New Music Connoisseur to honor four at September gala

New Music Connoisseur
New Music Connoisseur

As part of their Gala 2000 concert, New Music Connoisseur will be honoring four advocates of new music. The concert and awards ceremony, which will be held on September 18th at New York University, will dedicated to the memory of Otto Luening, to mark the one hundredth anniversary of his birth. Joel Sachs and Cheryl Seltzer will receive the Year 2000 New Music Champion Award, in recognition of their inspiration to several generations of musicians. Leighton Kerner, longtime writer for the Village Voice, will be honored with a special Honorary Music Critics Award. New Music Connoisseur will also present its first Young Music Critics Apprenticeship Program Award to the 27-year-old writer and pianist Laurie Hudicek.

Jack Beeson will host the event, which will include a short talk by Mark Grant, author of Maestros of the Pen, as well as several musical performances. Three pieces will receive premieres: Gene Pritsker’s Beneath the Wheel, for two guitars; Joseph Pehrson’s Tuba Miracle, for solo tuba, and Allan Jaffe’s Doves and Crocodiles for soprano and guitar. Two of the award recipients will perform: Cheryl Seltzer will perform Franghiz Ali-Zadeh‘s Watercolors, with soprano Melanie Mitrano and flutist Margaret Lancaster. In addition, Laurie Hudicek will present music by Martino and Cowell. Otto Luening will be represented by his Three Nocturnes for flute and electronics, performed by Margaret Lancaster.

The New Music Champion Award was first presented two years ago to Francis Thorne. Barry Cohen emphasized that the award is supposed to "honor people for the intangibles." He went on to say that NMC is not specifically honoring Continuum, Sachs’ and Seltzer’s new music ensemble that is celebrating its thirty-fifth anniversary this season. Rather, Cohen explained that with this award, NMC is recognizing Sachs and Seltzer for their contributions to the lives of young people. Both recipients are teachers: Sachs at The Juilliard School, where he directs the New Juilliard Ensemble, and Seltzer at the Lucy Moses School.

According to Cohen, the other two awards are designed to "celebrate the musical press." The Honorary Music Critics Award recipient, Leighton Kerner, is known for his interest in new music. Cohen called Kerner an "old-fashioned classic critic," someone who goes to concerts with a score in hand. The recipient of the YMCAP award, Laurie Hudicek, answered a call for submissions from NMC with a paper on Cage that she had written while a student at the University of Maryland. Hudicek is now the newsletter’s "Beltway Correspondent."

The New Music Connoisseur is a quarterly newsletter focusing on the work of the composers of our time, with additional coverage of rare and neglected classical music from all national and ethnic sources. The publication is in its eighth year, and it features reviews of live concerts, as well as broadcast and recorded media. The magazine recently added a column entitled "At Your Service," which features descriptions of different organizations devoted to composers. Portions of the newsletter are available online, but print copies of the newsletter are available by subscription only. A special edition of the newsletter will be available at the September concert and awards ceremony.