YSM composers win American Academy of Arts and Letters awards

Hilary Purrington

Three YSM alumni composers and one current student have received awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the organization announced last month. Awardees were selected by a committee of Academy members including Yehudi Wyner ’50BA ’52BM ’53MM, Martin Boykan ’53MM, YSM faculty composer Aaron Jay Kernis, Samuel Adler, Sebastian Currier, Stephen Jaffe, Tobias Picker, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. Sixteen composers in all received awards this year from the Academy.

Carl Schimmel ’99MM earned a Goddard Lieberson Fellowship, which is awarded to two composers each year. The fellowship, which comes with a $15,000 prize, was created in 1978 with an endowment from the CBS Foundation in memory the former Columbia Records president, who had died a year earlier.

Andrew Norman ’09AD received a $10,000 Arts and Letters Award in Music, which honors outstanding artistic achievement. The Academy established the award in 1941 to encourage creative work in the arts. Each year, five artists, eight authors, four composers, and four architects receive the prize. Composers receive an additional $10,000 to facilitate a recording of their work.

Katherine Balch ’16MM and current YSM student Hilary Purrington ’17MMA each received a $7,500 Charles Ives Scholarship, which is given to composition students of “great promise.” The scholarship was created when Ives’ widow, Harmony Ives, bequeathed the royalties from her husband’s music to the Academy of Arts and Letters. Two fellowships of $15,000 and six scholarships of $7,500 are awarded each year to composers.

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,” according to language on the organization’s website. Each year, the Academy honors more than 50 composers, artists, architects, and writers with cash awards ranging from $5,000 to $100,000. The Academy also presents exhibitions of art, architecture, and manuscripts and organizes readings of new musicals.

CARL SCHIMMEL
ANDREW NORMAN
KATHERINE BALCH
HILARY PURRINGTON
AMERICAN ACADEMY OF ARTS AND LETTERS

Published April 6, 2017
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[ students & alumni ]

Lewis Spratlan wins Charles Ives Opera Prize for “Life is a Dream”

lewis_spratlan_headshot

Lewis Spratlan | Photo by Gigi Kaeser

YSM alumnus Lewis Spratlan ’62 BA, ’65 MM was recently awarded the prestigious Charles Ives Opera Prize for his opera Life is a Dream. The award given by the American Academy of Arts and Letters is one of the countries largest prizes for vocal composition. The win earned Spratlan a cash prize of $35,000, and awarded the work’s librettist, James Maraniss, a prize of $15,000.

Life is a Dream was composed in 1978 and is based on the 1635 play by Spanish playwright Pedro Calderón de la Barca. The story follows Segismundo, a Polish prince who was banished as an infant by his father, King Basilio, as he returns to the kingdom of his birth only to be banished and imprisoned once again. Although a concert version of the opera’s second act won the Pulitzer Prize in 2000, it was not fully staged until 2010, premiered by the Santa Fe Opera. Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times called the premiere “mystical, challenging, and viscerally dramatic,” and praised it as “an important opera, the rare philosophical work that holds the stage.” MORE

Published April 27, 2016
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[ students & alumni ]

American Academy of Arts and Letters recognizes YSM composers

Hannah Lash

Hannah Lash

The American Academy of Arts and Letters recently announced the seventeen recipients of this year’s awards in music, which total $205,000. The winners were selected by a committee of Academy members: Yehudi Wyner (chairman), Martin Boykan, Martin Bresnick, Mario Davidovsky, Stephen Hartke, Stephen Jaffe, and Tobias Picker. 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.

YSM faculty member Hannah Lash ’12 AD was one of two winners of the Charles Ives Fellowship. Lash, who is also a 2012 alumnus of the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, will receive a $15,000 Fellowship was established when Harmony Ives, the widow of Charles Ives, bequeathed to the Academy the royalties of Charles Ives’s music, which has empowered the Academy to give Ives awards in composition since 1970.

Current students Dylan Mattingly ’17 MM and Liliya Ugay ’17 MM were also recognized, as recipients of the Charles Ives Scholarships of $7500, given to composition students of great promise.

In addition, the Lakond Award in music composition was awarded to Chia-Yu Hsu ’02 MM. The award of $10,000 was established through a bequest from Wladimir and Rhoda Lakond. MORE

Published March 10, 2016
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Yale alumni win awards from American Academy of Arts and Letters

Harold Meltzer | Photo by Emily Greta Tabourin

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.  MORE

Published March 3, 2015
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[ alumni ]

Yehudi Wyner elected president of Academy of Arts & Letters

Yehudi Wyner

Yehudi Wyner

Yehudi Wyner ’50BA, ’52MusB, ’53MusM has been elected president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He succeeds architect Henry N. Cobb and will serve a three-year term.

In his comments, Wyner said he reacted to the news of his election with “Surprise, astonishment, disbelief, and finally delight.” He was inducted into the prestigious, 250-member organization in 1999 and has served on its award juries and board of directors.

Wyner, who won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for his piano concerto Chiavi in mano, has written over 100 works, ranging from liturgical services to theater music to orchestra pieces. He is also a solo pianist and chamber musician and, since 1968, the keyboard player for the Bach Aria Group. MORE

Published February 28, 2015
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[ faculty + alumni ]

David Lang, Alvin Singleton elected to American Academy of Arts and Letters

David Lang

David Lang

Composers David Lang ’83 MMA, ’89 DMA, a member of the YSM composition faculty, and Alvin Singleton ’71 MMA were recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Lang, who holds Carnegie Hall’s Richard and Barbara Debs Chair in Composition for the 2013–2014 season, is the winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Music.

Also among this year’s inductees into the American Academy are fiction writers Denis Johnson, Ha Jin, and Tobias Wolff; fiction writer-essayist Wendell Berry; photographer Robert Adams; and artists Ann Hamilton and Bill Jensen.

Cookbook author and restaurateur Alice Waters will become an American honorary member, the academy said Thursday. Foreign honorary members include composer-pianist Magnus Lindberg; novelists Haruki Murakami, Colm Toibin, and John Banville; architect Toyo Ito, and expressionist painter Leon Kossoff. MORE

Published March 21, 2014
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YSM composers among American Academy of Arts & Letters awardees

The American Academy of Arts and Letters announced recently the eighteen recipients of this year’s awards in music, which total $190,000. The winners were selected by a committee of Academy members. 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.

Faculty member and alumnus Christopher Theofanidis ’97DMA (pictured at left) will receive the Wladimir and Rhoda Lakond Award. This award of $10,000 is given to a promising mid-career composer.

Reena Esmail ’11MM 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.

Chris Rogerson ’12MM is among the six recipients of Charles Ives Scholarships of $7500, which are given to composition students of great promise.

About the Award Recipients

Christopher Theofanidis is on the faculty of Yale University and has taught at the Peabody Conservatory and The Juilliard School. He writes for a variety of musical genres, from orchestral and chamber music to opera and ballet. His work, Rainbow Body, has been programmed by over 120 orchestras internationally. Mr. Theofanidis’ works have been performed by the New York Philharmonic, the London Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and he has a long-standing relationship with the Atlanta Symphony. Mr. Theofanidis has written widely for the stage, from a work for the American Ballet Theatre, to multiple dramatic pieces, including The Refuge for the Houston Grand Opera and Heart of a Soldier for the San Francisco Opera. His large-scale piece, The Here and Now, was nominated for a Grammy award in 2007. MORE

Published March 22, 2012
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Composers Aaron Jay Kernis and Martin Boykan elected to American Academy of Arts and Letters

Aaron Jay Kernis

The American Academy of Arts and Letters announced earlier this month that Aaron Jay Kernis ’83MM, a graduate of the Yale School of Music and a current member of the composition faculty, and alumnus Martin Boykan ’53MM are among the ten people recently elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The Academy will hold its annual induction and award ceremony in mid-May. J. D. McClatchy, president of the Academy, will conduct the presentation of awards in architecture, art, literature, and music. Rosanna  Warren, Secretary of the Academy, will induct the new members into the 250-person organization: artists Walter De Maria, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Malcolm Morley, James Turrell, and architect Robert A. M. Stern; writers Louis Begley, Michael Cunningham, and Rita Dove; and composers Martin Boykan and Aaron Jay Kernis.

President McClatchy will induct choreographer Bill T. Jones to American Honorary membership and writers Anne Carson and Elfriede Jelinek and artist William Kentridge to Foreign Honorary membership. Rocco Landesman, the chairman of the NEA, will deliver the Blashfield Foundation Address, titled “The Play’s the Thing.” An exhibition of art, architecture, books, and manuscripts by new members and recipients of awards will be on view in the Academy’s galleries from May 19 to June 12.

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Published March 23, 2011
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Four YSM composers among award recipients from American Academy of Arts and Letters

Jay Wadley

The American Academy of Arts and Letters recently announced the recipients of this year’s awards in music. Among the fifteen recipients of the five different awards were four current and past students of the Yale School of Music.

Harmony Ives, the widow of Charles Ives, bequeathed to the Academy the royalties of Charles Ives’ music, which has enabled the Academy to give the Ives awards in music since 1970.  Two Charles Ives Fellowships, of $15,000 each, will be awarded to Dan Visconti and Jay Wadley ’07MM, ’08AD.

Six Charles Ives Scholarships of $7500, given to composition students of great promise, will be awarded to Christopher Cerrone ’09MM, ’10MMA and Hannah Lash ’12AD, as well as Louis Chiappetta, Michael Ippolito, Bryan Jacobs, and Alex Mincek.

The winners were selected by a committee of Academy members: Ezra Laderman (chairman), David Del Tredici, Fred Lerdahl, Bernard Rands, Steven Stucky, and Yehudi Wyner. Rands and Wyner are both alumni of the Yale School of Music.

The awards will be presented at the Academy’s annual ceremony in May. Candidates for the music awards are nominated by the 250 members of the Academy.

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Published February 18, 2011
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