President Bush has awarded classical composer Morten Lauridsen with the National Medal of Arts. His music is published by peermusic.

Lauridsen's music occupies a permanent place in the standard vocal repertoire of the 20th Century. His seven major vocal cycles -- Les Chansons des Roses (Rilke), Mid-Winter Songs (Graves), Cuatro Canciones (Lorca), A Winter Come (Moss), Madrigali: Six "Firesongs" on Renaissance Italian Poems, Nocturnes (Rilke, Neruda and Agee) and Lux Aeterna -- and his series of sacred a cappella motets are featured regularly in concert by distinguished ensembles throughout the world.

"Morten's music is so deeply moving that a number of singers have told me it has changed their lives," says Todd Vunderink, peermusic VP and director of peermusic Classical. For that alone, this award is richly deserved. To be close to Morten and his compositions over the last 20 years has been a great honor and privilege, and a constant reminder of how music can speak directly to the heart."

President Bush presented the awards in an East Room ceremony on Nov. 15. The
president was joined by First Lady Laura Bush, Lynne Cheney, National Endowment for the Arts Chairperson Dana Gioia, and National Endowment for the Humanities Chairperson Bruce Cole.

Lauridsen served as composer-in-residence of the Los Angeles Master Chorale from 1995-2001 and has been professor of composition at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music since 1972.