Presenters and Ensembles Receive Awards for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music

Awards to be given at Chamber Music America Conference January 14 - 17, 2010 at the Westin in Times Square
Contact: Amanda Ameer; First Chair Promotion

New York, NY-- Five presenters and four ensembles from around the country will be recognized with CMA/ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming at the Chamber Music America National Conference on Sunday, January 17, 2010. The ceremony will take place at 3:00 P.M. at the Westin Times Square (207 W. 43rd Street) in New York City. The awards are given jointly by Chamber Music America and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

Presented annually, these awards recognize ensembles, presenters and festivals that have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to 20th and 21st-century music, with a special focus on works written in the past 25 years. The recipients were chosen by an independent panel of judges, who considered originality in programming and looked for innovative presentation and audience-development strategies.

Frances J. Richard, ASCAP’s vice president and director of concert music, will present the awards.

After the presentation, Terrance McKnight, host of WQXR’s Evening Music program, will moderate a conversation with the recipients. Each will be invited to share success stories about performing and presenting new music to today’s audiences.

“Chamber Music America has enthusiastically supported the commissioning and performance of new music for over 30 years,” commented Chamber Music America’s CEO, Margaret M. Lioi. “We are grateful to ASCAP for its partnership in this program, and are pleased to join them in celebrating the accomplishments of this year’s winners.”

Below are the award recipients.


The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and Sō Percussion—both based in Brooklyn, NY—share the award in the category of ensembles that present new music exclusively. ICE, founded in 2001, is a flexible self-presenting group that champions music by emerging composers and has performed more than 400 world premieres to date. Founded in 1999 at the Yale School of Music, Sō Percussion (Jason Treuting, Adam Sliwinsky, Eric Beach and Josh Quillen) is cited for its breadth of commissions and programming and its record of drawing new audiences in traditional and nontraditional venues.

The Alturas Duo (Scott Hill, guitar, and Carlos Boltes, viola and charango), based in West Hartford, CT, was named the winner in the mixed-repertory category. The duo, founded eight years ago, mixes South American folkloric, classical, and contemporary genres and commissions music from Latin American and U.S. composers for its unusual instrumentation.

The Bronx-based Chris Byars Quartet (Chris Byars, saxophones, flute, arranger/composer; John Mosca, trombone; Ari Roland, bass; and Stefan Schatz, drums), receives the award in the jazz category. The group performs original music by Byars, as well as newly discovered works from lesser known figures of jazz history, and folksong material adapted from international sources. The quartet also develops original jazz programming for young, neighborhood audiences.


The Bowdoin International Music Festival in Brunswick, ME, founded in 1964, is the 2010 recipient in the mixed-genre category of large presenters (10 or more concerts per season). Bowdoin’s long record of integrating contemporary music into its manifold summer activities includes an impressive composers-in-residence program, as well as the annual Charles E. Gamper Festival of Contemporary Music.

Another well-established presenter, Earshot Jazz Society of Seattle (WA), receives the award for large-scale presenters of jazz. Formed in 1984, Earshot has a series focusing entirely on new music by emerging resident artists; in addition, its commissioned works, from composers ranging from Steve Lacy to Wayne Horvitz and Cuong Vu, reach audiences in an exceptionally wide array of venues.

Carlsbad Music Festival (Carlsbad, CA)—an alternative classical music festival founded by violinist/composer Matt McBane in 2004—is the winner in the small presenter/contemporary music category. With the Calder Quartet as its founding ensemble-in-residence, the festival has commissioned 13 works to date and presented 6 world premieres in 2009.

The Painted Bride Art Center (Philadelphia, PA) will receive the small presenter/jazz award. A multi-disciplinary presenter founded in 1986, the Painted Bride Art Center has distinguished itself by providing fresh presentations of new work, including world music/jazz hybrids.

ARTSwego (Oswego, NY), is the recipient of the award for small presenters of mixed genres. Based in a small, upstate New York city, ARTSwego was cited for consistently attracting audiences with its nontraditional, risk-taking programming.

Chamber Music America, the national service organization for the ensemble music profession, was founded in 1977 to promote artistic excellence and the economic stability in the field, and to ensure that chamber music, in its broadest sense, is a vital part of American life.
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.

ASCAP is a membership association of more than 365,000 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.