[Press release] Chorus America, the nation’s leading choral music advocacy organization, announced it is conferring an unprecedented two top awards on Los Angeles Master Chorale’s key leadership – Artistic Director Grant Gershon garners the prestigious Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal, and outgoing President & CEO Terry Knowles, who steps down at the end of the 2014-15 season after 15 fruitful years at the Chorale’s administrative helm, receives the coveted Chorus America Distinguished Service Award for her lifetime service to choral art. All 2015 award recipients were selected by independent panels, and these particular awards are given periodically and only at the panels’ discretion. Gershon and Knowles will accept their honors at a luncheon at Chorus America’s 2015 Conference in Boston, Massachusetts, June 17-20, 2015. This marks the first time the organization has received two Chorus America awards in the same year. The Chorale was previously honored with the organization’s ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming three times in 1995, 2003 and 2010, the Education and Community Engagement Award twice in 2000 and 2008, and also earned Chorus America’s prestigious Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence in 2012.
“We’re thrilled to recognize these leaders in excellence and innovation. Ultimately, their success benefits the entire choral field,” said Catherine Dehoney, President and CEO of Chorus America.
The Botto Award is given periodically to a choral leader who, through his or her work with a member ensemble of Chorus America, has demonstrated innovative action and entrepreneurial zeal in developing a professional or professional-core choral ensemble. Gershon, currently in his 14th season with the Chorale, has led more than 100 performances at the Walt Disney Concert Hall over his tenure, including numerous world premieres by John Adams, Esa-Pekka Salonen, David Lang, Louis Andriessen, Christopher Rouse, Steve Reich, Morten Lauridsen, Ricky Ian Gordon, Gabriela Lena Frank and Chinary Ung, among many others. He has appeared as guest conductor with the National Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the LA Chamber Orchestra, the Houston Grand Opera, Minnesota Opera, and many other organizations. The Botto Award was established in memory of Louis Botto for his artistry, selfless service, and entrepreneurial spirit in founding the men’s vocal ensemble Chanticleer.
The Chorus America Distinguished Service Award spotlights Knowles for her long-term service to the choral field and her efforts to build a dynamic and inclusive choral community so that more people are transformed by the beauty and power of choral singing. Knowles has served as president and CEO of the Los Angeles Master Chorale since 2000, and will be stepping down June 30, at the end of the season, following a tremendously successful tenure with the organization. Under her leadership, LAMC has increased its operating budget by more than 80%, undertaken ambitious commissioning projects, toured around the world, released six commercial CDs, and created a recording partnership with Decca Classics. She also led the Chorale’s expanded relationship with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the launch of the Voices Within education outreach program. Under her management, the Chorale twice received the ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming – in 2003 and 2010 – as well as Chorus America’s prestigious 2012 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, the nation’s highest choral music award. Knowles served on the Chorus America Board of Directors from 1990-1996. During her career, she also served as President of the Dale Warland Singers’ board of trustees and held leading fundraising positions at major institutions including California Institute of the Arts, KUSC Radio, Los Angeles Opera, and Minneapolis United Way.