Arvo Part, Athol Fugard among recipients of Praemium Imperiale awards

The popular Estonian composer Arvo Pärt and the South African playwright Athol Fugard are among the recipients of the 2014 Praemium Imperiale awards, Japan’s highest honors in the arts. This year’s roster of winners also includes architect Steven Holl, painter Martial Raysse and sculptor Giuseppe Penone.

Organizers of the awards said on Wednesday that the medals will be handed out in a ceremony in Tokyo on Oct. 15. Japan’s Prince Hitachi, who is the brother of Emperor Akihito, is scheduled to be a presenter at the ceremony.

Each laureate receives an honorarium of 15 million yen ($147,500), as well as a diploma and medal.

Pärt is a composer whose contemplative music has been widely performed by ensembles around the world. The composer came to Los Angeles in 2009 to present a new symphony with the L.A. Philharmonic.

Often labeled a mystic by critics and fans, Pärt has often lent his music to movie soundtracks, imparting an air of spirituality and gravitas to select films by Terrence Malick, Gus Van Sant and Paul Thomas Anderson.


The American architect Holl has also been called a mystic, particularly for his work on the
Chapel of Saint Ignatius in Seattle. The architect, whose practice is in New York, has worked on museums, private residences and other structures around the world.

Fugard’s plays often deal with the turbulent history of his native South Africa, with his most notable plays being “Master Harold... and the Boys” and “The Road to Mecca.” The prolific dramatist has taught at the University of California, San Diego, and received an honorary Tony Award in 2011.

Last year’s winners included Plácido Domingo, Francis Ford Coppola, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Antony Gormley and David Chipperfield.

Twitter: @DavidNgLAT