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New Music USA Announces 2013 Award Recipients

October 29, 2012

New Music USA has announced the recipients of its 2013 Awards, the first annual awards since the merger of the American Music Center and Meet The Composer. New Music USA is continuing the great tradition of the American Music Center’s annual awards, originally established in 1964, for champions in the field of new American music.

“New Music USA is committed to the vitality of the new music community,” New Music USA President and CEO Ed Harsh commented. “In continuing the American Music Center’s great awards tradition, we are delighted to be able to highlight some of the great artists and organizations who themselves have made such indispensable contributions to that community.”

Meredith Monk will be given New Music USA’s Founders Award. Established in 1999, the Founders Award is the highest honor the organization bestows, recognizing those who throughout their career have demonstrated extraordinary breadth and depth of impact on American music in national life. Named in honor of the six founders of the American Music Center (Aaron Copland, Howard Hansen, Marion Bauer, Otto Luening, Quincy Porter, and Harrison Kerr), it is given to previous Letter of Distinction recipients to celebrate lifetime achievement in the field of new American music. Previous winners include Elliott Carter, Lou Harrison, Milton Babbitt, Gunther Schuller, and Steve Reich. Last year’s honoree was John Harbison.

Letters of Distinction, which have been awarded annually since 1964, will be given to Anthony Braxton, John Kander, John Luther Adams, Pacific Serenades and William Kraft. This award recognizes those who have made a significant contribution to the field of contemporary American music. Previous recipients include George Balanchine, Leonard Bernstein, Joan Tower, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Morton Feldman, Laurie Anderson, Dizzy Gillespie, Michael Tilson Thomas, Virgil Thomson, Joan La Barbara, Randy Weston, the Kronos Quartet, Bang on a Can, Dawn Upshaw, Jack Beeson, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Copland House, William Bolcom and La Monte Young.

The Trailblazer Award, instituted in 2003, honors those deserving of commendation and support for their early and mid-career efforts in championing new music. The 2013 awardee is the JACK Quartet. Previous winners have included Matt Haimovitz, eighth blackbird, Derek Bermel, the International Contemporary Ensemble and So Percussion.

The New Music Educator Award will be bestowed on the Grand Canyon Music Festival for their Native American Composers Apprentice Project. The newest award, it was established in 2006 and honors conductors, professors, lecturers, academics, and others who have made important contributions in the realm of education, and who might not always be well known to the rest of the new music community. Previous winners include musicologist Charles Hamm, the New World Symphony and the Walden School.

The 2013 New Music USA Awards will be presented at a ceremony in May 2013. A complete list of previous award winners is available here.

Above, Meredith Monk performing “Bird Code” from “Songs from the Hill” in Florence, Italy (1995). Photo by Massimo Agus.