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2018 Music Award Winners

Contact: Ardith Holmgrain

[email protected]

NEW YORK, March 9, 2018—The American Academy of Arts and Letters announced today the eighteen recipients of this year’s awards in music, which total $225,000. The winners were selected by a committee of Academy members: Yehudi Wyner (chairman), Samuel Adler, Sebastian Currier, David Rakowski, Melinda Wagner, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. 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.

Arts and Letters Awards in Music


Four composers will receive $10,000 Arts and Letters Awards in Music, which honor outstanding artistic achievement and acknowledge composers who have arrived at their own voice. They will each receive an additional $10,000 toward the recording of one work and have their music presented in a concert at the Academy in the spring of 2019.


Benjamin H. Danks Award in Music


This award of $20,000 is given in rotation to a composer of ensemble works, a playwright, and a writer, and is made possible through a gift from Roy Linden Danks to encourage young talent.


Walter Hinrichsen Award in Music


This award was established by the C. F. Peters Corporation, music publishers, in 1984, and is given for the publication of a work by a gifted composer.


Andrew Imbrie Award in Music


The Andrew Imbrie Award of $10,000 is given to a composer of demonstrated artistic merit in mid-career.


Charles Ives Awards in Music

Charles Ives Fellowships


Charles Ives Scholarships


Harmony Ives, the widow of Charles Ives, bequeathed to the Academy the royalties of Charles Ives’s music, which has enabled the Academy to give awards in composition since 1970. Two Charles Ives Fellowships of $15,000 each and six Charles Ives Scholarships of $7500 each will be awarded.


Wladimir and Rhoda Lakond Award in Music


This $10,000 prize in music composition was established through a bequest from Wladimir and Rhoda Lakond.


Goddard Lieberson Fellowships in Music


Two Goddard Lieberson Fellowships of $15,000 each, endowed in 1978 by the CBS Foundation, are given to mid-career composers of exceptional gifts.




Composer Kathryn Alexander is on the music faculty at Yale University. She is a recipient of the Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Aaron Copland House Award, the Roger Sessions Memorial Bogliasco Fellowship, with residencies at June-in-Buffalo, the MacDowell Colony, Tanglewood, and Yaddo. She has been commissioned and performed by the Aaron Copland Foundation, the Barlow Endowment, the California E.A.R. Unit, the Fromm Music Foundation, the Hopkins Center for the Arts, the JACK Quartet, the National Flute Association, the NOW Ensemble, Southwest Chamber Music, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Vermont Chamber Music Festival, among others. She completed her studies at Baylor University, The Cleveland Institute of Music and the Eastman School of Music, working with composers Donald Erb, Eugene O’Brien, Samuel Adler and Joseph Schwantner.


Composer-conductor Matthew Aucoin is currently Artist-in-Residence at Los Angeles Opera, a position that brings together his work as composer and as conductor. LA Opera has co-commissioned Aucoin’s next opera, Eurydice, with the Metropolitan Opera’s new-works program. Aucoin’s orchestral and chamber music has been performed by artists including Yo-Yo Ma, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Zurich’s Tonhalle Orchestra, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Brentano Quartet, Chanticleer, violinist Jennifer Koh, and countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, among others. In 2017, Aucoin co-founded the American Modern Opera Company, a path-breaking ensemble of pioneering young artists. Aucoin is a 2012 graduate of Harvard College (summa cum laude), and a 2014 recipient of a graduate diploma from The Juilliard School.


John Aylward has been described by the Boston Globe as “a composer of wide intellectual curiosity” who summons “textures of efficient richness, delicate and deep all at once.” His music is inextricably linked to a second love of literature and poetry and the connections between ancient and modern literary traditions. Aylward’s work has been performed internationally by a range of ensembles and soloists, and his own ensemble, Ecce, has served as a laboratory for larger commissions to take shape. As the Artistic Director of the Etchings Festival in Auvillar, France, Aylward has supported the creation of new music of all kinds. Awards and fellowships include those from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters (Goddard Lieberson Fellowship), the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, the Koussevitzky Commission from the Library of Congress, the Fulbright Foundation (Germany), the DAAD (residency in Berlin) the MacDowell Colony, Tanglewood, the Aspen Music School, and many others. Aylward lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and teaches composition at Clark University.


Theo Chandler is a composer of concert and stage works, currently based in Houston. He has received commissions from Les Délices, the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West, Amir Eldan, George Sakakeeny, Alexa Still, Michael Rosen, and others. Chandler has been a fellow at Tanglewood Music Center and Aspen Music Festival and School. Presently, he is the Emerging Composer Fellow for Musiqa, and was previously the Young Composer in Residence for the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings. Chandler holds degrees from The Juilliard School and Oberlin Conservatory, and is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts at Rice University. While at Juilliard, he was selected as a winner of the Orchestra Competition, Gena Raps Chamber Music Competition, and New Juilliard Ensemble Competition.


Jonathan Cziner is an American composer based in New York City. His works have been performed in the United States and Europe by established and emerging artists alike, with recent commissions by the Lyric Chamber Society, the American Guild of Organists, and the Dallas Harp Quartet. His work Transient Bodies, commissioned by the New Juilliard Ensemble, was awarded the 2017 Juilliard Palmer Dixon Prize, given to the year’s most outstanding composition. He has also received recognition from the Minnesota and Sioux City Symphony Orchestras for his orchestral work reAwaken. Jonathan’s primary teachers include Robert Beaser and Justin Dello Joio. He is currently a doctoral candidate in the C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellows Program at The Juilliard School.


Jack Frerer (b. 1995) is an Australian-American composer of music for concert, film and dance, as well as a producer and filmmaker based in Manhattan, currently pursuing a B.M. in Composition at The Juilliard School where he studies with John Corigliano. His work has been performed by a variety of ensembles around Australia, Europe, and the US, and has won competitions including Illinois State University’s Red Note Composition Competition, the Alba Rosa Viëtor Composition Competition in Utrecht, the Young Australian Music Composition Competition, and Indiana State University’s Music Now Competition. Frerer is a co-creator and producer of The Roof, a collaborative film and performance series he created with dancer Liana Kleinman which features New York–based choreographers and composers.


Eli Greenhoe (b. 1994) is a composer, instrumentalist, and songwriter from Brooklyn, New York. His music has been performed by the Ostrava New Orchestra (Czech Republic), SEM Ensemble, and Yale Philharmonia, and has been championed internationally by performers such as Aki Takahashi, George Manahan, and Bruno Ferrandis, among others. His music has received recognition from organizations like ASCAP and the American Composers Orchestra (Earshot), and upon graduation from the Manhattan School of Music in 2016, he was awarded both the Carl Kanter prize for orchestral composition and the Nicholas Flagello award for outstanding achievement from a graduating composition student. Greenhoe is currently pursuing his Master of Music degree at the Yale School of Music, where he studies with Martin Bresnick, Aaron Jay Kernis, and Christopher Theofanidis.


The music of Rome Prize and Guggenheim-winning composer Jesse Jones has been performed extensively across North America, Europe, and Asia, in venues such as Lincoln Center, Avery Fisher Hall, the Muziekgebouw (Amsterdam), Seiji Ozawa Hall (Tanglewood), the Kimmel Center (Philadelphia), Glinka Hall (Russia), the Paul Hindemith Foundation (Switzerland), the American Academy in Rome (Italy), and the St. Matthäuskirche (Berlin), among others. Jones has received commissions and premieres from many of the world’s leading ensembles and soloists, including the Juilliard String Quartet, Ensemble Recherche (Germany), Scharoun Ensemble Berlin, Alter Ego (Italy), Cochlea (Switzerland), and from Tanglewood, Aspen, New Music USA, the Barlow Endowment, and many others. Jones holds a DMA in music composition from Cornell University, and is currently Assistant Professor of Composition at the Oberlin Conservatory.


Sunbin Kim is a Korean-born composer based in Manhattan. His compositions have been performed in concerts and festivals around the world, including the Aspen Music Festival and School, the Zodiac Music Festival (France), Tanglewood Music Festival, the Uzmah/Upbeat International Summer Music Festival in Croatia, and the VIPA Music Festival and School in Valencia, Spain. An accomplished pianist, Sunbin performed his own Fantasy Concerto with the American Symphony Orchestra under Leon Botstein. He has received commissions from the Iktus Percussion Ensemble, Smash Ensemble, the Da Capo Chamber Players, Cisum Percussion Ensemble, and the New Juilliard Contemporary Ensemble. Among numerous awards, Sunbin has been recognized eight times by the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Competition and by North/South Consonance. Sunbin was awarded Bachelors degrees in music composition and physics from Bard College, studying with George Tsontakis and Joan Tower and completed his Master of Music degree in composition at The Juilliard School where he worked with Robert Beaser. Sunbin is now a DMA candidate at the Manhattan School of Music, studying composition with Reiko Füting.


Peter Van Zandt Lane is a composer of concert music and music for dance. His electroacoustic ballet, HackPolitik—a New York Times Critic’s Pick—was hailed as “angular, jarring, and sophisticated . . . Ballet needs live music, and this one offered it at the highest level” (Boston Musical Intelligencer). Residency awards include Copland House, Composers Now, Yaddo, and MacDowell Colony. Recent commissions include those from the Atlanta Chamber Players, American Chamber Winds for a concerto for trombonist Joseph Alessi, two Barlow Endowment commissions, and the Sydney Conservatorium Wind Symphony. His music has been played by the Cleveland Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble, Lydian String Quartet, Mod[ular] Ensemble, Juventas Ensemble, Georgia Wind Quintet, and Transient Canvas. He is currently Assistant Professor of Composition at the University of Georgia.


John Mackey has written for orchestras (Brooklyn Philharmonic, New York Youth Symphony), theater (Dallas Theater Center), and extensively for dance (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Parsons Dance Company, New York City Ballet), but the majority of his work for the past decade has been for wind ensembles, and his band catalog now receives annual performances numbering in the thousands. Recent commissions include works for the BBC Singers, the Dallas Wind Symphony, military, high school, middle school, and university bands across America and Japan, and concertos for Joseph Alessi (principal trombone, New York Philharmonic) and Christopher Martin (principal trumpet, New York Philharmonic). In 2014, he became the youngest composer ever inducted into the American Bandmasters Association.


Deemed “one of the more consistently inventive, surprising composers now working in New York” (The New York Times), Missy Mazzoli has had her music performed globally by the Kronos Quartet, LA Opera, Cincinnati Opera, eighth blackbird, pianist Emanuel Ax, the BBC Symphony, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the LA Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, and many others. From 2012-2015 she was Composer-in-Residence with Opera Philadelphia. Opera News called her 2016 opera Breaking the Waves, created with librettist Royce Vavrek, “one of the best 21st-century American operas yet.” Her third opera, Proving Up, recently premiered to great acclaim at Washington National Opera, and will be performed at Opera Omaha and New York’s Miller Theatre later this year. Mazzoli’s works are published by G. Schirmer.


Andrew Rudin is a Texas-born composer of Swedish ancestry. His Il Giuoco (1966) was the first large-scale work for Moog synthesizer. With his Nonesuch LP Tragoedia, working as music assistant to Alwin Nikolais, and inclusion in the sound-track of Fellini Satyricon, he received early recognition primarily in the field of electronic music. Scores for many dance companies followed, including The Pennsylvania Ballet, as well as incidental music for theatre, and television. His opera, The Innocent, was produced in Philadelphia by Tito Capobianco. Recent concertos for violin, viola, and piano, along with numerous chamber music commissions, have brought him renewed recognition. Purewater, a chamber opera, written in collaboration with librettist Ann McCutchan, will be presented by The Center for Contemporary Opera in fall 2018. He taught at The Juilliard School and University of the Arts. His teachers included George Rochberg, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Ralph Shapey, and Kent Kennan.


Laurie San Martin writes music that creates a compelling narrative by exploring the intersection between texture and line. She writes concert music for chamber ensembles and orchestra but has also written for theater, dance, and video. Her music has been performed across the United States, Europe, and Asia. Most recently she has enjoyed writing for virtuoso soloists including violinists Hrafnhildur Atladottir and Gabriela Díaz, percussionists Chris Froh and Mayumi Hama, Haleh Abghari (soprano), Yi Ji-Young (Korean gayageum), and David Russell (cello). Laurie has worked with numerous ensembles including the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Berlin PianoPercussion, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, eighth blackbird, SF Chamber Orchestra, the Lydian Quartet, Magnetic South Ensemble, Washington Square Contemporary Chamber Players, and others. Recipient of the 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship, she has also received awards from the Fromm Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, League of Composers-ISCM, the International Alliance for Women in Music, and the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer’s Awards. As a composition fellow, she has attended the MacDowell Colony, the Montalvo Artist Residency, Yaddo, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Norfolk Contemporary Chamber Music Festival, and the Composers Conference at Wellesley College. Laurie holds a Ph.D. from Brandeis University in Theory and Composition. She has taught at Clark University and is currently Professor of Music at the University of California, Davis.


The music of Matthew Schreibeis spans orchestral, chamber, and vocal works, and includes collaborations with video artists and a series of works for traditional Korean instruments. His works have been performed throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia by soprano Tony Arnold, New York New Music Ensemble, Oberlin Contemporary Ensemble, Eastman BroadBand, and members of eighth blackbird and Alarm Will Sound, among others. Honors include fellowships and grants from the Camargo Foundation, Aspen Music Festival, MacDowell, Yaddo, and American Composers Forum. This summer he will be in residence at Copland House and record his first CD for Albany Records. He has taught at the soundSCAPE Festival in Italy and is currently Assistant Professor at Hong Kong Baptist University.


Peter S. Shin is a composer whose music navigates issues of national belonging, the co-opting and intermingling of disparate musical vernaculars, and the liminality between the two halves of his second-generation Korean-American identity. Peter’s music has been performed at the Walt Disney Concert Hall and Carnegie Hall, and he is the recent recipient of fellowships, commissions, and awards by John Adams for the Cabrillo Festival, Fulbright, Aspen Music Festival, Minnesota Orchestra, New York Youth Symphony, Alarm Will Sound, and SCI/ASCAP, among others. A graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Southern California, Peter is currently a composer fellow of the Berkeley Symphony and will continue studies at the Yale School of Music (M.M.A.) starting this fall. For more information, please visit:


Christopher Theofanidis’s music has been performed to by many of the world’s leading performing arts organizations, from the London Symphony and New York Philharmonic to the San Francisco Opera and the American Ballet Theatre. He is a two time Grammy nominee, and his work, Rainbow Body, is one of the most performed works of the new millennium, having been performed by over 150 orchestras worldwide. Mr. Theofanidis is currently on the faculty at Yale University and the Aspen Music Festival.



Scott Wheeler’s four operas have been commissioned by Washington National Opera, the Metropolitan Opera/Lincoln Center Theatre, Boston Lyric Opera/White Snake Projects, and the Guggenheim Foundation.  Recent commissions include Light Enough on texts of Lloyd Schwartz, Ben Gunn on texts of Paul Muldoon, and The Singing Turk, commissioned and premiered by Sharan Leventhal, and performed by violinists Gil Shaham and Jesse Mills. Wheeler’s 2017-2018 conducting appearances include the Chamber Music Society of Saugatuck and the Lynn Conservatory. Recent CDs include Portraits and Tributes, featuring pianist Donald Berman, on Bridge Records, and Crazy Weather, with BMOP conducted by Gil Rose. He is a 2017 Fellow of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and is Senior Distinguished Artist in Residence at Emerson College, where he teaches musical theatre.

Photo credits:
Matthew Schreibeis ̶ photograph by David Colagiovanni
Peter S. Shin photograph ̶ by Brianna Park
Scott Wheeler ̶ photograph by Bruno Murialdo

© 2021 American Academy of Arts and Letters