James Matheson has won the Charles Ives Living award and will receive $200,000 over a two-year period, beginning July 2012. Although the Charles Ives Living winner agrees to forgo all salaried employment during the award period, there is no restriction on accepting composition commissions.
The award was announced by J. D. McClatchy, president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and Matheson responded, “Two years devoted exclusively to composition is a luxury almost beyond my ability to imagine. My deepest thanks go to the Academy—and to the ghosts of Charles and Harmony Ives—for making possible this astonishing gift of time.”
The selection committee included John Corigliano (chairman), Martin Bresnick, John Harbison, Stephen Hartke, and Tania León. On their selection, Bresnick noted, “James Matheson is a composer of significant accomplishment and even greater imaginative potential. He is an ideal Ives Living winner—independent, industrious, and poised for a major contribution to American music.”
Matheson was born in 1970 in Des Moines, Iowa, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. He became the director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Composer Fellowship Program in September of 2009. He has received the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship (2008) and the Hinrichsen Award (2002) from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was also the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 2000. From 2005–2007, Matheson was executive director of the MATA Festival of New Music in New York. His music has been performed by the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, the Chicago and Albany Symphony Orchestras, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Orchestra 2001 (Philadelphia), LA’s Monday Evening Concerts Series, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, and the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble. In December 2007, the Los Angeles Philharmonic presented the West Coast Premiere of Matheson’s Songs of Desire, Love and Loss, which was commissioned by Carnegie Hall and premiered in October 2004 as part of Dawn Upshaw’s Perspectives series. In February 2008, Antares presented the world premiere of The Anatomy of Melancholy at the Ravinia Festival. His Violin Concerto, co-commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, will receive its world premiere by the CSO later this month.
The Charles Ives Living was inaugurated in 1998 with the selection of Martin Bresnick. Chen Yi was the second winner in 2001, Stephen Hartke was the third winner, in 2004, and George Tsontakis followed in 2007.
(—from the press release)