Presenters and Ensembles Honored for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music

For Immediate Release
Contact: Susan Dadian
212-242-2022 ext. 13

New York, NY—Five presenters and three ensembles will be recognized with CMA/ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming at the 34th Chamber Music America National Conference on Sunday, January 15, 2012. The ceremony will take place at the Westin New York at Times Square (207 W. 43rd Street) in New York City. Cia Toscanini, vice president of concert music, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), will present the awards.

Established jointly by Chamber Music America and ASCAP, the annual awards recognize U.S.-based professional ensembles and presenters for distinctive programming of new music composed in the past 25 years. The recipients were chosen by an independent panel of judges, who evaluated the applicants on the basis their programming of recent works and innovations in attracting audiences to new music performances.

“This year’s award recipients represent some of the most exciting contemporary music programming in the country,” said Chamber Music America’s CEO, Margaret M. Lioi. 

“Judging from the number of excellent applications that we received, new music is flourishing in the chamber music community. We are pleased to recognize these outstanding ensembles and presenters for their accomplishments.”

Below are the award recipients.

The JACK Quartet (New York City) will receive an award in the category of ensembles specializing in contemporary music. In just under fifty concerts during the 2010-2011 season, the string quartet performed 41 commissions and included works by such composers as Georg Friedrich Haas, Iannis Xenakis, Aaron Cassidy, Steve Lehman, and Vijay Iyer. One program featured Horaţiu Rădulescu’s String Quartet No. 5, a work using the overtones of scordatura strings, paired with Bach’s Art of Fugue, realized in just intonation

The Aakash Mittal Quartet (Boulder, CO) will receive the jazz ensemble award.  Led by saxophonist Aakash Mittal, the group performs its members’ original works and draws heavily on the improvisational vocabulary and compositional aspects of the North Indian classical raga tradition. Mittal’s Videsh Suite takes the listener on a journey to India through the use of post-bop, raga music, serialism and electronic samples.

The Chiara String Quartet (Lincoln, NE) will receive the award for mixed-repertory ensembles. For its Creator/Curator project, the ensemble commissioned composers Gabriela Lena Frank, Huang Ruo, Nico Muhly and Daniel Ott and asked each to curate an evening of music around his/her composition. The quartet worked with Stacy Garrop and Skaneateles Musical Festival attendees to write new piece with Hyperscore, an interactive software program, and hosted a YouTube competition for young string quartets to perform the works of Geoffrey Hudson.


Vivre Musicale (Baltimore, MD) receives the award for small presenters of mixed repertory. The organization was cited for its past season’s theme, Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue: A Marriage of Mediums, which paired traditional, contemporary, jazz and blues music with works of poetry, art, photography, mixed media and dance.  Works included music from the Baroque era to premieres.

The Walden School(Dublin, NH) was cited for an honor in the small-presenter category.  The organization’s 2011 annual summer festival in New Hampshire brought together a collaboration between the Walden School, the Firebird Ensemble and the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music to commission eleven new works, eight by Walden faculty members and three by Apple Hill student composers.

The Painted Bride Art Center (Philadelphia, PA) will receive the award for small presenters of jazz.  The past season’s programming, organized by music curator Lenny Seidman, was a series mixing world music and jazz, including work by jazz artists who drew from their ethnic roots: Amir ElSaffar (Iraq), Michele Rosewoman (Afro-Cuban), Emilio Solla (Argentina) and Rez Abbasi (Pakistan).

Arts for Art (New York City) receives the honor for large presenters specializing in jazz. Cited for its 16th Annual Vision Festival, this organization continues to champion innovative jazz artists and enhances its performance events with dance, visual art and discussions. In addition to staging concerts by such jazz composers as Faye Victor, Dick Griffin, Gerald Cleaver, Kris Davis and Ingrid Laubrock throughout the city’s Lower East Side, the organization’s 2011 festival featured panel discussions on “Media and the Arts” and “Innovative Music in Education,” and conducted outreach activities for residents of a low-income housing development. 

Symphony Space(New York City)receives the award for large mixed-repertory presenters. The organization’s programming included premieres of its own commissions throughout the season, a Sonidos Festival of Latin American and Caribbean music, and a Music of Now marathon with works by 21 contemporary composers.  Audience-engagement activities included discussions moderated by artistic director Laura Kaminsky in the venue’s bar; question-and-answer sessions with composers, such as Meredith Monk; the development of a jazz app of performances; and live streaming. 

Chamber Music America,the national service organization for the ensemble music profession, was founded in 1977 to develop and strengthen an evolving chamber music community.  With a membership of over 6,000—including musicians, ensembles, presenters, artists’ managers, educators, music businesses, and advocates of ensemble music—CMA welcomes members representing a wide range of musical styles and traditions.  In addition to its funding programs, CMA provides its members with consulting services, access to health and instrument insurance, conferences, seminars and several publications, including Chamber Music magazine and a website, www.chamber-music.org.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishersis a membership association of more than 420,000 composers, songwriters, and publishers of every music genre. Founded in 1914, ASCAP is the only U.S. performing rights organization created and governed by its members.  ASCAP licenses non-dramatic public performances and distributes royalties to its members.  ASCAP makes obtaining permission to perform music simple and economical for all who wish to perform copyrighted music publicly.