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Students, Faculty + Alumni

Yale alumni win awards from American Academy of Arts and Letters

Harold Meltzer | Photo by Emily Greta Tabourin

The American Academy of Arts and Letters announced today the recipients of this year's awards in music. Several Yale alumni are among the winners.

The winners were selected by a committee of Academy members: Joan Tower (chairman), Samuel Adler, Martin Boykan, Mario Davidovsky, Stephen Hartke, Stephen Jaffe, and Aaron Jay Kernis. The awards will be presented at the Academy's annual Ceremonial in May. Candidates for music awards are nominated by the 250 members of the Academy.

Harold Meltzer '97MMA, '00DMA and Kevin Puts '96MM were among the four winners of the Arts and Letters Awards in Music. The $10,000 awards honor outstanding artistic achievement and acknowledge composers who have arrived at their own voices. Each will receive an additional $10,000 toward the recording of one work. 

Paul Kerekes

Paul Kerekes '12MM, '14MMA will receive the Walter Hinrichsen Award for the publication of a work by a gifted composer. This award was established by the C. F. Peters Corporation, music publishers, in 1984.

Emily Cooley '12BA and Polina Nazaykinskaya '10MM, '13AD are among the recipients of the Charles Ives Scholarships of $7500, given to composition students of great promise.

About the American Academy of Arts and Letters
The American Academy of Arts and Letters was founded in 1898 to "foster, assist, and sustain an interest in literature, music, and the fine arts." Each year, the Academy honors over 50 composers, artists, architects, and writers with cash awards ranging from $5000 to $100,000. Other activities of the Academy are exhibitions of art, architecture, and manuscripts. and readings of new musicals.

Yale alum Yehudi Wyner was recently elected president of the Academy. STORY

About the Recipients
Emily Cooley
Emily Cooley (b. 1990) has been commissioned and performed by ensembles including the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra, the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, the JACK Quartet, and Music from Copland House. A native of Milwaukee, WI, Emily is a recent graduate of the USC Thornton School of Music and Yale University, where she was awarded the Louis Sudler Prize. Past teachers include Stephen Hartke, Donald Crockett, Andrew Norman, Kathryn Alexander, and John K. Boyle. Emily currently holds the Milton L. Rock Composition Fellowship at the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studies with David Ludwig.

Paul Kerekes
Paul Kerekes is a pianist and composer from Northport, NY. His music has been described as “striking” (WQXR), “highly eloquent” (New Haven Advocate), and able to create “an almost tactile picture” (The New York Times).
He has had the privilege of hearing his pieces performed by many outstanding ensembles, some of which include the American Composers Orchestra, Da Capo Chamber Players, and Dinosaur Annex, in such venues as Merkin Hall, The DiMenna Center, and Symphony Space.

Polina Nazaykinskaya

Harold Meltzer
A 2010 recording devoted to music of Harold Meltzer (b. 1966), on Naxos, was named one of the discs of the year in The New York Times and Fanfare Magazine. He has been awarded the Rome Prize, the Barlow Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Charles Ives Fellowship from the AAAL. Recent commissions include works for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh Symphony, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the Library of Congress.

Polina Nazaykinskaya
Born in Togliatti, an industrial city on the Volga River in Russia, Polina Nazaykinskaya is a graduate of the Yale School of Music. Currently Polina is pursuing her Doctorate Degree in Composition at the Graduate Center, City University of New York and studying with Professor Tania León. She has won numerous awards and has had performances by ensembles including the Minnesota Orchestra, the Russian National Orchestra, the Hermitage Orchestra and Chorus, and the Yale Philharmonia Orchestra.

Kevin Puts| Photo by Andrew Shapter

Kevin Puts
Winner of numerous prestigious awards, including the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for his debut opera Silent Night, Kevin Puts’s orchestral works have been commissioned, performed, and recorded by leading orchestras, ensembles, and soloists throughout the world. He is currently a member of the composition department at the Peabody Institute as well as the Director of the Minnesota Orchestra Composer’s Institute. His newest opera, The Manchurian Candidate, will have its world premiere in March 2015.