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Solti Foundation Honors Young American Conductor James Feddeck and More

The Solti Foundation U.S. recently recognized the talent of five distinguished young American conductors. James Feddeck, Assistant Conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra and Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, is the recipient of the 2013 $25,000 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award. Vladimir Kulenovic, Ankush Kumar Bahl, Roger Kalia, and Christopher James Lees were all named as recipients of Solti U.S. Career Assistance Awards.

Also known as The Solti Fellow, the Foundation's $25,000 award is among the largest grants currently given to American conductors in the formative years of their careers. The Career Assistance Awards are given by the Foundation to encourage and provide critical assistance to talented young conductors at the start of their professional careers.

In making the announcement, Penny Van Horn, Solti Foundation U.S. Board Chair, stated, "The Solti Foundation U.S. looks to the future as it seeks to recognize and offer assistance in the development of talented young American conductors who ultimately will share the gift of their artistry with us. It is with pleasure that we congratulate James Feddeck as the 4th recipient of the Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, The Solti Fellow.

"It is with pleasure that The Solti Foundation U.S. congratulates the 2013 recipients of the Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards - Vladimir Kulenovic, Ankush Kumar Bahl, Roger Kalia, and Christopher James Lees.

"The Foundation takes great pride in recognizing and providing assistance in the development of these talented young conductors as they continue to hone their art. We look forward to following their careers."

James Feddeck is in his fourth year as Assistant Conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra and Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra. Since his Cleveland Orchestra debut in August 2009, he has led the orchestra in a number of new initiatives including collaborative performances with the Cleveland Play House and the Cleveland Museum of Art. He made his Severance Hall debut in 2011, stepping in for Franz Welser-Most in the fully-staged Zurich Opera production of Mozart's Don Giovanni, and recently led sold-out subscription performances of Orff's Carmina Burana to critical acclaim. In June 2012, he led the youth orchestra's first-ever international tour to the musical capitals of Prague, Salzburg, and Vienna. An Oberlin Conservatory alumnus, Mr. Feddeck holds the distinction of having been admitted in four areas: piano, oboe, organ, and conducting. He further studied as a protege of David Zinman at the Aspen Music Festival and School where he received both the Robert J. Harth Conductor Prize and the Aspen Conducting Prize. He was unanimous winner of the Sixth Vakhtang Jordania International Conducting Competition and is a recipient of previous support from the Solti Foundation U.S. (a Career Assistance Grant in 2009). In September 2010, he received Oberlin College's first Outstanding Young Alumni Award for professional achievement and contributions to society, the college's highest distinction to alumni of his generation.

Upcoming engagements include the Aspen Music Festival, symphony orchestras of Atlanta, Indianapolis, Santa Fe, Tucson, and Toledo, the Rochester and Naples philharmonic orchestras, The Florida Orchestra and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra nationally, and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in Canada. (Full biography attached.)

Vladimir Kulenovic is Associate Conductor of Utah Symphony | Utah Opera in the U.S., Principal Conductor of the Kyoto International Music Festival in Japan, and Resident Conductor of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra in Serbia. Upcoming guest conducting engagements include collaborations with renowned orchestras in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Recent performances include debuts with the Grand Rapids and Lake Forest symphony orchestras, performances with the Beethoven-Orchester Bonn at Beethovenhalle, Leipzig Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, Belgrade and Slovenian Philharmonic, Juilliard Orchestra at Lincoln Center, Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss am Rhein, Verbier, Aspen, Salzburg Mozarteum and Cabrillo festival orchestras, among others. Mr. Kulenovic was one of six emerging conductors chosen by the League of American Orchestras for the 2013 biannual Bruno Walter National Conducting Preview. An alumnus of the Juilliard School, Mr. Kulenovic has worked continuously with Kurt Masur since 2008 in New York, Bonn, Leipzig and Verbier. As the Conducting Fellow at the Verbier Festival, Kulenovic conducted the Festival Orchestra in two internationally televised performances on Medici TV and was subsequently invited to serve as the conducting assistant to Kurt Masur at the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Recipient of a 2012 and 2013 Sir Georg Solti Career Assistance Award, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Scholarship, and Bruno Walter Memorial Scholarship, Mr. Kulenovic graduated from the Peabody Institute under the tutelage of Gustav Meier. He has served as a conducting fellow at the Aspen Music Festival, Salzburg Mozarteum and Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. (Full biography attached.)

Indian American conductor Ankush Kumar Bahl is currently the Assistant Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra (Washington, D.C) as well as an Assistant Conductor with the Orchestre National de France. In January 2012, Mr. Bahl made his debut with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. Filling in on short notice for Maestro Kurt Masur, Mr. Bahl conducted two performances featuring Beethoven's Sixth Symphony. Mr. Bahl is also the proud recipient of a 2011 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award and the 2009 Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Scholarship. Recent guest conducting has included the National Opera Orchestre de Nancy, the Portland (Maine) Symphony Orchestra, and the Indianapolis Symphony. Debuts this season include the Little Orchestra Society (New York City), the Copenhagen Philharmonic, and the Orchestre National de France.

Formerly the Music Director of the New Jersey Youth Symphony, Mr. Bahl has also worked as an Assistant Conductor with the Prague Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra, and the New York Youth Symphony. He has also worked with Maestro Masur at the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Bahl received a double degree in music and rhetoric from the University of California at Berkeley. He has been a conducting fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and completed his master's degree in orchestral conducting at the Manhattan School of Music with teachers Zdenek Macal, George Manahan and David Gilbert. (Full biography attached.)

Newly appointed Assistant Conductor of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra beginning this 2013-14 season, Roger Kalia is entering his second season as Music Director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra of Los Angeles, where he is the recipient of the YMF Conducting Grant and BMI/Lionel Newman Conducting Scholarship. He is also Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Lake George Music Festival. Mr. Kalia made his subscription debut with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra in October 2011 after winning Second Prize in their inaugural International Conducting Competition. Recent engagements include the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, and Royal Scottish National Orchestra, among others. Chosen by former New York Philharmonic Music Director Kurt Masur to participate in his weeklong Conducting Seminar at the Manhattan School of Music this past January, Mr. Kalia was also personally selected by David Zinman to conduct the Tonhalle-Orchestra Zurich as part of his 2011 International Conducting Masterclass at the Zurich Festspiele. Mr. Kalia is a recipient of the 2011 Bruno Walter Conducting Fellowship to attend the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, and was a Conducting Fellow at the 2010 American Academy of Conducting at Aspen.

A native of New York, Mr. Kalia recently completed his work as an Associate Instructor and Doctoral Conducting Fellow at Indiana University, where he studied with David Effron and Arthur Fagen. At Indiana, he served as Assistant Conductor of the IU Opera Theatre and New Music Ensemble. He has undertaken additional studies at international masterclasses with acclaimed conductors Franz Welser-Moest, Robert Spano, Marin Alsop, Gustav Meier, Martyn Brabbins and Larry Rachleff. (Full biography attached.)

Christopher James Lees is becoming increasingly recognized for energized and nuanced performances of both standard and adventurous repertoire. Recipient of a Gustavo DudaMel Conducting Fellowship with the Los Angeles Philharmonic this season, Mr. Lees made his debut with the orchestra in April 2013. He has conducted performances with the Detroit, Toledo, and Portland (Maine) Symphonies and served as an assistant conductor for multiple concert programs with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Detroit, Atlanta, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Charlotte Symphonies for noted conductors including Leonard Slatkin, David Robertson, Stephane Deneve, Robert Spano, Bramwell Tovey, among others. He has also conducted performances with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Orchestra de Chambre de Paris, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, and at the Festival Internacional de Inverno de Campos do Jordao in Brazil, to name a few. Other industry recognition includes the 2011 James Conlon Conducting Prize and the 2012 Aspen Conducting Prizes. Mr. Lees was honored as one of only six conductors selected for the 2011 Bruno Walter Memorial Foundation National Conductor Preview, hosted by the League of American Orchestras. A native of Washington, D.C., Mr. Lees holds a masters degree in conducting from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Kenneth Kiesler, and currently serves on the faculty as Associate Director of Orchestras.

In 2013, Mr. Lees will return for a third summer as Assistant Conductor for the Aspen Music Festival and School where he will serve both as resident cover conductor and as Assistant Conductor for a semi-staged production of Peter Grimes.

Elizabeth Buccheri, Chair of the Foundation's Artistic and Awards Committee, thanked all those who applied, "The Artistic and Awards Committee is pleased to assist these talented young conductors.

The Solti Foundation U.S. was established to honor the memory of the legendary conductor Sir Georg Solti and his dedication to helping young artists. Since changing its focus in 2004 to helping exceptional young U.S. conductors, the Foundation has awarded over $212,000 in grants to American conductors (its original mission was of a more general arts nature). The Foundation endeavors to seek out those musicians who have chosen to follow a path similar to that followed by Sir Georg himself. In keeping with the spirit of Sir Georg's active approach to his career, young conductors must apply to be considered for the awards. Citizens or permanent residents of the United States who are career-ready artists in the field of conducting are eligible to apply.

Applicants for all Solti Foundation U.S. awards must be able to demonstrate that he/she is developing a career as a symphonic/operatic conductor. All applications from The Solti Fellow are considered for a Solti U.S. Career Assistance Award(given annually). Applications are reviewed by an awards committee comprised of a panel of professionals with broad musical and conducting experience. The Foundation reserves the right to withhold a grant in any given year if the Awards Committee does not find suitable applicants in one or more of the various award categories.

The Solti Foundation U.S. currently awards the following grants annually:

The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, also known as The Solti Fellow.

Among the largest grants currently given to American conductors in the formative years of their careers, the prestigious $25,000 award is given biennially to a single promising American conductor 38 years of age or younger, and includes introductions to three of Chicago's most prestigious performing organizations: Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Opera Theater. The award is dispersed over a 24-month period and may be used for career training and activities that will further develop and enhance the recipient's talent and experience.

The Solti U.S. Career Assistance Awards

Amount varies.

For a downloadable application form for the above awards, or for further details on The Solti Foundation U.S., its past awardees, their biographical information, the Foundation's newsletter, as well as guidelines for the upcoming 2014 Awards, visit the Foundation's website at:


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