In advance of December’s annual directory publication, Musical America publishes 2016 awardee list

[Press release]

Yannick Nézet-Séguin Named Artist of the Year
Tod Machover, Jennifer Koh, Mark Padmore, and Boston Modern Orchestra Project Recognized as Composer, Instrumentalist, Vocalist, and Ensemble of the Year

NEW YORK, NY  Oct. 15–Musical America, now in its third century as the indispensable resource for the performing arts, today announced the winners of the annual Musical America Awards, recognizing artistic excellence and achievement in the arts.

The announcement precedes the December publication of the 2016 Musical America International Directory of the Performing Arts, which, in addition to its comprehensive industry listings, pays homage to each of these artists in its editorial pages.

The annual Musical America Awards will be presented in a special ceremony at Carnegie Hall on Tuesday, December 8.

ARTIST OF THE YEAR: YANNICK NEZET-SEGUIN
Photo by Chris Lee

He is “the greatest generator of energy on the international podium.” That’s what the Financial Times calls Yannick Nézet-Séguin. The exciting young Canadian conductor and the renowned Philadelphia Orchestra forged a bond from their first concert in 2008. He became the ensemble’s eighth music director in 2012, and earlier this year his contract was extended through 2022.

So strong is the artistic chemistry between conductor and orchestra that the players speak of a new golden age in Philadelphia. Reviews for the ensemble’s first international tour with Nézet-Séguin last spring hailed “this new dream team” (Vienna’s Kronen Zeitung), and the critic of The Guardian in London wrote of “a thrilling concert” by this “remarkable partnership.” George Loomis writes in his Musical America tribute to Nézet-Séguin that “his performances have brilliance and virtuosity but also an inherent rightness and logic in which the sum of the astutely conceived parts adds up to a richly satisfying whole.”

A native of Montreal, he has been music director of that city’s Orchestre Métropolitain since 2000, and in September he extended his tenure through the 2020-21 season. He succeeded Valery Gergiev as principal conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic in 2008 and will remain in that position until 2018, when he will assume the title of honorary conductor.

An acclaimed opera conductor, Nézet-Séguin led a new production of Verdi’s Otello this September to open the season at the Metropolitan Opera, where he has appeared in every season since 2009-10. He recently recorded Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro for Deutsche Grammophon as part of a series that will comprise the seven mature operas.

The Orchestra and Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin had the extraordinary honor of performing in Philadelphia for Pope Francis, visiting pilgrims, and a global audience for the Festival of Families and a Papal Mass. A high point of the 2015-16 Philadelphia Orchestra season will be performances of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of its North American premiere, which Leopold Stokowski led in March 1916.

COMPOSER OF THE YEAR: TOD MACHOVER
Photo: Lucerne Festival/Priska Ketterer

Tod Machover is a futurist, and he has the Einsteinian wild hair and the academic titles to prove it. He studied at Juilliard with Elliott Carter and Roger Sessions, and in 1980 he became director of musical research for Pierre Boulez’s electronic-music institute IRCAM in Paris. He currently directs Opera of the Future and Hyperinstruments groups at M.I.T.’s Media Lab. Machover was a composer in residence at this summer’s Lucerne Festival, where he presented a tribute to Boulez, Re-Structures, and also composed Fensadense, which utilized electronic armbands that allowed the players’ physical movements to alter their amplified instruments’ sound. He has rethought the symphony as a community event, recording sound samples from the region and its citizens to interweave with his own orchestral score. Water plays a major role in his Symphony for Lucerne. And his most recent Symphony in D, for Detroit, is steeped in–naturally–Motown and autos.

INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR: JENNIFER KOH

Jennifer Koh‘s parents had her learn a bit of everything: ballet, gymnastics, skating, swimming, and music, and they took her regularly to the Chicago Symphony and the Lyric Opera. She began studying violin at age 3 and developed an interest in the new and unusual. She studied with Jaime Laredo at the Curtis Institute and Felix Galimir at Marlboro. A silver medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition and an Avery Fisher Career Grant led to her trademark tapestries of new and old. This season she will play the Beethoven Violin Sonatas, partnered by Shai Wosner, paired with newly commissioned companion works by Anthony Cheung, Andrew Norman, Jörg Widmann, and the jazz pianist Vijay Iyer. In 2012 she appeared as Einstein in a touring production of Philip Glass’s Einstein on the Beach that will lead to further collaborations with Glass and the director Robert Wilson, scheduled for 2016 and 2017. She records for Cedille Records.

VOCALIST OF THE YEAR: MARK PADMORE
Photo: ©Richard Termine

British tenor Mark Padmore is our generation’s foremost interpreter of the Evangelist in Bach’s St. Matthew and St. John Passions. He has sung over 150 performances of the St. Matthew Passion in such varied approaches as period bands, conductorless chamber-music style, or perhaps most notably in recent times, Simon Rattle and the modern-instrument Berlin Philharmonic, staged by Peter Sellars in Berlin, Salzburg, New York at the Park Avenue Armory, and at the BBC Proms. Also last season in New York, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Padmore exposed Captain Vere’s inner turbulence in the Glyndebourne Opera production of Britten’s Billy Budd. Composers who have written for him include Harrison Birtwistle, Mark-Anthony Turnage, and Thomas Larcher. He records for Harmonia Mundi. He will sing the three great Schubert song cycles with fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout at Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival at Alice Tully Hall on October 14, 15, and 17. Padmore is artistic director of the St. Endellion Summer Music Festival in Cornwall.

ENSEMBLE OF THE YEAR: BMOP

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project celebrates its 20th anniversary season this year. Known by its friends and admirers as BMOP (pronounced BEE-mop), it was founded in 1996 by conductor Gil Rose, still the Project’s artistic director, as a flexible freelance ensemble devoted to music of the 20th- and 21st centuries, mostly but not exclusively American. The orchestra to date has presented more than 100 premieres, as well as 50 esteemed recordings, the majority issued on its house CD label, BMOP/sound, launched in 2008. In its two decades, it has accumulated a growing number of awards, including 11 ASCAP awards for adventurous orchestral programming. Its distinctively designed CDs include music by the late Gunther Schuller, the first recordings of Lukas Foss’s complete symphonies, the complete orchestral works of the forgotten, masterful Irving Fine, and Andrew Norman’s Play, judged by some critics to be the first major orchestral work of the 21st century.

ABOUT MUSICAL AMERICA WORLDWIDE

Founded as a weekly newspaper in 1898, Musical America through the years has appeared in a variety of formats. Today, it is both the International Directory of the Performing Arts and MusicalAmerica.com.

The annual Directory, known as the “bible” of the industry, features over 14,000 detailed listings of worldwide arts organizations, with over 8,000 artists indexed both alphabetically and categorically. The first Directory was published in 1960, which is also when the tradition of choosing a Musician of the Year began. (A complete list is below). Awards for Instrumentalist, Conductor, Composer, and Vocalist of the Year date from 1992; Ensemble of the Year from 1995. All are available at Honorees.

Returning to Musical America’s newspaper roots, MusicalAmerica.com was launched in December 1998 and now publishes up to six performing arts news stories daily, by national and international correspondents around the globe. Most of the Directory listings are also available at MusicalAmerica.com.

Musicians of the Year
1960: Leonard Bernstein
1961: Leontyne Price
1962: Igor Stravinsky
1963: Erich Leinsdorf
1964: Benjamin Britten
1965: Vladimir Horowitz
1966: Yehudi Menuhin
1967: Leopold Stokowski
1968-69: Birgit Nilsson
1970: Beverly Sills
1971: Michael Tilson Thomas
1972: Pierre Boulez
1973: George Balanchine
1974: Sarah Caldwell
1975: Eugene Ormandy
1976: Arthur Rubinstein
1977: Plácido Domingo
1978: Alicia de Larrocha
1979: Rudolf Serkin
1980: Zubin Mehta
1981: Itzhak Perlman
1982: Jessye Norman
1983: Nathan Milstein
1984: James Levine
1985: Philip Glass
1986: Isaac Stern
1987: Mstislav Rostropovich
1988: Sir Georg Solti
1989: Leonard Bernstein
1990: Herbert von Karajan
1991: Gian Carlo Menotti
1992: Robert Shaw
1993: Kurt Masur
1994: Christa Ludwig
1995: Marilyn Horne
1996: The Juilliard String Quartet
1997: James Galway
1998: Seiji Ozawa
1999: André Previn
2000: Carnegie Hall
2001: Martha Argerich
2002: Sir Simon Rattle
2003: Kronos Quartet
2004: Wynton Marsalis
2005: Karita Mattila
2006: Esa-Pekka Salonen
2007: Bernard Haitink
2008: Anna Netrebko
2009: Yo-Yo Ma
2010: Riccardo Muti
2011: Anne-Sophie Mutter
2012: David Finckel and Wu Han
2013: Gustavo Dudamel
2014: Audra McDonald
2015: Peter Sellars

To learn more about Contests & Awards from  Musical America, visit their website.

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