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The Solti Foundation U.S. Celebrates Third Season Of Opera Residencies With Distinguished Opera Companies

By: May. 03, 2017
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Celebrating the third season of its successful Opera Residency Program, The Solti Foundation U.S. continues to offer young conductors hands-on opera experience with distinguished opera companies throughout the United States. Penny Van Horn, Chair of the Solti Foundation's Board of Directors, announced that the organization will have completed 10 residencies by the end of this season, with more to take place in 2017-18.

"We are honored to have formed alliances over the past three seasons with some of the country's acclaimed opera houses," stated Ms. Van Horn. "At the end of this 2016-17 season this June, young conductors will have completed ten separate residencies with Milwaukee's Florentine Opera Company, the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and Lyric Opera of Chicago. These residencies have been invaluable to the selected artists. It is with pleasure that the Solti Foundation U.S continues these collaborative relationships as part of the Opera Residency Program."

Launched in 2014-15, the Opera Residency Program is an expansion of the Solti Foundation U.S.'s work to help their award recipients further develop their talent and careers. (The organization is primarily known for its two major grants, The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Fellow, which carries the largest purse awarded to young American conductors today, and the Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award.) The residency program provides residencies at some of the country's most distinguished opera houses, allowing recipients to receive valuable one-on-one mentoring and training during the professional season.

The residencies provide young conductors private coaching and mentorship from each company's principal conductor, as well as opportunities for conducting staging/orchestra rehearsals, banda and/or off-stage chorus. During their residency, each program participant also attends all music and staging rehearsals, the opening night performance, and other duties as assigned.

The Milwaukee-based Florentine Opera Company has collaborated with the Foundation on five residencies, including two this season, (Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awardees Gene Chang (2016) for the company's production of Don Giovanni and Ankush Kumar Bahl (2015, 2013) for The Barber of Seville respectively).

"It has been an honor to partner with the Solti Foundation U.S. on the Opera Residency Program", stated General Director William Florescu. "This is such a wonderful opportunity for our Principal Conductor Joseph Rescigno to share his vast knowledge and experience in opera conducting with the next generation of conductors. It has been particularly gratifying to hear the positive feedback about the program from both the conductors and Maestro Rescigno! As a result, we look forward to a continued fruitful collaboration with the Solti Foundation."

Opera Theatre of St. Louis has collaborated on three residencies with the Solti Foundation U.S., including one this season (Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awardee (2015) Daniel Black for the company's production of La Clemenza di Tito).

Music Director Stephen Lord commented, "Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is proud to be able to mentor young conductors recommended by the Solti Foundation. This is exactly the type of ground up and often hands on training in operatic conducting that is essential to a successful career in the theater. Not only do these fine musicians observe, but they actually conduct and I actively ask for their opinions in rehearsal and guide them through that process. Bravo Sir Georg and his legacy!"

Lyric Opera of Chicago, which has collaborated on two residencies with the Foundation to date, has committed to a third residency to be announced later this year.

Sir Andrew Davis, Music Director and Principal Conductor said, "Aspiring conductors have often asked me 'What route should I take towards a successful career in opera?' For the most part I have had little concrete advice to offer them; the classic European progression from rehearsal pianist/coach to assistant conductor to full blown maestro, which was a successful formula for many in the past (including Solti himself!), is no longer an option I would recommend; and in any case in America this tradition barely existed.

"So, the Solti Foundation's project was warmly applauded and welcomed by all of us at Lyric Opera of Chicago, and has proved most useful and constructive both for the conductors and for the singers, music staff and production teams with whom they worked. I am particularly happy that the Foundation is helping many talented young maestri to develop their potential in the mutually beneficial symphonic and operatic realms."

Young conductors who have participated in the Opera Residency Program are selected from the list of artists who have received a grant from the Foundation. Unlike the Solti Foundation Career Grants, conductors cannot apply, but are instead selected by the Artistic and Awards Committee.

Next season's residencies will be announced in early September.

The Solti Foundation U.S.

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 $426,000 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. The Foundation currently awards the following grants annually: The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award (also known as The Solti Fellow), is the largest grants currently given to American conductors in the formative years of their careers, the prestigious $25,000 award is given each year to a single promising American conductor 38 years of age or younger, and includes door-opening introductions and ongoing professional mentoring. It also includes introductions to two of Chicago's most prestigious performing organizations: Lyric Opera of Chicago and Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It also awards Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards, the amount of which varies. The Foundation is currently the only American Foundation to grant these kinds of awards each year to young American conductors.

For the last three seasons, the Foundation has provided opera residencies in collaboration with distinguished opera companies throughout the United States, currently Milwaukee's Florentine Opera Company, the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and Lyric Opera of Chicago. Conductors awarded opera residencies to date include Ankush Kumar Bahl, Daniel Black, Gene Chang, Conner Gray Covington, Vladimir Kulenovic, Sean Newhouse and Case Scaglione.

For more information on The Solti Foundation U.S., please visit

For more information on the collaborating opera companies in the Opera Residency Program, please visit:


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