The American Music Center has announced the recipients of its 2011 Awards. John Harbison will be given AMC’s Founders Award, its highest honor which was established in 1999. Letters of Distinction, which AMC has awarded for five decades, will be given to William Bolcom and Copland House. In addition, a Trailblazer Award will be given to So Percussion, and the New Music Educator Award will be given to The Walden School. The 2011 AMC Awards will be presented on Monday, May 2, 2011, in a ceremony at the Chelsea Art Museum in New York City.
“The American Music Center has the happy duty of recognizing those who make the biggest contribution to new American music and each year it is our great pleasure to do so,” AMC President and CEO Joanne Hubbard Cossa commented. “Once more we are astounded with the talent, dedication, and zeal exhibited by this group of honorees. They have dedicated their lives to energizing and advancing the field, and their myriad contributions speak to their excellence, innovation, and commitment to service.”
Since 1964, the American Music Center has annually awarded Letters of Distinction to recognize those who have made a significant contribution to the field of contemporary American music. Previous recipients include George Balanchine, Leonard Bernstein, Joan Tower, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Morton Feldman, Laurie Anderson, Dizzy Gillespie, Michael Tilson Thomas, Virgil Thomson, Joan La Barbara, Randy Weston, the Kronos Quartet, Bang on a Can, Dawn Upshaw, Jack Beeson, Esa-Pekka Salonen, La Monte Young, and Meredith Monk. The Founders Award, named in honor of the six founders of the American Music Center (Aaron Copland, Howard Hansen, Marion Bauer, Otto Luening, Quincy Porter, and Harrison Kerr), is given to previous Letter of Distinction recipients to celebrate lifetime achievement in the field of new American music. Previous winners include Elliott Carter, Lou Harrison, Milton Babbitt, Gunther Schuller, and Steve Reich. Last year’s honoree was Francis Thorne. The Trailblazer Award, instituted in 2003, honors those deserving of commendation and support for their early and mid-career efforts in championing new music. Previous winners have included Matt Haimovitz, eighth blackbird, Derek Bermel, and the International Contemporary Ensemble. The New Music Educator Award was established by the Board of Directors in the 2006 fiscal year. This award is open to conductors, professors, lecturers, academics, and others who have made important contributions in the realm of education, but might not always be well known to the rest of the new music community. Previous winners include musicologist Charles Hamm and the New World Symphony. A full list of previous AMC Award winners is available on the AMC website.
—From the press release