The Solti Foundation U.S. Announces Career Assistance Awards To 8 American Conductors

Penny Van Horn, Board Chair of The Solti Foundation U.S. and Elizabeth Buccheri, Artistic and Awards Committee Chair, today announced the names of the eight recipients of the 2018 Solti Foundation Career Assistance Awards. The young conductors hold positions throughout the United States, with posts in Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York.

"Supporting and encouraging young conductors at the beginning of their careers is the mission of The Solti Foundation U.S.," said Ms. Van Horn. "As I have stated in the past, the young musicians we recognize are part of the fabric of our future musical landscape. From what we have seen and heard, it is going to be a glorious, immense vista, full of creativity, energy and passion! We congratulate each of our 2018 awardees."

Ms. Van Horn revealed Daniel Black, Assistant Conductor, Florida Orchestra (commencing fall 2018); Roger Kalia, Assistant Conductor of Pacific Symphony and Music Director of Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra, and Co-Founder and Music Director of the Lake George Music Festival (NY); Stilian Kirov, Music Director of the Illinois Philharmonic, Bakersfield Symphony (CA), and New Jersey's Symphony in C; Farkhad Khudyev, Music Director of Calilfornia's Hidden Valley Orchestra Institute and Youth Music Monterey County; Stephen Mulligan, Assistant Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra; Sameer Patel, Associate Conductor of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra and of Idaho's Sun Valley Summer Symphony; Stefano Sarzani, who returns to the Lyric Opera of Chicago this season as an Assistant Conductor and member of the Music Staff; and Lidiya Yankovskaya, Music Director with Chicago Opera Theater, a resident artist at National Sawdust in NYC, and Artistic Director of Refugee Orchestra Project as the 2018 Award recipients.

Now in its 14th year of assisting outstanding young U.S. conductors to further develop their talent and careers, The Solti Foundation U.S. is the foremost organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to helping young conductors. Established in 2000 to honor the memory of Sir Georg Solti by lending significant support to career-ready young American musicians, in 2004, the Foundation concentrated the focus of its award program to exclusively assist talented young American conductors early in their professional careers (its original mission was of a more general arts nature). Since then, it has awarded over $500,000 in grants to American conductors.

In the words of Lady Valerie Solti, "We are committed to realizing Solti's passion for excellence in music by extending assistance to further the early careers of those with exceptional talent." 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.

While dedicated to identifying and assisting young conductors early on, the Foundation is also concerned with the long-term development of its award recipients, continuing to offer support and maintaining a constant interest in their growth and achievements. The Foundation currently awards the following grants annually:

The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award. The largest grant currently given to American conductors in the formative years of their careers, the prestigious $30,000 grant is given annually to a single promising American conductor 38 years of age or younger. The Award, also known as The Solti Fellow, includes door-opening introductions, ongoing professional mentoring, and introductions to two of Chicago's most prestigious performing organizations: Lyric Opera of Chicago and Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Earlier this spring, the Foundation announced its $30,000 2018 The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award to Roderick Cox, Associate Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra. Past recipients include Christopher Allen, Karina Canellakis, Vladimir Kulenovic, Cristian Macelaru, James Feddeck, Case Scaglione, Eric Nielsen, and Anthony Barrese.

The Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award. The amount of the Career Assistance Awards varies.

The Elizabeth Buccheri Opera Residency (formerly the Opera Residency Program). Introduced in the 2014-15 season, the program places former award recipients with a distinguished opera house for one-on-one mentoring and coaching of an opera during the company's professional season. Conductors cannot apply but are instead selected by the Artistic and Awards Committee.

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 from The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award are considered for a Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award. 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 Foundation will announce details about its 2018 Gala and the 2018-19 opera residencies in the near future.

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 2019 Awards (application deadline is January 15, 2019) and a downloadable application form, please visit the Foundation's website at: www.soltifoundation.us.

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