Solti Foundtion U.S. Announces 2014 Award Recipients

Solti Foundtion U.S. Announces 2014 Award Recipients

The Solti Foundation U.S. today announced an unprecedented eight awards as it marked its tenth year of granting awards to rising young American conductors.

Cristian Macelaru, Associate Conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, is the recipient of the 2014 $25,000 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award. Also known as The Solti Fellow, it is among the largest grants currently given to American conductors in the formative years of their careers. A graduate of Rice University where he received his Master's degree under the tutelage of Larry Rachleff, Mr. Macelaru also participated in the prestigious conducting programs of Tanglewood Music Center and Aspen Music Festival, studying under David Zinman, Murry Sidlin, Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, Robert Spano, Oliver Knussen and Stefan Asbury. Mr. Macelaru's upcoming season includes return engagements with the Philadelphia Orchestra and with the Chicago, Houston and Baltimore symphony orchestras, as well as debuts with the symphony orchestras of Detroit, Toronto, Seattle, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, and the Metropolitain Orchestra (Canada) in North America, and with the Halle Orchestra (UK) and the Residentie Orkest (The Hague) abroad. (Biography attached.)

Seven talented conductors were recipients of 2014 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards: Vladimir Kulenovic, Associate Conductor of Utah Symphony | Utah Opera and the Resident Conductor of Belgrade Philharmonic; Shizuo Z Kuwahara, Music Director, Symphony Orchestra Augusta; Conner Gray Covington, Assistant Conductor, Memphis Symphony; Joseph Young, Assistant Conductor, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; Yaniv Attar, Music Director, Whatcom Symphony Orchestra; Lee Mills, Assistant Conductor, Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, and Keitaro Harada, Associate Conductor, Arizona Opera. Career Assistance Awards (amount varies) are given by the Foundation to encourage and provide critical assistance to talented young conductors at the start of their professional careers. (Biographies attached.)

In announcing the 2014 award recipients, Penny Van Horn, Solti Foundation U.S. Board Chair, stated, "It is with pleasure that we congratulate the talented conductors being recognized today. 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. On behalf of the Solti Foundation Board, I congratulate Cristian Macelaru as the fifth recipient of the Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, The Solti Fellow. We are also excited to congratulate the seven recipients of the 2014 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards: Vladimir Kulenovic, Shizuo Z Kuwahara, Conner Gray Covington, Joseph Young, Yaniv Attar, Lee Mills and Keitaro Harada.

"As these talented young conductors continue to hone their art, The Solti Foundation U.S. takes great pride in identifying and providing assistance in their development. We look forward to following their careers."

Elizabeth Buccheri, Chair of the Foundation's Artistic and Awards Committee, stated, "Duain Wolfe, Philip Morehead, and I are thrilled to be a part of this exciting effort, and we congratulate these eight gifted American musicians on their selection for the 2014 Solti Foundation U.S. Awards. We will follow their careers with great interest."

An energetic and driven group, upcoming engagements by the 2014 Career Assistance Award recipients include debuts with Chicago Symphony, Columbus Symphony, Knoxville Symphony, Lubbock Symphony, Macedonian National Opera (Aida) for Vladimir Kulenovic; debuts with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and with Japan's Takarazuka Symphony Orchestra, Osaka City Wind Ensemble, Osaka Symphony Orchestra and Tokyo Kosei Wind Ensemble for Shizuo Z Kuwahara; Yaniv Attar leads performances of Beethoven's 9th Symphony with the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra, and performances with the Critical Orchestra (composed of members of Germany's top orchestras) as part of the 2014 INTERAKTION program in Berlin this summer; Keitaro Harada's upcoming performances include productions of Don Pasquale and The Daughter of the Regiment with the Arizona Opera, and his Japan debut with the New Japan Philharmonic. Connor Gray Covington is finishing his second season as Assistant Conductor of the Memphis Symphony; Joseph Young assumes the post of Assistant Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra on June 1, 2014, and Lee Mills was recently appointed as the Assistant Conductor of the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra.

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 $279,500 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. The Foundation is currently the only American Foundation to grant these kinds of awards each year to young American conductors. 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 are considered for a Solti Foundation 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 each of the award categories.