Composer James Matheson wins Charles Ives award


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Composer James Matheson -- whose new violin concerto is a co-commission between the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony -- is the winner of the Charles Ives Living award, a prize organized by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The prize includes an award of $200,000 over a two-year period, beginning July 2012.

The Charles Ives Living award recognizes the work of a promising American composer. The award is intended to free the recipient ‘from the need to devote his or her time to any employment other than music composition,’ according to the academy. In accepting the award, the winner ‘agrees to forgo all salaried employment during the award period [but] there is no restriction on accepting composition commissions.’


Previous winners of the Charles Ives Living award include George Tsontakis, Stephen Hartke, Chen Yi and Martin Bresnick.

Matheson is a Brooklyn-based composer who has had a strong professional relationship with the L.A. Philharmonic. He has worked in the orchestra’s Composer Fellowship Program and presented his work ‘Songs of Desire, Love and Loss’ with the orchestra in 2007.

His violin concerto will be given its premiere by the Chicago Symphony next week, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. The L.A. Philharmonic will present the piece in March, conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado.

In separate news, Heras-Casado was named this week as the new principal conductor of New York’s Orchestra of St. Luke’s.


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