Sixteen Composers Receive Awards Totaling $175,000
New York, March 5, 2014— The American Academy of Arts and Letters announced today the sixteen recipients of this year's awards in music, which total $175,000. The winners were selected by a committee of Academy members: Joan Tower (chairman), Samuel Adler, Martin Bresnick, Mario Davidovsky, John Harbison, Stephen Hartke, Tania Leon, and Tobias Picker. 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.
Arts and Letters Awards in Music
Four composers will each receive a $7500 Arts and Letters Award in Music, which honors outstanding artistic achievement and acknowledges the composer who has arrived at his or her own voice. Each will receive an additional $7500 toward the recording of one work. The winners are Kati Agócs, Daron Hagen, Anthony Korf, and Marjorie Merryman.
Walter Hinrichsen Award
Scott Wheeler will receive the Walter Hinrichsen Award for the publication of a work by a gifted composer. This award was established by the C. F. Peters Corporation, music publishers, in 1984.
Wladimir and Rhoda Lakond Prize
Mikael Karlsson will receive the Wladimir and Rhoda Lakond Prize of $10,000 for an exceptional mid-career composer.
Goddard Lieberson Fellowships
Two Goddard Lieberson Fellowships of $15,000, endowed in 1978 by the CBS Foundation, are given to mid-career composers of exceptional gifts. This year they will go to A. J. McCaffrey and Ju Ri Seo.
Charles Ives Fellowships
Harmony Ives, the widow of Charles Ives, bequeathed to the Academy the royalties of Charles Ives' music, which has enabled the Academy to give the Ives awards in composition since 1970. Two Charles Ives Fellowships, of $15,000 each, will be awarded to Nathan Shields and Dan Tepfer.
Charles Ives Scholarships
William David Cooper, David Kirkland Garner, Bálint Karosi, Jeremy Podgursky, Daniel Schlosberg, and Nina C. Young will receive Charles Ives Scholarships of $7500, given to composition students of great promise.
The American Academy of Arts and Letters was founded in 1898 to "foster, assist, and sustain an interest in literature, music, and the fine arts." Each year, the Academy honors over 50 composers, artists, architects, and writers with cash awards ranging from $5000 to $100,000. Other activities of the Academy are exhibitions of art, architecture, and manuscripts; purchases.
The music of Kati Agócs has been commissioned and performed by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra Chamber Players, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the American Composers Orchestra, Eighth Blackbird, Metropolis Ensemble, the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, the National Arts Centre Orchestra. She was previously the recipient of the Charles Ives Fellowship and the Charles Ives Scholarship from the AAAL, awarded a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship, a Brother Thomas Fellowship from the Boston Foundation, the Leonard Bernstein Fellowship from the Tanglewood Music Center, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Jacob Javits Fellowship from the United States Department of Education. Born in Canada of Hungarian and American background, she earned Doctoral and Master degrees in Composition from The Juilliard School, where her principal teacher was Milton Babbitt. She is on the composition faculty at the New England Conservatory in Boston.
William David Cooper (b.1986) is a composer, conductor, and organist, whose music has been performed by Liza Stepanova, Augustin Hadelich, the Juilliard Orchestra, the Scharoun Ensemble, the JACK Quartet, ECCE Ensemble, and the Lysander Trio. His music has been featured at the Wellesley Composers Conference and the Radio France Festival, and has been commissioned by Soli Deo Gloria, Inc. His opera Hagar and Ishmael will premiere in 2015 with members of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. ASCAP has honored him with Morton Gould awards in 2012, 2007 and 2004, including the Leo Kaplan Award. He studied with Samuel Adler and Robert Beaser at the Juilliard School, and is a PhD candidate at UC Davis, where he studies with Kurt Rohde, Ross Bauer and Pablo Ortiz. Cooper has served on faculty at Purdue University and the Interlochen Arts Camp. He is music director and organist at the Episcopal Church of St. Martin, Davis, and director of the UCD Early Music Ensemble.
David Kirkland Garner has worked with ensembles such as the Kronos Quartet, which commissioned and premiered Lament for the imagined in Scotland in 2011. He won first prizes in the OSSIA, RED NOTE and NACUSA competitions and an ASCAP Young Composer Award in 2009. His music has been performed by the Ciompi Quartet, Vega Quartet, Locrian Chamber Players, San Diego Symphony, Wet Ink Ensemble, Boston New Music Initiative, and Eastman’s OSSIA new music ensemble. With degrees from Rice University and the University of Michigan, Garner is currently completing a PhD at Duke University in Durham.
Daron Hagen is a composer, stage director, writer, conductor, pianist, and librettist. He has collaborated with Leonard Bernstein, JoAnn Falletta, Gary Graffman, Nathan Gunn, Jaime Laredo, Paul Muldoon, Gerard Schwarz, Leonard Slatkin, and Steven Wadsworth. Composer of nine operas, his music has been performed by the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, National, Seattle, American, and Milwaukee Symphonies, American Composers Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, the Orchestra of the Swan (UK), Seattle Opera, Opera Theater of Ireland, as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Louvre, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (Beijing), and Royal Albert Hall. Recorded on the Albany, Bridge, CRI, Naxos, and New World labels, his work has received the Guggenheim Fellowship, Kennedy Center Friedheim Prize, two Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Fellowships, ASCAP and BMI prizes. A Curtis and Juilliard graduate, he has taught at Bard, Curtis, and the Princeton Atelier.
Mikael Karlsson is a native of Sweden, and has resided in New York City since 2000. His music has been performed at Carnegie Hall, Le Poisson Rouge, Lincoln Center, MoMA, and as part of the Ecstatic Music Festival at Merkin Concert Hall. His dance commissions include works for Nederlands Dans Theater, Ailey II, the Royal Swedish Opera and Ballet, the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet and Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet. He has composed for the International Contemporary Ensemble, ACME, Claire Chase, Joshua Rubin, Mivos Quartet, Sirius Quartet, Abby Fischer and pop singers Lykke Li and Mariam Wallentin. Mr. Karlsson has released over a dozen albums with chamber works and soundtracks. He is currently collaborating with singer Mariam Wallentin and ACME with his song cycle The Spirit & The Cloud.
Bálint Karosi is a doctoral candidate in composition at the Yale School of Music, studying with Aaron Jay Kernis, Martin Bresnick and Christopher Theofanidis and has studied composition with Adam Roberts. He holds degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory, the Conservatoire Supérieur de Genève and the Liszt Academy in Budapest. Karosi’s works have been performed by the Yale Philharmonia, the Yale Baroque Ensemble, Canto Armonico and the Miskolc Symphony Orchestra. His compositions are published by Wayne Leupold Editions and Concordia Publishing House. Karosi is an active concert organist, specializing in the interpretation of the music of J. S. Bach and historic improvisation techniques. He has won prizes at international organ competitions including the 2008 International J. S. Bach Competition in Leipzig, Germany and the 2012 Improvisation Competition at the University of Michigan. Karosi is a Teaching Fellow at the Yale Department of Music, and has served on the faculty at Boston University and UMass Boston. He is the Minister of Music at the First Lutheran Church of Boston.
Anthony Korf was born in New York City and received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in performance at The Manhattan School of Music. He has written three symphonies, a piano concerto, a requiem, a cantata and chamber works. He has been commissioned by The San Francisco Symphony, The American Composers Orchestra, The New York Virtuoso Singers, ensembles and soloists. A 2008 Guggenheim Fellow and 1988 Goddard Lieberson Fellow (AAAL), Korf has been honored with commissions from the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The New York State Council on the Arts, The Howard Hanson Fund and the University of Connecticut. For 27 years, Korf, as conductor and founder of Parnassus, championed the music of living composers. He serves as co-founding artistic director for Riverside Symphony in New York City.
A. J. McCaffrey is a songwriter and composer of instrumental, vocal and electronic music. In addition to commissions from the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, he received the Underwood Emerging Composers Commission from the American Composers Orchestra and the Paul Jacobs Memorial Commission from the Tanglewood Music Center. His music has been performed by the New Fromm Players and by members of the Chiara Quartet, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Firebird Ensemble and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. McCaffrey has studied composition with Richard Lavenda, James MacMillan, Donald Crockett and Stephen Hartke. He teaches for the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Composer Fellowship Program and the Longy School of Music of Bard College's Masters of Arts in Teaching Music program.
Marjorie Merryman has been commissioned and performed throughout the United States and in many countries in Europe and Asia. Her catalogue includes orchestral, choral, vocal and chamber music, as well as an opera and two oratorios. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including prizes or fellowships from the AAAL, the League of Composers/International Society for Contemporary Music, the New York State Council for the Arts, Tanglewood, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the National Endowment for the Arts, and many others. Her works are published by C.F. Peters, E.C. Schirmer, APNM, and G. Schirmer, and recorded on the Koch and New World labels. A California native, Marjorie Merryman teaches on the composition faculty of Manhattan School of Music, where she also serves as Provost and Dean of the College. She lives in New York City.
A native of Louisville, KY, Jeremy Podgursky’s music has been performed, premiered and read by Alarm Will Sound, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Contemporaneous, IU New Music Ensemble, Lost Dog New Music Ensemble, Holographic, and NewEar. His recent awards and honors are from the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University, Indiana University/JSoM (Dean’s Prize), Finale/eighth blackbird/MakeMusic contest, Mizzou New Music Festival, ACO/Earshot, the Northridge Prize for orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra Composers Institute, and SCI/ASCAP. Podgursky received his B.M. and M.M. from the University of Louisville and is currently a Jacobs Doctoral Fellow at Indiana University. His mentors include Sven-David Sandström, Claude Baker, Don Freund, John Gibson, Jeffrey Hass, David Dzubay, Steve Rouse, and Brenda Kee. Podgursky is the co-founder of Holographic, a new music project based in Bloomington, IN. Prior to his doctoral work, Podgursky initiated high school composition programs in Louisville-area public schools.
Works by composer and pianist Daniel Schlosberg have been performed by the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, Yale Philharmonia, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Yale Glee Club, Yale Baroque Ensemble, and New Morse Code, and at Carnegie Hall, Fondation des Etas-Unis (Paris, France), St. John’s Cathedral (Hong Kong), and at the Bari International Music Festival (Bari, Italy). Recent theatrical endeavors include his chamber opera Frau Trude (Center City Opera Theater, Philadelphia), incidental music for J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan and re-orchestration/conducting of Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George (Yale School of Drama), and performance of a staged version of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire (Yale Cabaret). He is working on commissions for the Lorelei Ensemble and clarinetist David Shifrin for Chamber Music Northwest. Schlosberg is pursuing his doctorate at the Yale School of Music, where he has studied with Martin Bresnick, David Lang, Aaron Jay Kernis, and Christopher Theofanidis.
Recipient of the Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowship and the Otto Eckstein Fellowship from Tanglewood, composer and pianist Ju Ri Seo writes for all instrumental forces for both professionals and amateurs. Her recent commissions came from diverse groups including the Tanglewood Music Center, Dinosaur Annex, cimbalist Nick Tolle, and Libertyville High School. She holds a DMA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she studied with Reynold Tharp. She has also attended Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and participated in Tanglewood, Bang on a Can, and SoundSCAPE festivals. She now serves on the faculty at Washington University in St. Louis.
Nathan Shields has written for numerous performers including the JACK and Jupiter String Quartets, harpist Bridget Kibbey, pianist Michael Brown, and Music from Copland House. His works have also been performed by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Horszowski Trio, with commissions from the BMI/Carlos Surinach Fund, Concert Artists Guild, and American Composers Forum. Honors include the Presser Music Award, Aaron Copland Award, and prizes from BMI, ASCAP, the Juilliard School and the Japan Society of Boston, along with fellowships from Yaddo, Ucross, Copland House, and the Wellesley Composers Conference. This spring will see performances by Bridget Kibbey and Decoda at Trinity Wall Street and by the JACK Quartet at the Stone. His music will also be featured at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, and in the summer he will be composer-in-residence at the Portland Chamber Music Festival.
Born in Paris to American parents, “tremendously gifted” (LA Times) pianist-composer Dan Tepfer has translated his bi-cultural identity into an exploration of music that ignores stylistic bounds. His 2011 Goldberg Variations / Variations, which pairs his performance of Bach’s work with improvised variations of his own, has received broad praise as a “riveting, inspired, fresh musical exploration” (New York Times). He has worked with the leading lights in jazz, including extensively with saxophone luminary Lee Konitz, while releasing seven albums as a leader. Classical works include his Concerto for Piano and Winds, premiered in the Prague Castle with himself on piano, and Solo Blues for Violin and Piano, premiered at Carnegie Hall. Awards include first prize and audience prize at the Montreux Jazz Festival Solo Piano Competition, first prize at the East Coast Jazz Festival Competition, and the American Pianists Association Cole Porter Fellowship.
Scott Wheeler’s most recent opera commission is Naga, on a libretto of Cerise Jacobs, to be premiered in Boston in the fall of 2016. Other commissions include a song cycle for baritone and orchestra on texts of Wang Dan, and works for the Mirror Visions Ensemble, Boston Cecilia, and the Barlow Foundation, the Metropolitan Opera, Washington National Opera and the Guggenheim Foundation. In recent seasons, Wheeler’s works have been performed in Boston, Chicago, New York, Paris, Austria, Italy, Panama, Winnipeg, Hong Kong and Beijing. A new recording of Wheeler’s orchestral music will be released by BMOP Sound in May of 2014. His songs for voice and piano and his opera The Construction of Boston are available on Naxos; his chamber music for strings and piano is available on Newport Classic. Scott Wheeler teaches at Emerson College in Boston.
New York-based composer Nina C. Young (b. 1984) writes instrumental and electronic music with a particular interest in mixing them. With a voice that draws from spectralism, romanticism, and Russian folklore, Young’s pieces incorporate her research on blending amplification and live electronics into instrumental ensembles, with a view toward creating a natural and cohesive sound world. Her music has been performed internationally by the American Composers Orchestra, Argento, the Jack Quartet, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Orkest de ereprijs, and Yarn/Wire, among others, and she has received honors from BMI, ASCAP/SEAMUS, IAWM, and the ACO. Young has been awarded fellowships to the Atlantic Music Festival, Tanglewood Music Center, and the Aspen Music Festival. She holds degrees from MIT, McGill University, and is currently pursuing a doctorate at Columbia University where she studies with Georg Friedrich Haas, Fred Lerdahl, George Lewis, and Brad Garton.