LSM Newswire

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Solti Foundation U.S. Announces 2009 Awards to Four American Conductors

$25,000 Solti Fellow awarded to Erik Nielsen
Three Solti U.S. Career Assistance Awards given to James Feddeck, Kelly Kuo and Case Scaglione

Evanston, Illinois – The Solti Foundation U.S., established to honor the memory of the legendary conductor Sir Georg Solti by his widow, Lady Valerie Solti, and their two daughters, Gabrielle and Claudia, announced today that it has awarded four 2009 grants to young American conductors, including the $25,000 Solti Fellow, awarded for the second time in the Foundation's history.

Board Chair Thomas B. McNeill and Artistic and Awards Committee Chair Elizabeth Buccheri announced from the organization's offices in Evanston that Erik Nielsen, 32, Kapellmeister at the Frankfurt Opera is the recipient of a $25,000 grant, The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award. Among the largest grants currently given to American conductors in the formative years of their careers, the biennial award, also known as the Solti Fellow, includes introductions to three of Chicago's most prestigious performing organizations: Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Opera Theater.

Recipients of Solti U.S. Career Assistance Awards are James Feddeck, 25, Assistant Conductor, Cleveland Orchestra; Kelly Kuo, 35, Assistant Conductor, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra and Case Scaglione, 27, Music Director of the YMF Debut Orchestra in Los Angeles. The career assistance award, a new annual award, varies in the number and amounts given.

In making the announcement, Ms. Buccheri stated, "The Solti Foundation U.S. received the highest number of applications to date, all of exceptionally high quality. Since 2004, the mission of the Foundation has focused exclusively on helping exceptional young American conductors at the start of their professional careers. In recognition of the challenging path these applicants must pursue, we are pleased to offer congratulations to the four who have been singled out for support in 2009."

Honorary Chair Lady Valerie Solti, not present at the announcement, sent a congratulatory statement which read,

"There could be no better way to remember Maestro Solti and the standards of excellence he set in orchestral performance, than the accolade The Solti Foundation U.S. is giving to these highly gifted young conductors. It is my hope the awards will continue his work and inspire future generations. My warmest congratulations to Erik Nielsen, James Feddeck, Kelly Kuo and Case Scaglione. I hope these awards will help to fulfill their dreams of creating beauty through music."

The Solti Foundation U.S. seeks to lend significant support to talented young American conductors, providing critical assistance to them at the start of their professional careers. The Foundation, which began with a more general mission in 2000, established its current focus of helping exceptional young U.S. conductors in 2004.

Former recipients of Foundation grants include Joseph F. Young, Anthony Barrese (first recipient of the Solti Fellow), Eric Melear, Sara Jobin, Carlos César Rodríguez and Thomas Rimes.

The Solti Foundation U.S. grants are given on a biennial or annual basis, depending upon the grant. The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award (Solti Fellow), established in 2007 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the passing of Sir Georg, is given to one promising young American conductor biennially, dispersed over a 24-month period. It may be used for career training and activities that will further develop and enhance the recipient's talent and experience. The Sir Georg Solti Emerging Conductor Award, a new one-year grant of $10,000, will be given for the first time in 2010. The Foundation also bestows The Solti Foundation U.S. Career Development Award, a one-year grant of $5,000. The awarding of these two grants is rotated biennially with the Solti Fellow. Career Assistance Awards are given annually. These awards, the number and amount(s) of which are determined at the discretion of the Artistic and Awards Committee, may be used for a variety of career development needs, including transportation expenses, language studies, the creation of demonstration DVDs and other worthy projects.

Potential award recipients (who must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States and career-ready artists in the field of conducting) are welcome to submit applications, which 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 agree upon a suitable applicant.

The Solti Foundation U.S. will hold its annual benefit celebration, co-chaired by Nancy Kempf and Penny Van Horn, at Chicago's Casino Club (195 East Delaware Place) on Tuesday, October 21, 2009. The event begins with a reception at 6:45 pm, followed by the official welcome, dinner and program at 7:45 pm. Guest artists include soprano Ana Maria Martinez, bass René Pape and Dale Clevenger, principal horn player of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Tickets are $250.00. Reservations are due by October 7, 2009. To purchase tickets, or make a donation, please contact Fiona Queen, Administrator for The Solti Foundation U.S. at

Further details on The Solti Foundation U.S., the 2009 Awards, past awardees, the June 2009 Newsletter, as well as details about application forms and guidelines for the upcoming 2010 Awards, can be downloaded at the Foundation's website,


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