Musical America Awards Spano and Chanticleer


Opus 3 Artists Proudly Congratulates Robert Spano & Chanticleer

Musical America Announces 2008 Awards

NEW YORK -- Musical America today announced its 2008 Musician of the Year, continuing a tradition that dates back nearly a half-century, when Leonard Bernstein received the award, in 1960.

Russian soprano Anna Netrebko is Musician of the Year for 2008, identified by Musical America as "a genuine superstar for the 21st century." As did Bernstein in 1960's edition, Netrebko will grace the cover of the 2008 Musical America International Directory of the Performing Arts, often referred to in the business as the "bible" of the industry, with its comprehensive data bases and contact listings.

Also being honored are Composer of the Year Kaija Saariaho, Conductor of the Year Robert Spano, Instrumentalist of the Year Charles Rosen and Ensemble of the Year Chanticleer. All will receive their awards in a special ceremony at Lincoln Center on Dec. 13.

Having come very far, very fast, Netrebko perhaps epitomizes the opera star of today, her natural beauty and fine acting skills complimenting what is widely acknowledged as one of the finest female voices on the operatic stage today. Mentored by Valery Gergiev, artistic director of St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theater and Kirov Opera, Netrebko made her breakthrough performances at the Salzburg Festival, most notably in 2005 as Violetta in "Traviata." Later this month, she makes her Deutsche Oper Berlin debut in the same role. In December, she returns to New York to continue the Metropolitan Opera season's run of Gounod's Roméo et Juliette.

Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho swore she would never write an opera and then went on to win the 2003 Grawemeyer for her first one, L'Amour de loin, premiered at the 2000 Salzburg Festival. Her second, Adriana Mater, receives its U.S. premiere at the Santa Fe Opera next summer. The beneficiary of Finland's remarkable musical education system, Saariaho is among the few contemporary composers to achieve public acclaim as well as universal critical respect. In the last decade alone she has had commissions from the major orchestras of Cleveland, Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, and Paris.

Robert Spano is that rare American conductor who has been able to launch a successful career in his native country. Known for his imaginative programming and deep commitment to music of his own era, Spano in his six years with the Atlanta Symphony has brought the orchestra increasingly into the limelight with a commissioning and recording programming that is the envy of orchestras everywhere.

Pianist Charles Rosen, at age 80, continues to pursue his musical and literary careers with vigor and distinction. His performances of the late Beethoven Sonatas in London and New York were described by critics as "poetic," "masterly," and "a lava-flow of invention." At the same time, he is an active proponent of contemporary repertoire, having worked in the past with such masters as Boulez, Carter and Stravinsky.

Now in its 30th-aniversary season, the independent, all-male Chanticleer, 12 voices strong, boasts a repertoire range from Gregorian chant to classic pop to contemporary classical music. The group has some 30 recordings to its credit and has commissioned 60 new works. Two of its recordings have won Grammy awards.

The Musical America Awards date to the first year the International Directory of the Performing Arts was published, in 1960. Traditionally, the Musician of the Year's photo is the cover illustration for that year's edition.

In addition to its annual awards and the Directory, Musical America is, which traces its roots back to the weekly newspaper, Musical America, first published in 1898. Through the years, Musical America has shifted owners and formats numerous times. It is currently owned and operated by Commonwealth Business Media, a subsidiary of United Business Media.

Musicians of the Year

1960: Leonard Bernstein
1961: Leontyne Price
1962: Igor Stravinsky
1963: Erich Leinsdorf
1964: Benjamin Britten
1965: Vladimir Horowitz
1966: Yehudi Menuhin
1967: Leopold Stokowski
1968-69:Birgit Nilsson
1970: Beverly Sills
1971: Michael Tilson Thomas
1972: Pierre Boulez
1973: George Balanchine
1974: Sarah Caldwell
1975: Eugene Ormandy
1976: Arthur Rubinstein
1977: Plácido Domingo
1978: Alicia de Larrocha
1979: Rudolf Serkin
1980: Zubin Mehta
1981: Itzhak Perlman
1982: Jessye Norman
1983: Nathan Milstein
1984: James Levine
1985: Philip Glass
1986: Isaac Stern
1987: Mstislav Rostropovich
1988: Sir Georg Solti
1989: Leonard Bernstein
1990: Herbert von Karajan
1991: Gian Carlo Menotti
1992: Robert Shaw
1993: Kurt Masur
1994: Christa Ludwig
1995: Marilyn Horne
1996: The Juilliard String Quartet
1997: James Galway
1998: Seiji Ozawa
1999: André Previn
2000: Carnegie Hall
2001: Martha Argerich
2002: Sir Simon Rattle
2003: Kronos Quartet
2004: Wynton Marsalis
2005: Karita Mattila
2006: Esa-Pekka Salonen
2007: Bernard Haitink
2008: Anna Netrebko