New Music News Wire

  • Tsontakis Wins Ives Living Award
  • BMI Foundation Announces Carlos Surinach Awards
  • Meredith Monk Turns Over Her Archives to NYPL
  • European American and Subito Announce Joint Service Initiatives
  • Copland House Announces 2006 Awardees

  • Tsontakis Wins Ives Living Award

    George Tsontakis has been chosen to receive the Charles Ives Living, which gives a talented composer an income of $75,000 a year for a period of three years, for a total of $225,000. The announcement was made by Ezra Laderman, president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The purpose of the Ives Living is to free a promising American composer from the need to devote his or her time to any employment other than music composition. It is the Academy’s intent to provide through this award an income sufficient to ensure that freedom for a period of three years. Tsontakis, the fourth composer to be chosen for this honor, will begin the three-year term in July 2007.

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    George Tsontakis
    Photo courtesy Theodore Presser Company

    Tsontakis, born 1951 in New York City and now residing in Shokan, New York, is currently the distinguished faculty composer-in-residence at Bard College. Although the Charles Ives Living winner agrees to forgo all salaried employment during the award period, there is no restriction on accepting composing commissions. In accepting the award, George Tsontakis said, “I felt a complex mixture of emotions, a bit giddy with exhilaration, yet at almost the same moment a realization that there was a message attached to the gesture, in that a serious rededication to my work was beckoning. I am excited and very grateful to the Academy for this wonderful gift to my music, as well as moved by my colleagues for their vote of confidence in my work. The Ives Living will impact not only the next three years but the rest of my life; I only hope that I might be able to live up to its message.”

    Laderman, also a composer, said, “The selection of George Tsontakis follows in the Ives Living tradition which identifies a composer of enormous talent who is on the threshold of becoming a household name. What I’ve always admired about him is that he idealizes Beethoven in his music; in every work he includes a quote from a Beethoven work, such as the Egmont Overture or the Fifth Symphony. His music is both intellectually demanding and highly accessible, a rare and wonderful combination if you can pull it off. George does.”

    William Bolcom, chairman of the selection committee, and the other committee members—T. J. Anderson, Robert Beaser, David Del Tredici, and Joseph Schwantner—studied scores and recordings over a six-month period to arrive at their choice of George Tsontakis. Bolcom said, “There are a slew of awards for young composers. There aren’t nearly enough for composers who have gained a solid reputation, who are in mid-career and sorely in need of more time to compose. For the last thousand years, only a handful of composers have actually made a living from their craft. For someone like George Tsontakis, the Charles Ives Living affords precious and well-deserved time to create. It is a great boon to him and potentially to American music.”

    The Charles Ives Living was inaugurated in 1998 with the selection of Martin Bresnick. Chen Yi became the second winner, in 2001, and Stephen Hartke was chosen in 2004; his three-year term ends in June 2007. George Tsontakis becomes the fourth winner of the Charles Ives Living. Harmony Ives, the widow of Charles Ives, left to the Academy the royalties from her husband’s music to establish a fund for prizes in music composition. Since 1970, the Academy has given 200 Ives scholarships, and since 1983, 32 Ives fellowships. These awards continue to be given annually.

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    BMI Foundation Announces Carlos Surinach Awards

    On December 5, 2006, Ralph N. Jackson, president of the BMI Foundation, Inc., announced that bassoonist Peter Kolkay is the recipient of the Carlos Surinach Prize, given to an emerging artist in recognition of “outstanding service to American music,” and that composer Judah E. Adashi is the winner of the Carlos Surinach Commission.

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    (L to R) BMI Foundation President Ralph N. Jackson, Carlos Surinach Commission winner Judah E. Adashi, Carlos Surinach Prize winner Peter Kolkay and Concert Artist Guild President Richard S. Weinert.
    Photo by Dana Rodriguez, courtesy BMI

    Established by a bequest from late BMI classical composer Carlos Surinach, these awards are given in cooperation with the Concert Artists Guild (CAG), a non-profit organization whose mission is to discover, nurture, and promote young musicians. Each year, a performer is selected from the roster of CAG’s international competition winners. The performer then chooses a composer from a pool of recent BMI Student Composer Award winners who will create a new work written specifically for that performer to premiere.

    Composer Judah E. Adashi has been honored with awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the BMI Student Composer Awards, and the Aspen Music Festival, and has twice been in residence at the Yaddo artist colony. Recent commissions have come from the Aspen Music Festival and from the Arc Duo. Adashi directs the composition program at the Peabody Preparatory and is on the music theory faculty at the Peabody Conservatory. He also directs the Evolution Contemporary Music Series at An Die Musik, a Baltimore concert venue where he is composer-in-residence. His principal composition teachers have been Nicholas Maw and John Harbison; he holds degrees from Yale University and the Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University.

    Peter Kolkay became the first bassoonist ever to receive the First Prize in the Concert Artists Guild International Competition in 2002, and in 2004 he was the first bassoonist ever to be awarded the Avery Fisher Career Grant. As part of his solo recital debut in 2002 at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, Kolkay gave the world premiere performance of Elliott Carter’s Retracing for solo bassoon and the New York premiere of Carter’s Au Quai for bassoon and viola with Maureen Gallagher, a work they subsequently recorded for Bridge Records. Kolkay opened the 2003-2004 season in New York City as a member of the Zankel Band, a select group of musicians chosen to work with John Adams for the opening of Carnegie’s Zankel Hall. Last season, Kolkay gave the world premiere performances of Harold Meltzer’s Concerto for Two Bassoons and Orchestra with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra and bassoonist Rufus Oliver under the direction of Ben Simon.

    Kolkay is scheduled to premiere Adashi’s commissioned work in a performance at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin in 2007.

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    Meredith Monk Turns Over Her Archives to NYPL

    On December 6, 2006, Paul LeClerc, president of The New York Public Library, announced that The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts has acquired the archive of Meredith Monk. “Over a period of more than 40 years Meredith Monk has created a body of strikingly original works that challenge traditional forms and styles,” said LeClerc. “At the Library for the Performing Arts, her archive will be preserved as a source of knowledge and inspiration for future generations of creative artists, scholars, students, writers, and anyone interested in understanding the nature and impact of her work.”

    The archive consists of both personal and professional papers, including audio/visual material, music scores, process notebooks, personal notebooks (dreams and ideas), research material, slides and photographs, correspondence, writings by and about Monk (including interview transcripts), production folders, copies of storyboards, project records, financial records, programs, awards, clippings, posters, and marketing/publicity materials. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of her performances, researchers will be able to go to any of the Library’s divisional service desks—dance, theater, music, or recorded sound—to request materials from this collection.

    “Meredith Monk’s boundary-breaking work has inspired us to rethink the way we classify artists’ collections at the Library for the Performing Arts,” said Jacqueline Z. Davis, the Barbara G. and Lawrence A. Fleischman Executive Director of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. “Rather than categorize her to fit into one of our four existing research divisions, we have created a new Performing Arts classification to accommodate the personal artistic vision that she has expressed over the decades.”

    Asked to comment about the archive, Monk replied, “Preservation was my highest priority, but how the archive can live on in the future was just as important. In the end, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts was the best choice. I believed my work should remain in New York City with the largest community of creative artists and arts enthusiasts—all those who can benefit from these resources—where the archive can continue to give rise to new connections and synergies.”

    The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts has had a long relationship with Meredith Monk. In 1977 the library filmed Quarry at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and in 1993 it filmed Education of the Girlchild at The Joyce Theater. In 1996, the library celebrated her extraordinary achievements with a retrospective exhibition, Meredith Monk: Archeology of an Artist. Designed by the artist herself, the exhibition brought together artifacts and other items representing productions from the start of Monk’s career in 1964 through to her latest work. Taken as a whole, the props, original designs, storyboards, programs, posters, photographs, recordings, and films revealed Monk’s unique artistic perspective, which continues to guide her creation of imaginative new worlds.

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    European American and Subito Announce Joint Service Initiatives

    European American Music Distributors LLC, a member of the international Schott Music Group, and Subito Music Corporation, one of America’s leading publishers of contemporary classical music and a leading provider of printing and production services to classical publishers, has announced the formation of a new Rental Service Center to handle the distribution of the rental catalogs of both companies. Additionally, EAM will manage the licensing of dramatic performances and audio-visual synchronizations of the Subito Music catalog. Publishing and promotion of the EAM and Subito catalogs will continue to be operated independently by each company.

    Stephen Culbertson, founder and president of Subito Music Corporation, said: “By bringing Schott/EAM’s rental library fulfillment to our facility in Verona, we will increase efficiency and ensure excellent customer service for both companies. We are looking forward to working with the EAM staff as well as presenters around the country to accomplish this.”

    European American Music Distributors LLC, a member of the Schott Music Group, is the North American rental and licensing representative for the complete catalogs of the Schott Music Group, Universal Edition, European American Music Corporation, and Schott Helicon Music Corporation, as well the concert and opera catalogs of Warner/Chappell Music, Alfred Publishing (including Belwin-Mills and Lawson-Gould), and the MCA/Universal Music Publishing Group, among others. Subito Music Corporation, established in 1980, is a full-service music publisher, offering typesetting and printing, promotion, rental, sales, and copyright administration for composers and publishers.

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    Copland House Announces 2006 Awardees

    Copland House (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) has announced the 2006 Aaron Copland Awards, which will allow nine American composers to enjoy three- to eight-week all-expenses-paid residencies in Copland’s rustic, secluded hilltop home in New York’s lower Hudson River Valley. The awardees are Clarice Assad, 28, of New York, N.Y.; Derek Bermel, 39, of Brooklyn; Daniel Brewbaker, 55, of New York, N.Y.; Tom Cipullo, 49, of Long Island City, N.Y.; Edward Knight, 41, of Oklahoma City; Janet Maguire, 79, of Venice, Italy; Henry Martin, 56, of New York, N.Y.; Russell Platt, 41, of New York, N.Y.; and Rob Smith, 38, of Houston.

    Edited by Frank J. Oteri