Kurt Weill Foundation Names Jonathon Heyward 2016-17 Conducting Fellow
In keeping with Rudel's artistic vision, this annual award enables a young conductor in the Early Stages of a career to assist a master conductor in the preparation and performance of a work by Kurt Weill or Marc Blitzstein and expand his or her knowledge of their works. The fellowship carries a stipend of $10,000.
In 2015, at the age of 23, Heyward won the Grand Prize of the 54th International Competition for Young Conductors in Besançon. Heyward got his first taste of conducting while pursuing a bachelor's degree in cello performance at the Boston Conservatory of Music, where he served as Assistant Conductor for the conservatory's opera department. Following completion of his bachelor's degree, he went on to a Master of Music in orchestral conducting at the Royal Academy of Music in London. For the 2016/17 season, he has been appointed Assistant Conductor at the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester, UK, where he will assist Music Director Sir Mark Elder.
Under the Fellowship, Heyward will serve as assistant conductor to Fellowship Mentor Jeffrey Kahane, Music Director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, for that organization's production of Weill's Lost in the Stars in January 2017 at UCLA's Royce Hall. Heyward says of the award, "I am extremely grateful to have been appointed the 2016-2017 Rudel/Weill Conducting Fellow. This fellowship will not only allow me to study and discover works by these composers with unrestricted access to resources and materials, but it will also allow me to work with their music hands on. Attending additional performances of Weill's fantastic spectrum of repertoire will certainly enable me to enrich my musical perspectives."
Kahane's interest in the music of Kurt Weill stems from a personal connection: Weill was a distant cousin of Kahane's grandmother, who also fled Germany in the 1930s to escape the rise of fascism. In addition to his work as an internationally acclaimed conductor and concert pianist, Kahane is a champion of Weill's music both at home and in his guest appearances. In 2014, he led the New York Philharmonic in four performances of Weill's Symphony No. 2, the first performances of the work by that orchestra since its American premiere in 1934.
Kahane says of Heyward's appointment, "All of us at the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra are delighted to welcome the prodigiously gifted Jonathon Heyward to the LACO family. Jonathon's vibrant artistic presence and superbly honed musical skills will be a tremendous help to me, and a great asset to the whole organization."
In announcing the appointment, Kim H. Kowalke, President of the Foundation, explains that "this fellowship enables recipients to develop appreciation of Weill's oeuvre by participating in truly excellent presentations of his works and to learn from mentors whose expertise and experience with Weill is as deep as Jeffrey Kahane's."
LACO performs Lost in the Stars 28-29 January 2017 as part of the three week-long festival, Lift Every Voice, inspired by the lives of civil rights champions Rabbi Joachim Prinz and Weill. The production features two past winners of the Lotte Lenya Competition: Justin Hopkins, who won 2nd prize in the 2012 competition, stars as Stephen Kumalo. Lauren Michelle, 2015 1st Prize winner, is Irina, reprising her highly acclaimed debut in the role at Washington National Opera last February. The festival, curated by Kahane, also includes performances of The Seven Deadly Sins, with Storm Large and Hudson Shad, and the US premiere of the Song-Suite for Violin and Orchestra arranged by Paul Bateman and performed by violinist Daniel Hope.
The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc. (www.kwf.org) is dedicated to promoting understanding of the life and works of composer Kurt Weill (1900-1950) and preserving the legacies of Weill and his wife, actress-singer Lotte Lenya (1898-1981). The Foundation administers the Weill-Lenya Research Center, a Grant Program, the Kurt Weill Book Prize and the Lotte Lenya Competition, and publishes the Kurt Weill Edition and the Kurt Weill Newsletter.