George Manahan To Receive 2012 Ditson Conductor’s Award

George Manahan To Receive 2012 Ditson Conductor’s Award

George Manahan. Photo by Richard Bowditch, courtesy American Composers Orchestra

George Manahan. Photo by Richard Bowditch, courtesy American Composers Orchestra

American Composers Orchestra Music Director George Manahan will be presented with the 2012 Ditson Conductor’s Award during an ACO concert he will conduct at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall on January 18, 2013. Composer Augusta Read Thomas, a member of the Ditson Advisory Committee, will present the award, which includes a $5,000 cash prize. The oldest award to honor conductors for their support of American music, the Ditson Conductor’s Award was established in 1945 by the Alice M. Ditson Fund at Columbia University.

“George Manahan has conducted and championed contemporary American music throughout his distinguished career, whether on the concert stage, in the opera pit, or through recordings,” said Fred Lerdahl, secretary of the Alice M. Ditson Fund and the Fritz Reiner Professor of Musical Composition at Columbia. “After a celebrated dozen years as music director of the New York City Opera, in 2010 he moved to the directorship of American Composers Orchestra, which in only two years he has brought to a fresh level of vitality. He is the composer’s conductor par excellence.”

Currently in his second season as music director of the American Composers Orchestra, George Manahan also serves as director of orchestral studies at the Manhattan School of Music as well as guest conductor at the Curtis Institute of Music. Prior to working with the ACO, he served for twelve years as the music director of the Richmond Symphony (an ensemble honored four times by ASCAP during his tenure for its commitment to new music) and for fourteen seasons as music director of the New York City Opera. Highlights of his NYCO tenure include the world premiere of Charles Wuorinen’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories and the New York premiere of Richard Danielpour’s Margaret Garner.

Manahan’s guest appearances have included the Aspen Music Festival, the Casals Festival (Puerto Rico), the Bergen Festival (Norway), Opera National du Paris, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Minnesota Opera (where he was principal conductor), the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, as well as the symphonies of Atlanta, San Francisco, Hollywood Bowl, and New Jersey, where he served as acting music director for four seasons.

His wide-ranging recording activities include the premiere recording of Steve Reich’s Tehillim for ECM, Tobias Picker’s Emmeline, Edward Thomas’s Desire Under the Elms (which was nominated for a Grammy), and Joe Jackson’s Will Power. In May 2011, Manahan was honored by the American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP) for the ways in which his “career-long advocacy for American composers and the music of our time has enriched and enabled Concert Music both at home and abroad.”

Below is a complete list of past recipients of the Ditson Conductor’s Award:

1945 Howard Hanson
1946 Leon Barzin
1947 Alfred Wallenstein
1948 Dean Dixon
1949 Thor Johnson
1950 Izler Solomon
1951 Robert Whitney
1952 Leopold Stokowski
1953 Walter Hendl
1954 David Broekman
1955 Robert Shaw
1956 Victor Alessandro
1957 Howard Mitchell
1958 Leonard Bernstein
1959 Julius Rudel
1960 Richard Bales
1961 Richard Franko Goldman
1962 Guy Fraser Harrison
1963 Milton Katims
1964 Emerson Buckley
1965 Jacob Avshalomov
1966 William Strickland
1967 Igor Buketoff
1968 Alan Carter
1969 Frederick Fennell
1970 Gunther Schuller
1971 Maurice Abravanel
1972 Louis Lane
1973 Stanisław Skrowaczewski
1974 Lukas Foss
1975 Antal Doráti
1976 José Serebrier
1977 Eugene Ormandy
1978 Gregg Smith
1979 Sergiu Comissiona
1980 James A. Dixon
1981 Michael Charry
1982 Russell Patterson
1983 Julius Hegyi
1984 Leonard Slatkin
1985 Jorge Mester
1986 Efrain Guigui
1987 Dennis Russell Davies
1988 Lawrence Leighton Smith
1989 Gerard Schwarz
1990 Mstislav Rostropovich
1991 Christopher Keene
1992 Herbert Blomstedt
1993 Michael Tilson Thomas
1994 Gerhard Samuel
1995 Gustav Meier
1996 James Bolle
1997 David Zinman
1998 JoAnn Falletta
1999 Christoph von Dohnányi
2000 James DePreist
2001 Joel Sachs
2002 Edwin London
2003 David Alan Miller
2004 Donald Portnoy
2005 David Hoose
2006 David Robertson
2007 Gil Rose
2008 Robert Spano
2009 James Levine
2010 Osmo Vänskä
2011 Alan Gilbert

(—from the press release)

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