New Music News Wire

New Music News Wire

Stephen Hartke Receives Inaugural Ives Opera Award

Stephen Hartke received the inaugural Ives Opera Award during the annual Ceremonial at the American Academy of Arts and Letters on May 21. The new $50,000 award, which was established at the Academy after a request for such an award by Academy member composer John Corigliano, will be given every three years to an American composer who is not an Academy member.

Hartke received the award for his opera The Greater Good which was performed at Glimmerglass and has subsequently been recorded on Naxos American Classics. Corigliano, in his presentation of the award at the Ceremonial, read the citation which describes Hartke as a “wild and original talent.”

The members of the adjudicating panel for the Ives Opera award were composers William Bolcom, Philip Glass, John Harbison, and Ezra Laderman, and librettist Robert Pinsky.

The Ives Opera Award was a highlight of what has come to be known as New Music Award Ceremony week in New York. Other important ceremonies this week included the BMI Student Composer Awards and the ASCAP Concert Music Awards, which included a presentation of the Morton Gould Young Composer Awards.

Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival Announces 5 Composers in Residence

The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival announced its 2008-09 American Composer Residency program on May 20. The 2008 summer season will feature three composers—Roberto Sierra, Joan Tower, and Marc Neikrug. Gunther Schuller and George Tsontakis will be featured in the summer of 2009.

The program, made possible through a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment of the Arts’ American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Artistic Genius initiative, will offer an unusual range of opportunities for the general audience as well as local composition students. Concertgoers will enjoy free pre-concert discussions an hour before each performance featuring a visiting composer’s work. These discussions, consisting of an interview with the composer and Q & A with the audience, will be led by Festival artistic director and fellow composer Marc Neikrug or Steven Ovitsky, who serves as executive director of the Festival. In addition, composition students from the University of New Mexico and the College of Santa Fe will have the chance to interact directly with award-winning composers. They will attend a dress rehearsal and performance of each composer’s work and also participate in master classes and seminars led by the composers.

The 2008 Festival will feature two performances by Imani Winds and the Miami String Quartet of Sierra’s Concierto de Camera, a Festival co-commission (July 27-28). In addition, Tower’s A Gift for piano and winds, another Festival co-commission, will be performed on August 20, and Marc Neikrug, Through Roses for chamber ensemble and narrator will be performed on August 24. In 2009, Gunther Schuller’s Quintet for Horn and Strings, commissioned exclusively by the Festival, will receive its world premiere performances on July 26 and 27, and a new work by George Tsontakis, also commissioned by the Festival, will be performed by the new music trio Real Quiet on August 16.

All performances, pre-concert discussions and master classes will be professionally recorded both on audio CD and DVD for archival and educational purposes. The information will be available for download from the Festival’s website at a future date, as well as being broadcast on the Festival’s nationally syndicated radio series.

Art of the States Launches Educational Podcast Series

Art of the States, a Boston-based international radio and internet distribution service presenting contemporary American art music to audiences in the United States and worldwide, has announced the launch of a new educational podcast series entitled Exploded View. Curated and produced by Art of the States, Exploded Views are brief guided tours of contemporary American pieces offering the general listener a glimpse into the anatomy of the music without the need of a score or previous musical training.

“We are always seeking new ways to invite listeners into the world of American music,” explained Art of the States’ executive producer Joel Gordon. “With our Exploded View podcasts, we go beyond the standard interview format and take you inside the music itself, accompanied by a musician intimately involved with the work.”

The first podcast in the series, which is now available for listening and download at the Art of the States website, features composer John Harbison guiding the listener through his String Quartet No. 3. Future Exploded Views will include a wide range of musicians, including composers Bernard Rands and Stephen Hartke, as well as pianist David Holzman.

Art of the States currently curates monthly programs of contemporary music from across the United States which are distributed to 76 major radio broadcasters in 51 countries. It presents the music online through its website, which currently features over 300 American works in high-quality streaming audio, amounting to over 60 hours of music. Art of the States is the recipient of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Broadcast Award in radio and awards from the Shanghai International Radio Music Festival. Major funding is provided by Aaron Copland Fund for Music and Island Fund. Art of the States Exploded View was created with support from the Argosy Foundation Contemporary Music Fund.

2008 International Alliance for Women in Music Awards Announced

The International Alliance for Women in Music has announced the winners of its Search for New Music by Women Composers 2008. This year’s competition features winners from the United States, Canada, and South Korea. Below is a complete list of all of the prizes and their winners.

  • Theodore Front Prize (minimum age 22) Chamber and Orchestral Works
    Sherry Woods: Chambers for String Quartet”

  • Miriam Gideon Prize (minimum age 50) Solo Voice and up to 5 Instruments
    Eleanor Cory: Three Songs for Soprano and Piano

  • Sylvia Glickman Memorial Prize (minimum age 40) String Trio or Piano Trio
    No winner in this category.

  • Libby Larsen Prize (currently enrolled in school) Any Medium
    Yoomi Paick: Crossover for Trio and Chamber Orchestra

  • Judith Lang Zaimont Prize (minimum age 30) Unpublished and Not Recorded
    S. Beth May: Witch Hunt for String Quartet

  • Ellen Taaffe Zwilich Prize (for women 21 and under) Works for Any Medium
    No winner in this category

  • Pauline Oliveros Prize – Works for electro-acoustic media
    Leah Reid: Pressure for Viola and Live Electronics

  • New Genre Prize – Innovation in form, or style including improvisation, multimedia, non-traditional notation
    Lavinia Kell Parker and Catherine Pickup: Failure is Impossible, an Improvised Performance Piece”

  • PatsyLu Prize – (women of color and/or lesbians) Works for Any Medium
    Su-Hyun Lee: Fantasy for 5 Instruments

The judges for the 2008 competition were composers Gernot Wolfgang, Erica Muhl, and Eric Schwartz.

Recent NEA Activities Honor Opera and Support New Works for Orchestra as well as Solo Organ

On May 13, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced the first recipients of the NEA Opera Honors, the highest award our nation bestows in opera. The award goes to luminaries who have made extraordinary contributions to opera in the United States. The honorees are composer Carlisle Floyd; soprano Leontyne Price; administrator Richard Gaddes, general director of the Santa Fe Opera and co-founder of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; and conductor James Levine, music director of the Metropolitan Opera and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The NEA Opera Honors awards ceremony will be held on Friday evening, October 31, at the Harman Center for the Arts in Washington, DC, with performances by the Washington National Opera and members of its Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. Other cities will host the event in future years.

In addition, the NEA has recently awarded grants totaling $1,210,300 to orchestras in 50 communities across the United States to provide educational activities, workshops, master classes, and concerts. Grant-winning orchestras include the American Composers Orchestra and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, both of whose focus is performing the music of living American composers.

The Endowment has also awarded two grants totaling $25,000 to support the commissioning and premiere performances of an hour of new music at the American Guild of Organists 2008 national convention in Minneapolis/St. Paul (June 22-26). The commissioned composers are Judith Bingham, Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, Aaron Jay Kernis, Libby Larson, and Steven Stuckey. In addition, there will be performances of chamber music with organ by composers Carol Barnett, Cary John Franklin, Linda Tutas Haugen, Monte Mason, David Evan Thomas, and Janika Vandervelde. Performers include organists Stephen Cleobury, David Higgs, and Catherine Rodland, as well as the choral ensemble Vocal Essence and local orchestral musicians.

2008 Polar Prize Awarded to Renée Fleming and Pink Floyd

The 2008 Polar Prize has been awarded to American soprano Renée Fleming and the British rock band Pink Floyd. Founded in 1989 by the late Stig Anderson, publisher, lyricist and manager of ABBA, the Polar Music Prize is awarded annually two prizewinners each of whom receives a total amount of one million Swedish Crowns which is equivalent to approximately US$169,500 or € 107,000. Previous American winners of the prize are Burt Bacharach, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Keith Jarrett, Quincy Jones, B.B. King, Joni Mitchell, Robert Moog, Steve Reich, Sonny Rollins, Bruce Springsteen, Isaac Stern, and Stevie Wonder.

(Edited and Compiled by Frank J. Oteri)

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