The American Academy of Arts and Letters announced today the seventeen recipients of this year’s awards in music, which total $235,000. The winners were selected by a committee of Academy members: Melinda Wagner (chairperson), Robert Beaser, Martin Bresnick, Chen Yi, George Lewis, David Rakowski, and Augusta Read Thomas. The awards will be presented at the Academy’s annual Ceremonial in May. Candidates for music awards are nominated by the 250 members of the Academy.
Four composers–Ted Hearne, Amy Beth Kirsten, Alexander Lunsqui, and Andreia Pinto Correia–will receive $10,000 Arts and Letters Awards in Music, which honor outstanding artistic achievement and acknowledge composers who have arrived at their own voice. They will each receive an additional $10,000 to record their work and will also have their music presented in a concert at the Academy in the spring of 2021. Pamela Z will be the recipient of this year’s Walter Hinrichsen Award in Music, an award established by the C. F. Peters Corporation in 1984 which is given for the publication of a work by a gifted composer. David Hertzberg will receive the Andrew Imbrie Award of $10,000, which is given to a composer of demonstrated artistic merit in mid-career.
Each year, the Academy awards two Charles Ives Fellowships and six Charles Ives Scholarships. Harmony Ives, the widow of Charles Ives, bequeathed to the Academy the royalties of Charles Ives’s music, which has enabled the Academy to give awards in composition since 1970. Two Charles Ives Fellowships of $15,000 each have been awarded to Timo Andres and Matthew Ricketts. Six Charles Ives Scholarships of $7,500 each will be awarded to: Jack Hughes, Aaron Israel Levin, Huijuan Ling, Nate May, David Clay Mettens, and Jason Mulligan.
Jeremy Gill and Adam Schoenberg will receive this year’s two Goddard Lieberson Fellowships of $15,000 each, which were endowed in 1978 by the CBS Foundation and are given to mid-career composers of exceptional gifts. Finally, James Primosch will receive the $40,000 Virgil Thomson Award in Vocal Music, which recognizes an American composer of vocal works.
The American Academy of Arts and Letters was founded in 1898 as an honor society of the country’s leading architects, artists, composers, and writers. Early members include William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, Julia Ward Howe, Henry James, Edward MacDowell, Theodore Roosevelt, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, John Singer Sargent, Mark Twain, and Edith Wharton. The Academy’s 250 members are elected for life and pay no dues. In addition to electing new members as vacancies occur, the Academy seeks to foster and sustain an interest in Literature, Music, and the Fine Arts by administering over 70 awards and prizes, exhibiting art and manuscripts, funding performances of new works of musical theater, and purchasing artwork for donation to museums across the country.