American Academy of Arts and Letters Announces 2004 Music Award Winners

The American Academy of Arts and Letters has announced the recipients of this year’s awards in music.

Academy Award in Music—$7500 plus an additional $7500 toward the recording of one work, honors outstanding artistic achievement and acknowledges the composer who has arrived at his or her own voice

Wladimir and Rhoda Lakond Award—$5000

Goddard Lieberson Fellowships—$15,000, endowed in 1978 by the CBS Foundation, given to mid-career composers of exceptional gifts

Walter Hinrichsen Award—for the publication of a work by a gifted composer, est. by the C.F. Peters Corporation

Charles Ives Fellowships—$15,000 each, drawn from the bequeathed royalties of Charles Ives’ music

Charles Ives Scholarships—$7500, given to composition students of great promise

The winners were selected by a committee of Academy members: Olly Wilson (chairman), Samuel Adler, Jack Beeson, Mario Davidovsky, Andrew Imbrie, Ezra Laderman, and Ned Rorem. 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.

Biographies of 2004 Award Winners in Music (courtesy of the Academy)

Judah E. Adashi (Charles Ives Scholarship), of Baltimore, MD, is a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with Nicholas Maw and earned a Master’s degree in composition. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music with honors from Yale University. He is pursuing his composition studies with John Harbison. Mr. Adashi’s honors include the P. Bruce Blair Award in Composition, the Ada Arens Morawetz Memorial Award in Composition, Peabody Director’s Career Development Grants, Peabody Merit Scholarships, cum laude recognition in the Diana Barnhart Art Song Competition, and a BMI Student Composer Award. He has recently won the Cantate Chamber Singers’ Young Composer Contest, the Auros Group for New Music’s Composition Competition, the Aspen Summer Music Festival’s Jacob Druckman Orchestral Composition, and an ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award.

Stephen Blumberg (Walter Hinrichsen Award) was born in New York City in 1962, received his Ph.D. in composition from the University of California, Berkeley, and his M.A. and B.A. degrees from the University of California, San Diego. He has studied with Richard Felciano and Andrew Imbrie at U.C. Berkeley, and Bernard Rands, Will Odgon, Joji Yuasa, Pauline Oliveros and Roger Reynolds at U.C. San Diego. In France from 1991 to 1993 as the recipient of the U.C. Berkeley Music Department’s George Ladd Prix de Paris Fellowship, he studied privately with Ivo Malec, participated in a three-week workshop, “La Session de Composition,” led by Brian Ferneyhough and Luis de Pablo at l’Abbey de Royaumont, and worked at Les Ateliers UPIC, the computer music center founded by Iannis Xenakis. Blumberg has also won two Nicola De Lorenzo Prizes for Composition and a BMI Student Composer Award. Blumberg has taught as a graduate student instructor and lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, and is Assistant Professor in composition and Music Theory at California State University, Sacramento, where he was appointed Artist in Residence for the 1997-98 academic year.

Susan Botti (Lieberson Fellowship) is the Daniel R. Lewis Young Composer Fellow with the Cleveland Orchestra. In 2003-2004, they will premiere a new orchestral work, and have commissioned a large piece for orchestra to premiere in the 2004-2005 season. Her orchestral work, EchoTempo, for soprano, percussion, and orchestra, was commissioned and premiered by Maestro Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic, with Ms. Botti as soprano soloist. A CD of her vocal chamber music, listen, it’s snowing, features Ms. Botti’s operatic soliloquy, for soprano, string quartet, harp, piano & percussion, Telaio: Desdemona. A commission from the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra for solo violin and chamber orchestra, Within Darkness, was premiered at Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Center in 2000. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Ms. Botti’s early training included studies in music, art and theater. She earned her Bachelor of Music from the Berklee School in Boston and her Masters in Music Composition from the Manhattan School of Music. She is the recipient of grants from Meet The Composer, the NEA, The Aaron Copland Fund, The Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, The NY Foundation for the Arts, The Greenwall Foundation, The Jerome Foundation, ASCAP, and the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts. Ms. Botti is Assistant Professor of Composition at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Miguel Chuaqui (Academy Award in Music), a Chilean-American composer, began his studies in music at the Escuela Moderna de Música and the Universidad Católica de Chile. In 1984, he transferred to the University of California at Berkeley and went on to pursue graduate studies in composition there under the guidance of Andrew Imbrie. Dr. Chuaqui’s compositions have been commissioned by, among others, the Fromm Foundation and Earplay. His works are recorded on CRI and Albany Records and have been performed in the U.S. and abroad by ensembles such as Parnassus, Speculum Musicae, Earplay, the Abramyan String Quartet, Left Coast Ensemble, Empyrean Ensemble, Octagon, New York’s Riverside Symphony, Canyonlands, and the Chilean ensembles Bartok and ANCC (Asociación Nacional de Compositores de Chile). His awards include the Eisner Prize, the Nicola de Lorenzo Award, and an Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Justin Dello Joio (Academy Award in Music) is the 7th generation of composers in the Dello Joio family. He began piano at age 5, studying with the renowned pianist and teacher Miecslav Munz. He began composing at age 5, and studied at the Juilliard School where he received a B.M., M.M., and D.M.A. degrees in composition, studying with Vincent Persichetti, Roger Sessions, and David Diamond. Dello Joio is currently published by G. Schirmer and Theodore Presser Co. His music has been performed by the Detroit Symphony and other orchestras; his Sonata for Piano was broadcast at its premiere at the Festival of American Arts at the National Gallery in Washington D.C., and his String Quartet #1 was premiered and recorded by the Primavera String Quartet. Mr. Dello Joio has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, as well as two previous awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters: the Lakond Award and, while a student, the Charles Ives Scholarship. He has been recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, The CAPS grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and Meet the Composer. Mr. Dello Joio is currently the Faculty Composer-in-Residence at New York University.

Judd Greenstein (Charles Ives Scholarship) was born and raised in Greenwich Village in New York City. He attended Williams College, studying composition with David Kechley, and majoring in Music and Political Science. In the summer of 2002, he was an artist-in-residence at the first Bang on a Can Summer Institute of Music at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, MA. Greenstein is the co-Artistic Director of NOW Ensemble and is a second-year Masters student at the Yale School of Music, where he has studied with Martin Bresnick, Aaron Jay Kernis and Ezra Laderman. This summer, he will be a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, MA.

Trent Johnson (Wladimir and Rhoda Lakond Award) is a composer, organist, pianist and conductor. He has written works for the Oratorio Singers of Westfield, the Halcyon Trio, the New Jersey Saxophone Ensemble, and the Colonial Symphony. He was the featured composer on the new music forum, Ars Vitalis at Kean University, and been the recipient of several Meet the Composer grants. Mr. Johnson is a graduate of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and The Juilliard School. He is the Director of Music and Arts and Organist of the First United Methodist Church in Westfield, New Jersey, and conductor of the Oratorio Singers and Orchestra of Westfield. Johnson has appeared in organ recitals at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., in New York City at the Riverside Church and St. Thomas’ Church, at Boston’s Trinity Church in Copley Square, and Newark’s Sacred Heart Cathedral. He has been invited to be an organ recitalist at the Second International Organ Festival in Kiev, Ukraine, in May 2004.

Matthew Kajcienski (Charles Ives Scholarship) is studying with John Corigliano at the Juilliard School, where he is a Masters degree student. His composition teachers include Samuel Adler, Edward Bilous, Ladislav Kubik, and Paul Chihara. His awards include The Juilliard School Composition Competition, and an ASCAP/Morton Gould Award. He has been Composer-in-Residence with Manhattan Virtuosi, and with Ensemble du Monde. His works have been performed by The Juilliard Orchestra, the Seoul National Radio Symphony and Ensemble du Monde.

Kristin P. Kuster (Charles Ives Fellowship) recently completed Rorate caeli for mixed chorus, The Narrows for orchestra, and Ando: light against shade for chamber ensemble. Her most recent commissions are from Vox Early Music Ensemble, Quorum, and the Colby College Chorale. Dr. Kuster has received grants, awards from the Brave New Works ensemble, the University of Michigan, the University of Colorado, the Jack L. Adams Foundation, and ASCAP. She founded the Patricia C. Peterson Grants for the Humanities Fund, supporting University of Colorado graduate students in the Humanities. Dr. Kuster is currently an Adjunct Lecturer of Composition, Theory, and Performing Arts Technology at the University of Michigan.

Jorge Liderman (Academy Award in Music) was born in Buenos Aires, studied at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem, and earned his doctorate in composition from the University of Chicago where he worked with Ralph Shapey and Shulamit Ran. He is on the composition faculty at the University of California, Berkeley. His works have been commissioned and performed by the London Sinfonietta, the American Composers Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Tanglewood Orchestra, Radio France, the Netherlands Wind Ensemble, the Nieuw Ensemble, the Arditti String Quartet, Cuarteto Latinoamericano, Boston Musica Viva, Milan Divertimento Ensemble, Chicago Pro Musica, and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. Liderman’s music has been featured at Darmstadt, Nuova Consonanza, Stuttgart’s Neue Musik, Semaines Musicales Internationales d’Orleans, Mexico’s International Forum, London’s Viva, Osaka’s Expo 90, the International Rostrum of Composers, Paris, and Holland’s Proms. He has been awarded a BMW International Music Theater Prize, a Radio France award, the Argentine Tribune of Composers Prize, and the ASCAP Raymond Hubell Music Award. He was a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and the Darmstadt Internationales Musikinstitut, and the ASCAP Raymond Hubell Music Award.

Harold Meltzer (Charles Ives Fellowship), has won prizes and fellowships from the Ford Foundation, ASCAP, NACUSA, and the Fisher Foundation, and has been in residence at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Study and Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Ragdale, VCCA, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. He graduated summa cum laude from Amherst College, earned degrees in music from the Yale School of Music and King’s College, Cambridge, and a law degree from Columbia University. He has been commissioned by the Commissioning Music/USA program of Meet The Composer, the National Flute Association, the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota, and the Composers Commissioning Program of the American Composers Forum. Recordings of his music are on Albany and CRI labels. He is currently Sequitur’s Artistic Director and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellow.

Tamar Muskal (Charles Ives Scholarship) earned her BA from the Music Academy in Israel, and her MA from Yale University, where she studied with Jacob Druckman, Martin Bresnick and Ezra Laderman. She continued her studies at CUNY, with David Del Tredici and Tania Leon. Recent commissions have included pieces for Westchester Philharmonic, Richmond Symphony, Music From Copland House, Eighth Blackbird Ensemble and Ethos Percussion Group. Recent theater compositions include Angels in America, The Labor of Life, and The Seven Beggars. Ms. Muskal has received awards and fellowships from ASCAP, Meet the Composer, the Jerome Foundation, American Music Center, and Yale University.

Jeff Myers (Charles Ives Scholarship) is a California native. He studied at San Jose State University with Brian Belet, at the Eastman School of Music with David Liptak, and is a DMA candidate at the University of Michigan, where he studies composition with Bright Sheng. He has received commissions from the Fromm Foundation, SCI/ASCAP, and the New York Youth Symphony. He has twice been awarded BMI Student Composer Awards.

Virginia Samuel (Wladimir and Rhoda Lakond Award) earned a Ph.D. in Composition at Harvard University, and has studied with Donald Martino, Malcolm Peyton, and Andrew Imbrie. Her Bachelor of Music degree in viola performance and Master of Music degree in composition were earned at New England Conservatory. Her composition awards include the Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and commissions from EarPlay and the Peabody Trio. She won the Boston Chamber Ensemble competition, a fellowship from the New Jersey State Arts Council, and Harvard University’s Bohemian Prize for Uttermost parts of the sea and for solo viola. Her music is published by Henmar Press (C.F. Peters Edition). She currently lives in London, England.

Aaron Travers (Charles Ives Scholarship) was born in Portsmouth, Virginia in 1975. He received a BA in Classics and a BM in Composition from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music, as well as an MA in Composition from the Eastman School of Music. His teachers include Richard Hoffmann, Sydney Hodkinson, Augusta Read Thomas, Christopher Rouse and Steven Stucky. Mr. Travers has received several awards including the AGO/ECS Publishing Award, the Chicago Symphony First Hearing Award and the Barlow Prize. He has received commissions from the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Barlow Endowment, the South Dakota Symphony, the Tarab Cello Ensemble and Gloria Musicae of Sarasota, Florida. Mr. Travers’ works have been performed throughout the United States, Canada and France. He has been active as a teacher at both Eastman and Hamilton College in both composition and theory, and he remains active as a performer and proponent of new music. He is currently completing his doctorate at the Eastman School of Music.

Richard Wilson (Academy Award in Music) has composed over eighty works. His awards include the Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Cleveland Arts Prize, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Recent commissions have come from the Koussevitzky and Fromm Foundations. His works have been performed by the San Francisco Symphony, the London Philharmonic, the American Symphony, the Pro-Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston, the Orquesta Sinfonica de Colombia, the Residentie Orkest of The Hague, and the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. Six CDs containing Mr. Wilson’s music have recently been released, and include his complete choral music, Symphony No. 1, an opera in seven scenes, and String Quartets Nos. 3 and 4. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard, Mr. Wilson holds the Mary Conover Mellon Chair in Music at Vassar; he is also Composer-in-Residence with the American Symphony Orchestra, for which he gives pre-concert talks.

Evan Ziporyn (Lieberson Fellowship) has had compositions performed by the Kronos Quartet, Bang On A Can, Nederlands Blazer Ensemble, master p’ipaist Wu Man, Gamelan Sekar Jaya, Maya Beiser and Steven Schick, Arden Trio, California EAR Unit, pianist Sarah Cahill, and Orkest de Volharding. His work is informed by his 23-year involvement with Balinese gamelan, which has ranged from intensive study of traditional music to the creation of a series of groundbreaking works for gamelan and western instruments. He has been associated with the Bang On A Can Festival since its founding, appearing as composer, soloist, and ensemble leader. He regularly performs and records as a featured soloist with Steve Reich and Musicians, and shared in their 1999 Grammy for “Music for 18 Musicians”. Born in Chicago in 1959, Ziporyn received degrees from Yale University and the University of California, Berkeley, where his teachers included John Blacking, Martin Bresnick, Gerard Grisey, and David Lewin. Upon completing a Fullbright Fellowship in Indonesia, he became Musical Coordinator of San Francisco’s Gamelan Sekar Jaya in 1988. He has received grants from the Rockefeller Multi-Arts Program, Meet the Composer, the New England Foundation for the Arts, NEA/Arts International, ASCAP, the Cambridge Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he is Head of Music and Theater Arts.