Harbison Receives BSO’s Horblit Award

Harbison Receives BSO’s Horblit Award

John Harbison

John Harbison

The Boston Symphony Orchestra has presented John Harbison with the Mark M. Horblit “Merit Award” for distinguished composition by an American composer. The award was created in 1947 by the late Boston attorney Mark M. Horblit to, in his own words, “foster and promote the writing of symphonic compositions by composers resident in the United States…in recognition of meritorious work in that field.” Harbison is the 22nd recipient of the award, which includes a cash prize of $5,000. A formal award ceremony with Harbision will take place this fall in Boston. The Horblit Award was first presented to Aaron Copland in 1947 and, most recently, to Elliott Carter in 2007. Carter, who had previously been given the award in 1988, has been the only composer to receive the award twice. (A complete list of recipients appears below.)

In connection with the BSO’s presentation of the Horblit Award to John Harbision, the orchestra will release the composer’s six symphonies as digital downloads, available on their website beginning July 9. They will be available on Amazon and iTunes at a later date. These live recordings of all six symphonies were made during the BSO’s 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons. The recordings will be available in both mp3 and hi-def audio formats. Individual movements, entire symphonies, or albums containing two symphonies each can be purchased for different prices; the price for individual movements–which ranges from $0.89 to $3.59–depends on format and duration. In addition, on Thursday, July 11, at 7:30 p.m., the orchestra and chorus of Boston-based Emmanuel Music come to Ozawa Hall for John Harbison’s opera The Great Gatsby.

Horblit Award Recipients

1947 Aaron Copland
1948 Walter Piston
1949 Leonard Bernstein
1952 Lukas Foss
1953 Leo Smit
1954 Andrew Imbrie
1955 Ross Lee Finney
1958 Easley Blackwood
1961 Alexei Haieff
1963 Seymour Shifrin
1964 William Sydeman
1966 Gunther Schuller
1968 John Huggler
1977 Roger Sessions
1980 William Schuman
1983 Earl Kim
1985 Leon Kirchner
1987 Donald Martino
1992 Ned Rorem
1993 John Corigliano
2008 Elliott Carter
2013 John Harbison

from the press release

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3 thoughts on “Harbison Receives BSO’s Horblit Award

  1. R. James Tobin

    Except for his songs, Leo Smit is better known as a pianist than as a composer today. His two CD collection of Copland’s Complete Music for Solo Piano is available from Sony.

    Alexei Haieff, a student of Nadia Boulanger and a friend of Stravinsky, wrote, in addition to piano music, three symphonies, a Piano Concerto (which Leo Smit performed), ballets, a String Quartet, and a Divertimento. Recordings of some of these have been privately reissued and are available directly from Alexei Records online.

  2. Philipp Blume

    Between 1947 and 1968, this seems to have been a mid-career award.
    Age range 25-54, median: 37

    After 1977 it was a sort of lifetime achievement award.
    Age range 55-99, median: 69

    Priorities change.

    It’s either that — or composing for orchestra is something only old men know how to do well.

    Or both.


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