Alumnus Christopher Allen Receives $30K Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award

The Solti Foundation U.S. recently announced that CCM Alumnus Christopher Allen (MM Orchestral Conducting, 2011) is the recipient of the $30,000 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award — the largest grant awarded to young American conductors in the U.S.

“We are most pleased to announce Christopher Allen will receive this year’s Solti Conducting Award,” stated Penny Van Horn, Board Chair of the Solti Foundation U.S. “Christopher, previously recognized with a Career Assistance Award in 2016, exemplifies our objective of supporting talented young American Conductors as they continue to develop their orchestral and operatic conducting skills. His exceptional young career promises to fulfill our goal and extend Sir Georg’s legacy.”

This year, the Solti Foundation U.S. increased the monetary value of the Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award from $25,000 to $30,000 to help “ensure that our young conductors have the opportunity to demonstrate their musicianship, leadership and full potential to the broadest possible audience,” Van Horn said.

Recipients may use the financial grant in various ways to further his or her career, whether it be further studies, purchases of scores, travel, etc. The Award also brings door-opening introductions within the industry and valuable access to mentors. The Foundation’s Board of Directors comprises experts from all areas of the classical music industry.

Christopher Allen.

Recently named the John L. Magro Resident Conductor for Cincinnati Opera, Allen is rapidly gaining attention as a rising conductor on the operatic and symphonic stages. His 2016-17 season highlights include debuts with the Washington National Opera conducting Donizetti’s La fille du regiment, with Florida Grand Opera conducting Cuban-American composer Jorge Martin’s Before Night Falls, and with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis leading the new revised version of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Grapes of Wrath. He also made his Atlanta Symphony Orchestra debut conducting a program of Wagner, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven, and guested at the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he led Catan’s Florencia en el Amazonas. Recently, he made his UK debut conducting The Barber of Seville at the English National Opera.

Upcoming 2017 summer engagements include leading the Cincinnati Opera’s Washington Park concert for the second year in a row and conducting Barrie Kosky’s production of Die Zauberflote. Next season, Allen returns to Opera Theatre of Saint Louis to conduct a new production of La traviata directed by acclaimed soprano Patricia Racette. He will also conduct the North Carolina premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain and make his Atlanta Opera debut conducting La fille du regiment.

Allen’s previous honors include a Bruno Walter Conducting Award and Memorial Career Grant, which launched his career. He was then fostered by Placido Domingo and James Conlon, who brought him to Los Angeles Opera as an Associate Conductor. He is also a recipient of a 2016 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award. As a CCM student, his production of Benjamin Britten’s Turn of the Screw was awarded a National Opera Association prize.

“It is with special joy that the Artistic Committee has chosen Christopher Allen for this year’s larger Solti Conducting Fellowship award,” said Elizabeth Buccheri, Artistic and Awards Committee Chair of the Solti Foundation U.S. “Christopher has already successfully begun his journey into both the operatic and symphonic worlds. Sir Georg Solti would indeed be pleased.”

About The Solti Foundation U.S.
Now in its thirteenth year of assisting outstanding young U.S. conductors to further develop their talent and careers, The Solti Foundation U.S. is the foremost organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to helping young conductors.

Established in 2000 to honor the memory of Sir Georg Solti by lending significant support to career-ready young American musicians, in 2004, the Foundation concentrated the focus of its award program to exclusively assist talented young American conductors early in their professional careers (its original mission was of a more general arts nature). Since then, it has awarded over $412,500 in grants to American conductors.

The Foundation endeavors to seek out those musicians who have chosen to follow a path similar to that followed by Sir Georg himself. In keeping with the spirit of Sir Georg’s active approach to his career, young conductors must apply to be considered for the awards.

While dedicated to identifying and assisting young conductors early on, the Foundation is also concerned with the long-term development of its award recipients, continuing to offer support and maintaining a constant interest in their growth and achievements.

The Foundation currently awards the following grants annually:

The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award – The largest grant currently given to American conductors in the formative years of their careers, the prestigious $30,000 grant is given annually to a single promising American conductor 38 years of age or younger. The Award, also known as The Solti Fellow, includes door-opening introductions, ongoing professional mentoring, and introductions to two of Chicago’s most prestigious performing organizations: Lyric Opera of Chicago and Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Past recipients include Karina Canellakis, Vladimir Kulenovic, Cristian Macelaru, James Feddeck, Case Scaglione, Eric Nielsen and Anthony Barrese.

The Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award – The amount of the Career Assistance Awards varies.

Opera Residency Program – Introduced in the 2014-15 season, the program places former award recipients with a distinguished opera house for one-on-one mentoring and coaching of an opera during the company’s professional season. Conductors cannot apply, but are instead selected by the Artistic and Awards Committee.

The Foundation is currently the only American Foundation to grant these kinds of awards each year to young American conductors. Citizens or permanent residents of the United States who are career-ready artists in the field of conducting are eligible to apply.

For more information on the Solti Foundation U.S., visit soltifoundation.us.

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CCM Conducting Alumni Receive Prestigious Award from the Solti Foundation

We are honored to announce that two conducting alumni of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) were among 11 musicians recently announced as recipients of the Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards, a grant prize given to help up-and-coming conductors further their careers.

Christopher G. Allen (MM Orchestral Conducting, 2011) and Stefano Sarzani (CCM 2012-2013) join a group of only 46 conductors to receive this award since it was founded by the Solti Foundation in 2004. As the foremost organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to helping young composers, the Solti Foundation is currently the only American organization to grant such awards annually.

Christopher Allen.

Christopher Allen.

Both alumni are in high demand worldwide. Allen, who is currently the John L. Margo Resident Conductor for the Cincinnati Opera, is also the Associate Conductor of the Los Angeles Opera. His conducting credits include Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Santa Barbara Montana’s Intermountain Opera and South Korea’s Daegu Opera House and the Atlanta Symphony. Along with the Solti prize, Allen was nominated as a finalist for the 2015 International Opera awards in London in the “Newcomer” category.

Stefano Sarzani.

Stefano Sarzani.

Sarzani was recently been appointed Associate Conductor of the Des Moines Metro Opera for their Summer 2016 season. His collaborations include the Boise Philharmonic Orchestra, National Repertory Orchestra of Colorado, Atlanta and Sarasota Operas, and numerous orchestras in Italy including Orchestra Sinfonica di Sanremo and Orchestra Filarmonica Marchigiana. A recent finalist for the New World Symphony’s 2015-16 conducting fellowship, he is also highly decorated from numerous competitions, most notably taking second prize in The American Prize competition in 2012.Please join us in congratulating these gifted young conductors on their accomplishment!

Please join us in congratulating these gifted young conductors on their accomplishment!

About the Solti Foundation U.S.

Now in its twelfth year of assisting outstanding young U.S. conductors to further develop their talent and careers, The Solti Foundation U.S. is the foremost organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to helping young conductors.

Established in 2000 to honor the memory of Sir Georg Solti by lending significant support to career-ready young American musicians, in 2004, the Foundation concentrated the focus of its award program to exclusively assist talented young American conductors early in their professional careers.

The Foundation endeavors to seek out those musicians who have chosen to follow a path similar to that followed by Sir Georg himself. In keeping with the spirit of Sir Georg’s active approach to his career, young conductors must apply to be considered for the awards.

While dedicated to identifying and assisting young conductors early on, the Foundation is also concerned with the long-term development of its award recipients, continuing to offer support and maintaining a constant interest in their growth and achievements.

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Story by CCM graduate Kevin Norton (DMA Saxophone, 2015)

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CCM Alumnus Tung-Chieh Chuang Wins Prestigious Solti Conductor’s Competition

Alumnus Tung-Chieh Chuang conducting at CCM.

Alumnus Tung-Chieh Chuang conducting at CCM.

CCM alumnus Tung-Chieh Chuang (MM Orchestral Conducting, 2009) was one of two second prize winners at the seventh Sir Georg Solti International Conductors’ Competition in Frankfurt this February. Chuang took second prize for his incredible conducting of the concert version of Leonard Bernstein‘s Overture to Candide. German conductor Elias Grandy also took a second prize award. No first prize was awarded.

Chuang was also awarded the competition’s Audience Prize, which was given for the first time in the history of the competition. Audiences were invited to vote on their favorite competitor and Chuang was the clear winner with a vote of more than 59%. Chuang was presented with an original Sir Georg Solti baton from his Frankfurt era and also received 10,000 Euro for his second prize award.

In addition, Chuang will be invited to conduct concerts with Frankfurter Opern- und Museum sorchester and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony. Further orchestras such as Badische Staatskapelle Karlsruhe, Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, and Polish Chamber Symphony Sopot, may offer guest engagement or assistance positions.

The Solti Conductor’s Competition was organized as Solti saw an urgent need to create a forum where young talents can present themselves and receive competent assessment of the standards they have reached.

367 young conductors aged between 19 and 35 years from 64 countries applied to this year’s competition. Of those 367, 20 applicants were invited to Frankfurt to participate in the first round and semifinal held from February 17-20, where they conducted the Frankfurt Radio Symphony and Frankfurter Opern-und Museumsorchester.

You can view the announcement of this year’s competition results here.

About Tung-Chieh Chuang
Prize winner at the Gustav Mahler Competition Bamberg and the Jeunesses Musicales Bucharest International Conducting Competition, Taiwan-born conductor Tung-Chieh Chuang displayed musical talent at a young age. Born in a family of musicians, Chuang learned to play piano and horn and had his first concerto appearance at age of 11.

Since winning the Mahler Competition in 2013, Chuang has attracted numerous world-wide engagements. Hailed for his command of musical tones and structures and rich palette of expressions, Chuang has worked with Die 12 Cellisten der Berliner Philharmoniker, Bamberger Symphoniker, Deutsches Nationaltheater und Staatskapelle Weimar, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bermen, National Symphony Orchestra (Taiwan), Taipei Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Jenaer Philharmonie, Filarmonica George Enescu, Filarmonica de Stat Sibiu, Severočeské filharmonie Teplice, among others.

In 2010, Chuang was the recipient of the Edwin B. Garrigues fellowship at Curtis Institute of Music. That same year he co-organized the Curtis Japan Benefit Concert in Church of the Holy Trinity, Philadelphia, where all proceeds were donated to Red Cross Japan for the 311 earthquake relief. In 2012, he organized the first-ever orchestra-flashmob performance in Taiwan, in which he led the National Taiwan University Symphony Orchestra as their principal conductor.

Learn more about CCM’s award-winning alumni by visiting ccm.uc.edu/about/villagenews/alumni.

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