Early Music America Announces Annual Awards

1 Jun 2009 (SEATTLE, WA) Early Music America, the national service organization for the field of early music, announces the winners of its 2009 awards recognizing outstanding accomplishments in early music.  These awards will be presented at the EMA Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony at the Boston Early Music Festival on June 12, 2009 at 3:15 p.m. in the City Room of the Radisson Hotel Boston, 200 Stuart St., Boston, MA.

Stanley Ritchie will receive the Howard Mayer Brown Award for lifetime achievement in the field of early music. Mr. Ritchie, a pioneer in the early music field in America, was born and educated in Australia, graduating from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 1956. In 1962 he settled in New York, where he became concertmaster of the New York City Opera in 1963 and associate concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera in 1965. In 1975 he joined the Philadelphia String Quartet (in residence in the University of Washington in Seattle) with whom he played as first violinist and performed in Europe and the Americas, until accepting his appointment as professor of violin at Indiana University School of Music in 1982.  His interest in Baroque and Classical violin dates from 1970 when he embarked on a collaboration with harpsichordist Albert Fuller which led to the founding in 1973 of the Aston Magna Festival. In 1974 he joined harpsichordist Elisabeth Wright in forming Duo Geminiani – their recording of the Bach Sonatas for Violin and Obbligato Harpsichord earned immediate critical acclaim. Since then he has also performed with many other prominent musicians in the early music field, including Christopher Hogwood, John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Roger Norrington, Malcolm Bilson and Anner Bylsma, and he was for twenty years a member of The Mozartean Players with fortepianist Steven Lubin and cellist Myron Lutzke. In 1990 he and Elisabeth Wright also inaugurated an Early Music concert series in Bloomington, which developed into the Bloomington Early Music Festival. The Festival, of which he serves as Artistic Director, has become a popular annual event in the musical life of the Midwest. As a faculty member of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music’s Early Music Institute he has taught more than a generation of Baroque violinists, violists and cellists, many of whom now have flourishing careers in the early music profession. His recordings include Vivaldi's Op.11 Violin Concertos with Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music (Oiseau Lyre); the Mozart piano quartets and the complete piano trios of Mozart and Schubert as a member of The Mozartean Players and a CD of 17th Century music for three violins and continuo entitled Three Parts upon a Ground, with John Holloway, Andrew Manze, Nigel North and John Toll, all for Harmonia Mundi USA. His teaching career has led to pedagogical research and he is currently working on a method for Baroque and Classical violin.

Steven Plank will receive the Thomas Binkley Award for outstanding achievement in performance and scholarship by the director of a university or college Collegium Musicum.  Mr. Plank received his Ph.D   from Washington University in St. Louis in 1980, and pursued additional studies in early music performance with Edward Tarr, Bruce Dickey, Trevor Pinnock, and James Tyler. He has taught at Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music since 1980, and has directed the Collegium Musicum there for 20 years, since 1989.  His books include "The Way to Heavens Doore":  an Introduction to Liturgical Process and Musical Style (Scarecrow Press, 1994) and Choral Performance: A Guide to Historical Practice (Scarecrow Press, 2004). The Collegium Musicum at Oberlin is an auditioned ensemble comprised of a choir and smaller vocal ensembles, with a special focus on sixteenth-century liturgical polyphony. Forays into the repertory outside the sixteenth-century include Bach (motets and cantata literature) on the one hand, and Notre Dame polyphony on the other. The Collegium presents regular “standing room only” concerts on the Oberlin campus in the Romanesque Fairchild Chapel. The ensemble frequently tours, as well, with recent concerts in Washington, DC, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Cleveland. “It is the students and their joy in singing this repertory that makes the Collegium thrive,” says Plank. “The audition is a competitive one, but still the membership is interestingly broad, drawing Conservatory majors of all stripes and students from the College of Arts and Sciences in equal number. Eight Collegium alumni have gone on to advanced study with John Potter at York University (UK); two have gone (or will soon be going) to Basel to study at the Schola Cantorum; at least one has gone on to a university collegium faculty appointment; and several have successful careers as early instrumentalists.”

Jerry Fuller is the recipient of the Early Music Outreach Award, which honors ensembles or individual artists for excellence in early music outreach and/or educational projects for children or adults.  Jerry Fuller is director of Ars Antigua, a period instrument ensemble in Chicago.  For the past four years, he has also directed the Midwest Young Artists Early Music program for the Midwest Young Artists organization. The MYA Early Music Program includes a student orchestra, a Summer Early Music Workshop, and the Early Music categories of the Walgreen’s Concerto Competition and the Chicago Chamber Music Competition.  These programs raise the visibility and knowledge of early music among talented high school students throughout the Midwest. Mr. Fuller is also principal double bassist of The Baroque Band, and a member of the period instrument forces for Chicago’s Music of the Baroque and Chicago Opera Theater. He writes on period instruments and performance practice for The Strad, Double Bassist, and Bass World magazines.

Grace Feldman is the recipient of the Special Early Music Outreach Award in recognition of her lifetime achievement in early music education. Grace Feldman began playing viola da gamba professionally while a student at Brooklyn College. Her thesis became the core for her authoritative eleven-volume Method for the Bass Viola da Gamba, the Golden Viol. She received a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music, and she has taught at Neighborhood Music School in New Haven, Connecticut for almost 45 years, where she heads the Strings, Early Music, and Ensemble departments, and teaches viol, violin, viola, and recorder. Her individual students currently  include 20 viol students ranging in age from 13 to 91 and 12 recorder students, and she coaches five viol consorts, two recorder groups, and three ensembles of mixed early instruments.  Ms. Feldman has also taught viola da gamba at several colleges, including Wellesley, New England Conservatory of Music, Wesleyan, and the Hartt School of Music.  She has performed with the New York Pro Musica, the New York Consort of Viols, the Playford Consort, and she directed the New England Consort of Viols (1973-1990). She has numerous recordings to her credit, and has served as a board member of the Viola da Gamba Society of America.

Maria Coldwell, Executive Director
(206) 720-6270 or 888-SACKBUT

About Early Music America
Early Music America serves and strengthens the early music community in North America and raises public awareness of early music.  EMA was founded in 1985 and provides its 3,000 members with publications, advocacy, and technical support.  EMA publishes the quarterly magazine Early Music America.  “Early music” includes western music from the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical periods, performed on period instruments in historically-informed styles.  For more information, contact Early Music America at 206-720-6270 or 888-SACKBUT, or visit our web site at www.earlymusic.org.