The American Academy of Arts and Letters has announced the seventeen recipients of this year’s awards in music, which total $205,000.
Four composers—Robert Carl, Robert Kyr, Sean Shepherd, and Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon—will each receive a $10,000 Arts and Letters Award in Music, which honors outstanding artistic achievement by a composer who has arrived at his or her own voice. Each will receive an additional $10,000 toward the recording of one work. Chia-Yu Hsu will receive the $10,000 Lakond Award in Music Composition, which was established through a bequest from Wladimir and Rhoda Lakond. Keith Fitch will receive the Walter Hinrichsen Award for the publication of a work by a gifted composer. This award was established by the C. F. Peters Corporation, music publishers, in 1984. Brett Banducci will receive the Andrew Imbrie Award of $10,000 for a composer of demonstrated artistic merit. Huang Ruo and Amy Williams are the recipients of this year’s two $15,000 Goddard Lieberson Fellowships. Named after composer and record producer Goddard Lieberson, these fellowships were endowed in 1978 by the CBS Foundation and are given to mid-career composers of exceptional gifts. Finally, Harmony Ives, the widow of Charles Ives, bequeathed to the Academy the royalties of Charles Ives’s music, which has empowered the Academy to give Ives awards in composition since 1970. Two Charles Ives Fellowships, of $15,000, will be awarded to Hannah Lash and Eric Wubbels. In addition, Thomas Kotcheff, Scott Lee, Dylan Mattingly, Jeffrey Parola, Sonnet Swire, and Liliya Ugay will each receive a Charles Ives Scholarship of $7500, given to composition students of great promise.
The winners were selected by a committee of Academy members: Yehudi Wyner (chairman), Martin Boykan, Martin Bresnick, Mario Davidovsky, Stephen Hartke, Stephen Jaffe, and Tobias Picker. 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.
In addition, three musicals have received Richard Rodgers Awards: Costs of Living by Timony Huang and We Live in Cairo by Patrick Lazour (book and lyrics) and Daniel Lazour (book and music), which have both been awarded staged readings; and Hadestown by Anaïs Mitchell, which was given a production award. The Rodgers Award, which was endowed in 1978, provides financial support for productions and staged readings of original musicals by non-profit theaters in New York City; it is the only award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for which applications are accepted. The jury for this year’s award were David Lang (chairman), Lynn Ahrens, Sheldon Harnick, Richard Maltby, Jr., Jenine Tesori, and John Weidman. Librettist/lyricist Michael Korie will receive the Marc Blitzstein Award for Musical Theater of $10,000. Established in 1965 by friends of the late Academician Marc Blitzstein in his memory, the award is given to a composer, lyricist, or librettist to encourage the creation of works of merit for musical theater and opera. The jurors were John Harbison (chairman), J. D. McClatchy, Shulamit Ran, Augusta Read Thomas, and Yehudi Wyner.
The American Academy of Arts and Letters was founded in 1898 as an honor society of the country’s leading architects, artists, composers, and writers. The Academy’s 250 members are elected for life and pay no dues. In addition to electing new members as vacancies occur, the Academy seeks to foster and sustain an interest in Literature, Music, and the Fine Arts by administering over 70 awards and prizes, exhibiting art and manuscripts, funding performances of new works of musical theater, and purchasing artwork for donation to museums across the country.
(—from the press release)