The Board of Trustees of the American Classical Music Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the slate of new inductees for 2008. The inductees are international opera singer, Risë Stevens, Cincinnati Pops conductor Erich Kunzel, the male vocal group Chanticleer based in San Francisco, The Juilliard School and the 19th century music educator Lowell Mason (1792-1872).

Risë Stevens excelled on both the opera stage and in popular entertainment venues. The mezzo-soprano was born June 11, 1913 in New York, New York and she studied at The Juilliard School. Despite an offer from the Metropolitan Opera she chose to develop her artistry in Europe before returning to America in 1938 where late that year she debuted at the Met in Mignon. She was also a famous Carmen, but also won popular acclaim for radio broadcasts and films with Nelson Eddy (The Chocolate Soldier) and Bing Crosby (Going my Way). After her retirement Risë Stevens assumed several important roles in developing the future of opera in this country.

The career of Erich Kunzel, Conductor of the Cincinnati Pops, was greatly distinguished when he received the 2006 National Medal of Arts, presented by President and Mrs. Bush in a ceremony at the White House. It is the highest honor given to artists by the United States Government and is awarded to those who have made outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth support and availability of the arts in the United States. Maestro Kunzel celebrated the 50th anniversary of his professional conducting debut in the 2007-2008 Season. Most recently he conducted the Cincinnati Pops in performances for the Olympic Games held in Beijing.

Chanticleer, was called “the world’s reigning male chorus” by the New Yorker Magazine and named 2008 Ensemble of the Year by Musical America. Chanticleer will perform more than 100 concerts in its 2008-2009, its 31st season. Based in San Francisco Chanticleer has developed a remarkable reputation for its vivid interpretations of vocal literature, from Renaissance to jazz and from gospel to venturesome new music. With its seamless blend of twelve male voices, ranging from countertenor to bass, the ensemble has earned international renown as “an orchestra of voices.” Chanticleer will be inducted in a public ceremony at Memorial Hall, home of the American Classical Music Hall of Fame on October 9 2008 and the following evening will give a performance at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Chains.

The Juilliard School is America’s pre-eminent educational institution for music, dance and dramatic training. At the time of its founding in 1905 as the Institute of Musical Arts in New York City, the idea of establishing a music academy in America to rival the European conservatories was a novel one. But Dr. Frank Damrosch, the godson of Franz Liszt, and the head of music education for New York City’s public schools was convinced that American musicians should not have to go abroad for their training. The Institute of Musical Arts merged with the later Juilliard School formed as a graduate school in 1924 and took the name of their founder Augustus D. Juilliard. The current president of Juilliard is Dr. Joseph W. Polisi, who was formerly Dean of the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. The world famous Juilliard String Quartet was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.

Like that of The Juilliard School, Lowell Mason’s induction spotlights the Hall of Fame’s continuing mission to champion musical education for all Americans. Lowell Mason, (1792-1872) is best known as the founder of American school music education. Although he also composed and arranged hymn tunes and published many influential tune books that had a national audience, his work as a pioneer music educator, first at the Boston Academy of Music, which he co-founded in 1833 with George James Webb and soon after in the Boston public schools, where he taught for over twenty years, remains his greatest historical legacy. The Lowell Mason Papers are at the Yale University Music Library.

The American Classical Music Hall of Fame, a national institution, is dedicated to honoring and celebrating the many facets of American classical music. The Hall of Fame seeks to recognize those who have made significant contributions to American classical music and by doing so aspires to sustain and build interest in American classical music.

Inductees to the Hall of Fame are nominated by a specialist field of musicians, music educators, leaders in the music industry and its living inductees. Nominations are made in six categories: composer, conductor, performer, educator, performing ensemble and institution devoted to music. Nominations are reviewed by the distinguished National Artistic Directorate members who recommend a final slate for endorsement by the Board of Trustees of the American Classical Music Hall of Fame.

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