American Composers Forum Announces Champion of New Music Award Winners

By: Feb. 06, 2015
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The American Composers Forum (ACF) Board of Directors has voted to present its 2015 "Champion of New Music" award to three outstanding recipients: the American Composers Orchestra, flutist and Director of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) Claire Chase, and conductor Michael Morgan, at public ceremonies this year in Oakland, Brooklyn, and New York City.

"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 Michael Morgan will be given on February 20, 2015, during a concert by the Oakland East Bay Symphony in Oakland, California;

· The award to Claire Chase will be given on Tuesday, April 21, 2015, at a special Anniversary event for ICE in Brooklyn, New York;

· The award to the American Composers Orchestra will be given on Thursday, May 7, 2015, at the Underwood Reading Sessions at the DiMenna Center in New York City.

Past recipients of the "Champion of New Music Award" include 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).

About the 2015 "Champion of New Music" Award-Winners

American Composers Orchestra (ACO) is the only orchestra in the world dedicated to the creation, performance, preservation and promulgation of music by American composers. Founded in 1977, ACO pursues a singular mission by maintaining an unparalleled range of activities, including concerts, commissions, recordings, educational programs, and new music reading sessions. ACO makes the creation of new opportunities for American composers and new American orchestral music its central purpose and helps increase the audience for contemporary American orchestral music by influencing music decision makers.

ACO's innovative EarShot reading program in collaboration with the American Composers Forum, League of American Orchestras, and New Music USA, helps orchestras around the country to identify and support promising composers in the early stages of their careers. EarShot and other ACO programs increase opportunities for American composers and generate broader awareness of their work.

To date, ACO has performed music by over 600 composers, including more than 200 world premieres and commissioned works. Many ACO-commissioned composers have gone on to win important prizes such as the Pulitzer, Guggenheim Fellowship and Prix de Rome.

Flutist Claire Chase, a 2012 MacArthur Fellow, is a soloist, collaborative artist, and activist for new music. Over the past decade she has given the world premieres of over 100 new works for flute, many of them tailor-made for her. In 2014 she began Density 2036, a project to commission, premiere and record an entirely new program of pieces for flute every year until 2036, the 100th anniversary of the eponymous and seminal piece by Varese.

Chase is the founder and Co-Artistic Director of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), which she formed in 2001 with the goal of creating the United States' first large-scale chamber ensemble dedicated to new and experimental music. ICE has given more than 500 world premiere performances across the world, and has rapidly established itself as one of the leading groups of its generation as well as one of the most innovative artist-driven new nonprofit business models in the field. ICE is a uniquely structured, modular ensemble comprised of thirty dynamic and versatile young performers who are dedicated to advancing the music of our time. Through innovative programming, inter-disciplinary collaborations, and the creation of genre-defying new presentation, production and educational models, ICE brings together new music and new audiences.

Michael Morgan has served as Music Director of the Oakland East Bay Symphony (OEBS) since 1990, leading the organization through 25 years of extraordinary growth. OEBS comprises not only a professional orchestra, but also members of the Oakland Symphony Chorus and Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra, and its staff, board members and community volunteers. OEBS aims to make classical music accessible, particularly to those individuals in the community who might otherwise never hear live symphonic music. Morgan's commitment to new works by American composers is well documented, and under his leadership OEBS won an ASCAP award for Adventurous Programming in 2006.

While a student at Oberlin studying composition, Morgan spent a summer at Tanglewood as a student of Gunther Schuller and Seiji Ozawa, and worked with Leonard Bernstein. In 1980, he won the Hans Swarovsky International Conductors Competition in Vienna, Austria, and became Assistant Conductor of the St Louis Symphony under Leonard Slatkin. In 1986, Sir Georg Solti chose him to become the Assistant Conductor of the Chicago Symphony, a position he held for five years. As a guest conductor he has appeared with most of America's major orchestras.

About the American Composers Forum

The American Composers Forum enriches lives by nurturing the creative spirit of composers and communities. We provide new opportunities for composers and their music to flourish, and engage communities in the creation, performance and enjoyment of new music.

The American Composers Forum is committed to supporting composers and developing new markets for their music. Through granting, commissioning, and performance programs, ACF provides composers at all stages of their careers with valuable resources for professional and artistic development. By linking communities with composers and performers, the Forum fosters a demand for new music, enriches communities, and helps develop the next generation of composers, musicians, and music patrons.


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