Spano Named Champion of New Music Awards for 2016 by ACF

Robert Spano
American Composers Forum

The American Composers Forum (ACF) Board of Directors has voted to present its 2016 “Champion of New Music” award to four outstanding recipients:  Pianist and Contemporary Chamber Ensemble founding member Gilbert Kalish; Opera Parallèle’s artistic director, conductor, and founder Nicole Paiement; new music writer, blogger and New Yorker magazine columnist Alex Ross; and conductor, pianist, composer and pedagogue Robert Spano at public ceremonies this year. The “Champion of New Music” award was established by ACF in 2005 as a national mark of recognition to honor individuals or ensembles that have made a significant contribution to the work and livelihoods of contemporary composers.
ACF President and CEO John Nuechterlein will present the awards at three events in the coming months:  The award to Robert Spano will be given on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at Atlanta Symphony Hall during a concert featuring the world premiere of Jonathan Leshnoff’s Zohar.
The award to Nicole Paiement will be given on Saturday, April 30, 2016 at Z Space in San Francisco – during a performance of The Lighthouse by Peter Maxwell Davies.  The awards to Gilbert Kalish and Alex Ross will be given at dates and venues yet to be determined.
Past recipients of the Award include the American Composers Orchestra, flutist Claire Chase, conductor Michael Morgan (all 2015); conductor Marin Alsop, retired ASCAP Vice President of Concert Music Frances Richard, percussionist Steven Schick (all 2014); the JACK Quartet (2012); eighth blackbird (2011); Bill Ryan and the Valley State University New Music Ensemble (2010); Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra, Philip Brunelle and VocalEssence (both 2009;, Bruce Carlson and The Schubert Club (2007), Dale Warland and the Dale Warland Singers (2006); and Cindy Gehrig and the Jerome Foundation (2005).  Conductor, pianist, composer and pedagogue Robert Spano has been with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for 15 seasons. As Music Director of the Aspen Music Festival and School, he oversees the programming of more than 300 events and educational programs for 630 students, including Aspen’s American Academy of Conducting.   Some career highlights include the world premiere of Steven Stucky’s The Classical Style in Ojai and its New York premiere at Carnegie Hall in December 2014.  An Aspen highlight was the August 2014 premiere of Spano’s Hölderlin Songs with soprano Susanna Phillips and, in September, Spano joined Atlanta-based dance company glo for four performances of his new solo piano work Tanz III. Last season, Maestro Spano conducted two world premieres with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra – Christopher Theofanidis’ Creation/Creator and Michael Gandolfi’s Imaginary Numbers – and joined the Houston Symphony for a Higdon/Chopin program. Guest conducting engagements included a U.S. tour with the Curtis Institute of Music (featuring a Jennifer Higdon world premiere viola concerto) and an engagement with the New England Conservatory Philharmonic. Under Maestro Spano’s guidance, the ASO and audiences explore a creative programming mix.  The Atlanta School of Composers reflects his commitment to American contemporary music. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s 2015/16 season includes four world premieres by composers Mark Grey, Jonathan Leshnoff and ASO bassist Michael Kurth, plus seven Atlanta premieres. The work by Jonathan Leshnoff will also receive its New York premiere on April 30, 2016, at Carnegie Hall. 

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