Cleveland Institute of Music Composer Keith Fitch Wins 2024 Individual Excellence Award From Ohio Arts Council

The OAC's Individual Excellence Awards recognize outstanding achievement in several disciplines including choreography, fiction, playwriting, and poetry.

By: Feb. 21, 2024
Cleveland Institute of Music Composer Keith Fitch Wins 2024 Individual Excellence Award From Ohio Arts Council
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Composer Keith Fitch has won The 2024 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) along with co-winner is CIM faculty emeritus Margaret Brouwer, his predecessor.

Brouwer served as head of composition at CIM from 1996 to 2008.

“I am honored to be among this year's awardees, but what's even more gratifying is that the group includes Margaret Brouwer, my distinguished predecessor,” Fitch said. 

“More than celebrating any individual accomplishment, this year's OAC awards show that the long legacy of compositional excellence at CIM has remained unbroken.”

The OAC's Individual Excellence Awards recognize outstanding achievement in several disciplines including choreography, fiction, playwriting, and poetry, in addition to music. Awards of $5,000 each went to 75 artists, for a total allotment of $375,000.

Awards were granted to Ohio residents upon the recommendation of an anonymous, open panel. This year, nearly 500 artists submitted applications for consideration. 

In a written statement announcing the awards, OAC Executive Director Donna Collins said the 2024 recipients, including Fitch and Brouwer, both of whom reside in Cleveland Heights, “exemplify Ohio's wealth of exceptional artistic talent” and demonstrate “that artists can thrive in our great state.” 

Earlier this month, Fitch received one of four 2024 Awards in Music from the esteemed American Academy of Arts and Letters. This arrived as he was still celebrating his 2023 Composer Award from the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation and 2023 Guggenheim Fellowship.

All of these awards stand in addition to Fitch's many earlier honors, which include three ASCAP Young Composer Awards, two earlier awards from the OAC, three National Society of Arts and Letters awards, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Copland House Residency, and awards from the Indiana Arts Commission and the Fromm Foundation.

Fitch also has enjoyed many performances. In addition to presentations by ensembles at CIM and members of The Cleveland Orchestra, Fitch counts performances by The Philadelphia Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, St. Luke's Chamber Orchestra, and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, among many others.

For more information about Fitch, visit

Margaret Brouwer has earned critical accolades for her music's lyricism, musical imagery, and emotional power. “Brouwer's gift for melody, and her ability to weave together contemporary idioms with lines that allow the instruments to sing, make her a composer for whom chamber musicians (and listeners) should be grateful.” (EarRelevant) Brouwer's honors include an Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Meet The Composer Commissioning/USA award, Guggenheim Fellowship, Ohio Council for the Arts Individual Fellowship, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Ford Foundation, and John S. Knight Foundation. Reviewing Brouwer's 2014 Naxos CD called Shattered, Jordan Borg from NewMusicBox wrote, “From the relentless, primal energy of Shattered Glass to the naked beauty of Whom do you call angel now, Brouwer's music represents just how uniquely diverse the output and voice of a single composer can be.” The Music Division of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center has established a Margaret Brouwer Collection that will be available for research by scholars, composers, and performers. 

Performances of Brouwer's music include those by the symphonies of Detroit, Dallas, Seattle, Liverpool, Rochester, Anchorage, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Birmingham UK, Halle UK, Cabrillo, Canton, Columbus, American Composers Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Symphony Space, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music, Orchestra of St. Luke's, Kennedy Center, Corcoran Gallery, Philips Gallery, as well as venues throughout Taiwan and Germany. Brouwer served as head of the composition department and holder of the Vincent K. and Edith H. Smith Chair in Composition at the Cleveland Institute of Music from 1996 to 2008. Residencies include those at the MacDowell Colony where she has been a Norton Stevens Fellow and at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center. Recordings of Brouwer's music can be found on the Naxos, New World, CRI, Crystal, Centaur, and Opus One labels.

The Cleveland Institute of Music

The Cleveland Institute of Music empowers the world's most talented classical music students to fulfill their dreams and potential. Its graduates command the most celebrated and revered stages in the world as soloists, leading roles, chamber musicians, and ensemble members; compose meaningful, award-winning new repertoire; produce Grammy Award-winning recordings; and are highly sought-after teaching artists, administrators, and thought leaders. A testament to the excellence of a CIM education, more than half of the members of The Cleveland Orchestra are connected to CIM as members of the faculty, alumni, or both, and CIM alumni occupy hundreds of chairs in major orchestras worldwide. The school's increasingly diverse collegiate and pre-college student bodies benefit from access to world-renowned visiting artists, intensive study with CIM's stellar faculty, and the rich curriculum offered by CIM's partner, Case Western Reserve University. A leader among its peers, CIM is the largest presenter of free performances, masterclasses, and community concerts in the Midwest, hosting hundreds of events each year on campus and at locations regionwide, including Severance Music Center.