Tag: award

2018 Ditson Conductor’s Award Honors Oliver Knussen

Oliver Knussen

The Ditson Fund has announced that the 2018 Ditson Conductor’s Award has been awarded posthumously to Oliver Knussen. The citation will be presented to his daughter Sonya Knussen this afternoon. It reads:

In 1940 the Alice M. Ditson Fund was established by Columbia University to make grants “for Fellowships, Public Hearings and Publication” of the work of talented musicians the Fund deems worthy of assistance. To encourage public performance of the music of gifted contemporary American composers, the Ditson Conductor’s Award was created in 1945. With the 2018 Award, Columbia University proudly adds Oliver Knussen to the roster of distinguished conductors so honored.

Maestro Knussen, you are one of music history’s most eminent and influential composer-conductors and one of the few artists in history that is equally world-class at both occupations. Your excellence in composition and conducting inform one another, resulting in an extraordinary, graceful, stylish, nuanced catalogue of compositions and conducting that, likewise, is elegant, refined, clean, clear, detailed and energized.

Your deep understanding of and empathy with a composer’s intentions, allied to the precision of your intellect, communicative personality and conducting, result in buoyant, luminous, and lucid performances, which resonate and crackle with radiant, crystalline detail, nuance, and spirit.

You have helped so many younger composers to forge their voice with a generous and unfailing advocacy across a wide range of contemporary music aesthetics and styles.

You were appointed CBE in 1994 and received the Queen’s Medal for Music 2015 and have been the recipient of many honours and awards, including the Royal Philharmonic Society Conductor Award in 2009. You have recorded prolifically and presided over numerous premieres.

Having served as Artistic Director of the Aldeburgh Festival (1983 – 98), Head of Contemporary Music at the Tanglewood Music Center (1986 – 93), Principal Guest Conductor of the Hague Residentie Orchestra (1993 – 97), Music Director of the London Sinfonietta (1998 – 2002), and Artist-in-Association with the BBC Symphony Orchestra (2009 – 2014), your impact on the musical community around the world is remarkable, and is a testament to your unconditional generosity and inspiring curiosity as a musician.

Columbia University therefore recognizes your splendid record of dedication and accomplishment by conferring on you the Ditson Conductor’s Award of 2018 for distinguished service to American music.

Established in 1945, the Ditson Conductor’s Award honors conductors who have a distinguished record of performing and championing contemporary American music.

Mark Lanz Weiser Receives Nissim Prize

Mark Lanz Weiser

Mark Lanz Weiser has been named the recipient of the 35th annual ASCAP Foundation Rudolf Nissim Prize. The prize was awarded for his Symphony No. 2 (Sinfonia Magalhães), a 30-minute work for orchestra which was selected from among 160 entries by a panel of conductors. The $5,000 prize is presented annually to an ASCAP concert composer for a work requiring a conductor that has not been performed professionally.

Weiser, a Los Angeles-based composer, has composed three operas, numerous songs and song cycles, and works for voice and orchestra.  His music can also be heard in a number of commercial and independent films.

His Symphony No. 2, subtitled Sinfonia Magalhães (Magellan Symphony), is a musical impression of the first circumnavigation of the globe led by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1519. Sailing for Charles the First of Spain, Magellan was tasked with finding a westerly route to the Spice Islands. The voyage led to the discovery of the straits in the southern tip of South America, and the first crossing of the Pacific Ocean. Magellan personally would not return to Spain, as he was killed in a battle with Prince Lapu Lapu in the Philippines. The last remaining ship, The Victoria, led by Juan Sebastián Elcano, would return to Seville almost three years after the day of the fleet’s departure. The symphony is in seven connecting sections: Departure, Easter Mutiny, The Strait, Pacific Crossing, Lapu Lapu and the Death of Magellan, The Victoria, and Return.

Jeremy Podgursky

The jury also awarded Special Distinction to Jeremy Podgursky of Bloomington, Indiana for As a Spell, Against Falling Objects (or How I Learned to Love Gravity), a 16-minute work for sinfonietta.

The Nissim Prize honors the memory of Dr. Rudolf Nissim and his dedication to ASCAP’s concert composers by hosting this competition. Nissim, former head of ASCAP’s International Department, established the prize through a bequest to the ASCAP Foundation.

The judges for this year’s Nissim Prize were: George Manahan, music director of the American Composers Orchestra and the Portland Opera, and director of orchestral activities at the Manhattan School of Music; Ryan McAdams, whose upcoming conducting engagements include Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Wordless Music Orchestra, Santa Fe Symphony, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Vancouver Symphony, ECCE Ensemble, and Talea Ensemble; and Diane Wittry, music director of the Allentown Symphony (PA), artistic director and conductor of the Ridgewood Symphony (NJ),  artistic director (USA) for the International Cultural Exchange Program for Classical Musicians through the Sarajevo Philharmonic (Bosnia), and artistic director for Pizazz Music and the Pizzaz Symphony Orchestra.

(–from the press release)

2014 Barlow Winners Announced

Ben Hjertmann

Ben Hjertmann

The Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University has announced commission winners for 2014. After reviewing 280 composer applications from 30 countries worldwide, the judging panel awarded Ben Hjertmann of Chicago, Illinois (now living in North Carolina and teaching at Appalachian State University), the $12,000 Barlow Prize to compose a major new work for saxophone quartet. The panel also granted Steven Bryant of Durham, North Carolina, the distinction of honorable mention in this competition.

In considering nearly 100 applications in the general and LDS commissioning programs, the endowment granted a total of $62,000 to ten composers. (Composers who belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as any composer willing to engage LDS subject matter, may apply to the LDS commissioning program.)
The winners will write works for the following ensembles and musicians:

GENERAL COMMISSION RECIPIENTS
Dan Trueman (So Percussion and Jack Quartet)
Mikel Kuehn (Spektral Quartet)
Peter Van Zandt Lane (EQ Ensemble)
Christopher Fisher-Lochhead (Spektral Quartet)
Ted Hearne (Roomful of Teeth)
Mark Engebretson (Bent Frequency)

LDS COMMISSION RECIPIENTS
Chad Cannon (Farallon Quintet)
Steven Ricks (Manhattan String Quartet)
Matthew Nielsen (BYU Singers)
Curtis Smith (Bryan Lew/violist)

The judging panel included the endowment’s board of advisers: Todd Coleman, Stacy Garrop, Christian Asplund, James Mobberley, and Leilei Tian. Ethan Wickman served as a guest judge in most of the deliberations. Zachary Shemon, Stephen Page, and Ryan Janus represented the PRISM, ZZYZX, and United States Air Force saxophone quartets respectively in selecting the Barlow Prize. These ensembles form the endowment’s performing consortium that will premiere the new work in 2016.
Next year’s Barlow Prize will feature a new work for orchestra. Details for this commission will be available soon.

(–from the press release)

Todd Lerew Wins the 2014 ACF National Composition Contest

Todd Lerew - credit Nedda Atassi

Todd Lerew
Photo by Nedda Atassi

The American Composers Forum has named CalArts student Todd Lerew the winner of the 2014 National Composition Contest for his work flagging entrainment of ultradian rhythms and the consequences thereof. Lerew has been awarded a cash prize of $2,000 and his piece will be toured by So Percussion in future seasons. The piece was commissioned by ACF along with the works of two other competition finalists–Michael Laurello and Kristina Warren–which were workshopped by So Percussion as part of the the group’s Summer Institute at Princeton University and premiered on July 20.


Based in Los Angeles, Lerew (b. 1986) works with invented acoustic instruments, repurposed found objects, and unique preparations of traditional instruments. He is the inventor of the Quartz Cantabile, which uses a principle of thermoacoustics to convert heat into sound, and has presented the instrument at Stanford’s CCRMA, the American Musical Instrument Society annual conference, the Guthman Musical Instrument Competition at Georgia Tech, and Machine Project in Los Angeles. He is the founder and curator of Telephone Music, a collaborative music and memory project based on the children’s game of Telephone, the last round of which was released as an exclusive download to subscribers of music magazine The Wire. His solo piece for e-bowed gu zheng, entitled Lithic Fragments, is available on cassette on the Brunch Groupe label. His pieces have been performed by members of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, the Wet Ink Ensemble (New York), the Now Hear Ensemble (Santa Barbara), and the Canticum Ostrava choir (Czech Republic).

flagging entrainment of ultradian rhythms and the consequences t

Sample page from Lerew’s flagging entrainment of ultradian rhythms and the consequences thereof.

Composer and vocalist Kristina Warren holds a bachelor’s in music composition from Duke University and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in composition and computer technologies from the University of Virginia.

Sample page from Warren's score for Choose.

Sample page from Warren’s score for Choose.

Composer and pianist Michael Laurello is an artist diploma candidate in composition at the Yale School of Music. He earned an master’s in composition from Tufts University and a bachelor’s in music synthesis (electronic production and design) from Berklee College of Music.

Sample page from Michael Laurello's Overwhelming Capacity.

Sample page from Laurello’s Overwhelming Capacity.

The National Composition Contest is open to composers currently enrolled in graduate and undergraduate institutions in the United States; this year’s installment drew more than 250 applicants from 39 states. Each finalist received an award of $1,000 plus an additional stipend of $750 to help defray expenses associated with attending the workshop and studio performance.
The competition began during the 2010-11 season as the Finale National Composition Contest, partnering with the group eighth blackbird. JACK Quartet was the ensemble for 2011-12. The competition went on hiatus last season, returning in September 2013 under its new name, the American Composers Forum National Composition Contest.

(from the press release)

Guggenheim Fellowship Awards in the US and Canada Announced

Guggenheim
In its 90th annual competition for the United States and Canada, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has awarded 177 fellowships (including one joint fellowship) to a diverse group of 178 scholars, artists, and scientists. Appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise, the successful candidates were chosen from a group of almost 3,000 applicants.

In the area of music composition, the awardees are:
Jamie Baum
Gene Coleman
Steve Coleman
Jesse Jones
Arthur Kampela
Mikel Kuehn
Eric Nathan
Elena Ruehr
Elliott Sharp
Stephen Taylor
Wang Lu
In the area of music research, the awardee is:
Will Crutchfield

Since its establishment in 1925, the foundation has granted more than $315 million to nearly 17,700 individuals, including scores of Nobel laureates and Pulitzer Prize-winners. More information about this year’s class of fellows is available here.

(from the press release)

Sarah Kirkland Snider Awarded DSO’s 7th Annual Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award for Female Composers

Sarah Kirkland Snider

Sarah Kirkland Snider

Sarah Kirkland Snider has been awarded the seventh annual Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award for Female Composers from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Snider will compose a new work that will be given its premiere in the 2015-16 season. In addition to concerts presenting her work, Snider will receive a $10,000 prize and a one-month residency at the Ucross Foundation, an artist’s retreat in northern Wyoming.
Snider was chosen by the following jury: Evan Chambers, local composer; Johanna Yarbrough, French horn; Joe Becker, principal percussion; Marcus Schoon, contrabassoon.

Last year’s winner, Wang Jie, debuts her work, Symphony No.2, “To and From Dakini,” under the direction of DSO Music Director Leonard Slatkin at this weekend’s concerts. Previous winners also include Stacy Garrop, Margaret Brouwer, Cindy McTee, Du Yun, and Missy Mazzoli.

The Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award was inspired by composer, teacher, poet, artist and lecturer Elaine Lebenbom, a resident of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, who died in 2002. The DSO has premiered three of Lebenbom’s works. Kaleidoscope Turning received its world premiere under the direction of DSO Music Director Emeritus Neeme Järvi in 1997. Reflections on a Rainbow and Gamatria were debuted in 2004 and 2007, respectively, both after the composer’s death.

Details and submission deadlines for the eighth annual Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Competition for Female Composers will be announced this fall. The international competition, launched in 2006, is the only annual symphony orchestra sponsored award granted annually to a living female composer, of any age or nationality. Each year, one winner receives a $10,000 prize and the opportunity to have her original work premiered in the DSO’s Classical Subscription Series. The award is made possible by an anonymous donor.

To be considered for the award, participants must submit a resume; a completed application form; sample scores of up to three completed works, including one scored for full symphony; and supporting audio and/or video representation of at least one, preferably the symphonic work. Submitted entries will be judged by a committee formed by the DSO. More information can be found at dso.org/lebenbom. For questions, please contact Kathryn Ginsburg at [email protected]

(from the press release)

Andrew Norman Joins Opera Philadelphia as Third Composer in Residence

Andrew Norman

Andrew Norman

Opera Philadelphia, in collaboration with Gotham Chamber Opera and Music-Theatre Group in New York, has announced that composer Andrew Norman has been selected as its third composer in residence. Norman was chosen from over 100 applicants for the position and now has the opportunity to follow a personalized development track focused on the advancement of his career as an operatic composer. Norman will begin his appointment immediately. He joins composers in residence Lembit Beecher, who was appointed in September 2011, and Missy Mazzoli, who was appointed in September 2012.

Funded by a $1.73 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the program “fosters tomorrow’s American operatic masterpieces through personalized creative development and intensive, hands-on composition opportunities for today’s most promising opera composers.” The position combines its individualized plan of study with a living stipend and health benefits.

“Andrew’s music really stood out both in its emotional sophistication and his virtuosic control of larger forms,” said David B. Devan, Opera Philadelphia’s general director and president. “Both of these qualities are essential for composing opera. We look forward to working with Andrew as he takes this next step in his growth as an artist.”

Norman, 33, is increasingly active as an orchestral composer. His symphonic works, often noted for their clarity and vigor, have been commissioned and premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the Minnesota Orchestra, among others. A lifelong enthusiast for all things architectural, he writes music that is often inspired by forms and textures he encounters in the visual world. His music draws on an eclectic mix of instrumental sounds and notational practices, and it has been cited in The New York Times for its “daring juxtapositions and dazzling colors” and in the Los Angeles Times for its “Chaplinesque” wit.

Norman’s The Companion Guide to Rome, which premiered on November 13, 2011 in Salt Lake City, Utah, was named a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in music. The Pulitzer Prize Board called it “an impressive musical portrait of nine historic churches, written for a string trio but sometimes giving the illusion of being played by a much larger group, changing mood and mode on a dime.”

Opera Philadelphia continues to help shape the future of opera with initiatives like the Composer in Residence Program and the American Repertoire Program, a commitment to producing an American opera in ten consecutive seasons, launched in 2012. The most recent work in the American Repertoire Program was Silent Night, featuring music by composer Kevin Puts, for which he won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music. Additional announced co-commissions include A Coffin in Egypt by Ricky Ian Gordon with a libretto by Leonard Foglia, slated for the Aurora Series for Chamber Opera at the Perelman Theater in 2014; Oscar by Theodore Morrison, with a libretto by the composer and John Cox, slated for the Academy of Music in 2015; and Cold Mountain by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon with a libretto by Gene Scheer, which will be produced at the Academy in 2016. A Coffin in Egypt is co-commissioned and co-produced with Houston Grand Opera; both Oscar and Cold Mountain are co-commissioned and co-produced with The Santa Fe Opera.

(from the press release)

Myra Melford Wins $75,000 Alpert Award in the Arts

Myra Melford - Photo by Valerie Truchhia

Myra Melford – Photo by Valerie Truchhia

Myra Melford has been named one of five 2012 winners of the 18th annual Alpert Award in the Arts. The award, which “recognizes past performance and future promise,” includes a prize of $75,000. In addition to Melford, the 2012 winners are Nora Chipaumire (dance), Eisa Davis (theatre), Kevin Everson, (film/video), and Michael Smith (visual arts).

Herb Alpert, the legendary musician and artist who created the Herb Alpert Foundation with his wife Lani Hall and gave the first Alpert Award in the Arts in 1995, says, “All of this year’s winners represent the essence of the Alpert Award. They take aesthetic, intellectual and political risks, and challenge worn-out conventions. They’re unafraid of the unknown.”

According to Irene Borger, director of the Alpert Award in the Arts, Melford has been honored with the award “for her ascending and expansive trajectory, and great, generous musical mind. They celebrate her willingness to dive into the deep end of the pool and her ability to take multiple musical traditions into another sphere.”

This year’s panelists include Alma Guillermoprieto, contributor to The New Yorker; Romi Crawford, Associate Professor, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; David Wessel, Professor of Music and Director, Center for New Music and Audio Technologies at University of California, Berkeley; Daniel Alexander Jones, Head of the Playwriting Program; Acting and Theatre History Faculty, Fordham University; and David Joselit, Carnegie Professor, History of Art, Yale University.

The Alpert Award in the Arts recipients will receive their awards at a brunch today at the Herb Alpert Foundation in Santa Monica.

(—from the press release)