Gemma New (Photo credit: Aaron Harris)
For Immediate Release
10 young conductors receive 2019 Career Assistance Awards from The Solti Foundation U.S.
Foundation has awarded 78 Assistance Awards since 2004
Evanston, IL – The Solti Foundation released its 2019 Career Assistance Awards today, raising the number of Career Assistance Awards the organization has granted since turning its focus to exclusively assisting young American conductors in 2004 to 78. Penny Van Horn, Board Chair of The Solti Foundation U.S. and Elizabeth Buccheri, Artistic and Awards Committee Chair, announced the names of the ten recipients of the 2019 Solti Foundation Career Assistance Awards. The young conductors work throughout the United States, and abroad, and hold posts in California, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and abroad in Brazil and Canada.
“The future of classical music is indeed bright,” stated Ms. Van Horn. “Each year, the Foundation receives applications from all over, demonstrating the need for an organization such as ours. It is exciting to learn of new talent and to watch the growth of some former award recipients.
“This year’s award recipients include first time recipients and some young conductors whom we have supported in the past, and who have proven themselves to be deserving of additional support in their musical journeys. We congratulate each of the 2019 awardees.”
Ms. Van Horn revealed Conner Gray Covington, Associate Conductor, Utah Symphony; Aram Demirjian, Music Director of Knoxville Symphony Orchestra; Joshua Hong, Music Director of the Campanile Orchestra; Stilian Kirov, Music Director of the Bakersfield Symphony (CA), Illinois Philharmonic and New Jersey’s Symphony in C; Benjamin Manis, Resident Conductor of the Houston Grand Opera beginning September 2019; Lee Mills, Resident Conductor of the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, and Associate Conductor of the Seattle Symphony beginning September 2019; Gemma New, Music Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Resident Conductor of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, beginning 2019-2020 season; Stefano Sarzani, former Associate Conductor of the Des Moines Metro Opera, Stephanie Rhodes Russell, recently appointed Associate Conductor of the Grand Teton Music Festival; and Kensho Watanabe, Assistant Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra, as the 2019 Award recipients.
New Zealand-born Gemma New is Music Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Resident Conductor of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra. She was recently appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, a position she will assume in the 2019/20 season. A former Dudamel Conducting Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, she previously served as Associate Conductor of the New Jersey Symphony. Guest engagements include the symphony orchestras of Atlanta, Detroit, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, North Carolina, Omaha, San Diego, San Francisco, Toronto, Tucson, Winnipeg, the Los Angeles and New York philharmonics and Philadelphia Orchestra in North America, and internationally the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Helsingborgs Symfoniorkester, Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Malmö Symfoniorkester, Filharmonia Szczecin, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Auckland Philharmonia, and Christchurch Symphony, to name a few. Upcoming guest engagements include Santa Fe Pro Musica, a performance with the musicians of the Mendelssohn Orchestra Academy and Gewandhaus Orchestra at the Mendelssohn Saal of the Leipzig Gewandaus, the San Diego and San Francisco symphony orchestras, Toronto and Sewanee Summer Music Festivals, and the Lake Area Music Festival (MN). Awards include 2019 and 2017 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards and conducting fellowships at Aspen Music Festival, Salzburg Festival and Tanglewood. New holds a Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting from the Peabody Institute, and graduated from University of Canterbury in New Zealand with a Bachelor of Music in violin performance.
About The Solti Foundation U.S.
Now in its 15th year of assisting outstanding young U.S. conductors to further develop their talent and careers, The Solti Foundation U.S. is the foremost organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to helping young conductors.
Established in 2000 to honor the memory of the legendary conductor Sir Georg Solti by lending significant support to career-ready young American musicians, in 2004, the Foundation concentrated the focus of its award program to solely assist talented young American conductors early in their professional careers (its original mission was of a more general arts nature). Since then, it has awarded over $500,000 in grants to American conductors.
The Foundation endeavors to seek out those musicians who have chosen to follow a path similar to that followed by Sir Georg himself. In keeping with the spirit of Sir Georg’s active approach to his career, young conductors must apply to be considered for the awards.
While dedicated to identifying and assisting young conductors early on, the Foundation is also concerned with the long-term development of its award recipients, continuing to offer support and maintaining a constant interest in their growth and achievements.
The Foundation is currently the only American Foundation to grant these kinds of awards each year to young American conductors. Citizens or permanent residents of the United States who are career-ready artists in the field of conducting are eligible to apply.
Applicants for all Solti Foundation U.S. awards must be able to demonstrate that he/she is developing a career as a symphonic/operatic conductor. All applications from The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award are considered for a Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award. Applications are reviewed by an awards committee comprised of a panel of professionals with broad musical and conducting experience. The Foundation reserves the right to withhold a grant in any given year if the Awards Committee does not find suitable applicants in one or more of the various award categories.
For further details on The Solti Foundation U.S., its past awardees, their biographical information, the Foundation’s newsletter, as well as guidelines for the upcoming 2020 Awards, and a downloadable application form, please visit the Foundation’s website at: www.soltifoundation.us