American Academy of Arts and Letters Awards $175,000



Seventeen composers at various stages in their careers have been recognized with awards totaling $175,000 from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Candidates were nominated by the Academy’s membership and winners were selected by a panel which included Jack Beeson (chairman), Samuel Adler, Andrew Imbrie, Ezra Laderman, George Perle, Ned Rorem, Joan Tower, and George Walker. The awards will be presented at the Academy’s annual Ceremonial in May.

“Every dollar of grant or prize money represents hours of labor on the part of arts patrons and administrative staff,” notes award winner Cindy McTee, “so I accept this award, first of all, with gratitude to them.”

She adds that she finds it particularly validating to receive endorsement from an organization which represents and supports creative people from many disciplines. “The American Academy award helps me feel connected to a broader arts community.”

Eric Moe, who picked up the $5,000 Wladimir and Rhonda Lakond Award, notes that “recognition by some of those composers I most admire and respect – and who are the hardest to please – matters a great deal. I take it as an endorsement of the quality of the work I’ve done so far and a vote of confidence in the work I have yet to create.”

David Liptak also finds it is encouraging to receive the award from colleagues he admires. His award, one of the $7,500 Academy Awards in Music, includes an additional $7,500 to put towards the recording of a piece. “Perhaps most of all,” he says, however, “it is a tangible encouragement to keep going, and I am excited by the work I hope to accomplish in the future.”

Demonstrating how the awards actively promote composers and their work, James Matheson‘s Walter Hinrichsen Award provides for the publication of one of his works by C.F. Peters. He hopes the publication “by so prestigious a publishing house will help my music to reach more musicians, and so provide the opportunity to connect musically with more audiences.”

In addition to the recognition, Leslie Hogan is also practical about what the award will allow her to do. She explains that the “financial award will make it possible to pursue some short and long term projects much sooner than I might otherwise have been able to do, and without going into debt. Those projects range from establishing a home studio so that I can explore multimedia projects, to travel, to funding a recording of my chamber works.”

Academy Awards in Music-$7,500, plus an additional $7,500 towards the recording of one work
Honors outstanding artistic achievement and acknowledges the composer who has arrived at his or her own voice
Wladimir and Rhonda Lakond Award-$5,000
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, established by C.F. Peters Corporation in 1984
Charles Ives Fellowships-$15,000
Awarded to composers in mid-career since 1970, funded by the royalties of Charles Ives’s music
Charles Ives Scholarships-$7,500
Awarded to composition students of great promise