF), two of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.

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