Now in its 26th year, the award is one of the largest and most prestigious offered in its field.

Among the collection are the 23 Grawemeyer winning pieces. But the black-bound scores contain other works Grawemeyer winners submitted for the competition. They are a treasure for students and scholars but the public rarely hears them.

Although not as well known as the winning selections, they, too, are excellent pieces, said Chris Doane, dean of the School of Music. Many may be unpublished, unrecorded or not available for purchase.

Not like the unheard tree falling in a forest, the music no longer is silent, thanks to a group of UofL music faculty members.

Calling themselves the Grawemeyer Players, they gave their formal premiere performance March 9 at New York’s Carnegie Hall with a program of works by Witold Lutoslawski, Gyorgy Kurtag, Sebastian Currier, Peter Lieberson, Brett Dean and York Hoeller. Each was a Grawemeyer prize winner between 1985 and 2010.

The special event celebrated the 25th anniversary of the award.

All of these compositions were meant to be played, but few people have had an opportunity to hear them, said Dallas Tidwell, who plays clarinet in the ensemble.

With him March 9 were Kathleen Karr, flute and piccolo; Jennifer Potochnic, oboe; Matthew Karr, bassoon; Bruce Heim, horn; Brett Shuster, trombone; Patrick Rafferty, violin; Paul York, cello; Stephen Mattingly, guitar; Edith Tidwell, soprano; Dror Biran, piano; Naomi Oliphant, piano; and Krista Wallace-Boaz, piano.

The musicians will give a free, encore performance at 8 p.m., Wednesday, April 14, in the Margaret Comstock Concert Hall as part of the Grawemeyer week celebration.

After that, they will configure in various combinations as the Grawemeyer Players to continue to bring these works to the public.