The Solti Foundation U.S.
Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award
Award Grant Increase
Resident Conductor for Cincinnati Opera,
Recipient of 2017 The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award
Evanston, IL – Penny Van Horn, Board Chair of The Solti Foundation U.S. and Elizabeth Buccheri, Artistic and Awards Committee Chair, announced today the Foundation’s eighth grant, The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, to Christopher Allen, Resident Conductor for Cincinnati Opera. Also announced was an increase of five thousand dollars to $30,000 in what is the largest grant awarded to young American conductors in the United States.
“We are most pleased to announce Christopher Allen will receive this year’s Solti Conducting Award,” stated Ms. Van Horn. “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.
“In reviewing the needs of young conductors today, the Board elected to increase 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.”
Recipients may use the financial grant in various ways to further his/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 is rapidly gaining attention as a rising conductor on the operatic and symphonic stages. Recently named The John L. Magro Resident Conductor for Cincinnati Opera, Christopher Allen’s 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.
A graduate of the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music, among Mr. Allen’s previous honors are 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, and a National Opera Association Prize for his production, while still a student, of Benjamin Britten’s Turn of the Screw. (Complete biography attached.)
Ms. Buccheri said, “It is with special joy that the Artistic Committee has chosen Christopher Allen for this year’s larger Solti Conducting Fellowship award. 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.
In the words of Lady Valerie Solti, “We are committed to realizing Solti’s passion for excellence in music by extending assistance to further the early careers of those with exceptional talent.”
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.
Applicants for all Solti Foundation U.S. awards must be able to demonstrate that he/she is developing a career as a symphonic/operatic conductor. All applications from The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award are considered for a Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award. Applications 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 find suitable applicants in one or more of the various award categories.
For further details on The Solti Foundation U.S., its past awardees, their biographical information, the Foundation’s newsletter, as well as guidelines for the upcoming 2018 Awards, and a downloadable application form, please visit the Foundation’s website at:
Details regarding the 2017 U.S. Career Assistance Awards will be announced in the future.