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Salonen, L.A. Phil honored for 'adventurous programming'

June 11, 2009 |  5:00 pm


Esa-Pekka Salonen may have already left the building, but the outgoing music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic is still being honored for his work during his last season at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Today, Salonen and the L.A. Phil won the Morton Gould Award for Innovative Programming from the League of American Orchestras and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). The honor was one of 26 awards presented by the organizations at a conference this week in Chicago.

According to the league, the award for innovative programming is "given to an orchestra whose programming and presentation indicate extraordinary efforts to expand the symphonic repertoire and develop and educate orchestra audiences." The award comes with a $3,000 cash prize.

This past season, the L.A. Philharmonic presented works by Stravinsky, Ligeti, Kurtag, Andriessen and a host of contemporary composers, including some of Salonen's own work.

During his 17 years as music director, Salonen shifted the orchestra's repertoire toward more modern works with an emphasis on 20th century and new music. 

Another local winner was the Orange County High School of the Arts Symphony Orchestra, which received the Award for American Programming on Foreign Tours. The orchestra recently toured Australia, where they performed pieces such as Steven Stucky’s “Fanfare for Los Angeles” and Charles Ives' Symphony No. 2.

Other honorees this year include orchestras led by Marin Alsop, Michael Tilson Thomas and Kent Nagano.

Keep reading for the full list of winners...

John S. Edwards Award for Strongest Commitment to New American Music:
Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music
Marin Alsop, music director and conductor

Morton Gould Award for Innovative Programming:
Los Angeles Philharmonic
Esa-Pekka Salonen, music director

Leonard Bernstein Award for Educational Programming:
Albany Symphony Orchestra (Albany, N.Y.)
David Alan Miller, music director and conductor

Award for American Programming on Foreign Tours:
Orange County (California) High School of the Arts Symphony Orchestra
Christopher Russell, music director

Awards for Programming of Contemporary Music

Expenses More Than $14.1 Million:
First Place: St. Louis Symphony Orchestra / David Robertson, music director
Second Place: San Francisco Symphony / Michael Tilson Thomas, music director
Third Place: Minnesota Orchestra / Osmo Vanska, music director

Expenses of $5.7 Million to $14.1 Million:
First Place: The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
Second Place: New World Symphony / Michael Tilson Thomas, artistic director
Third Place: Phoenix Symphony / Michael Christie, Virginia G. Piper music director

Expenses of $1.8 Million to $5.7 Million:
First Place: South Dakota Symphony Orchestra / Maestro Delta David Gier, music director
Second Place: Vermont Symphony Orchestra / Jamie Laredo, music director
Third Place: Brooklyn Philharmonic / Michael Christie, music director

Expenses of $470,000 to $1.8 Million:
First Place: American Composers Orchestra / Robert Beaser, artistic director; Dennis Russell Davies, conductor laureate; Derek Bermel, Music Alive composer-in-residence
Second Place: Boston Modern Orchestra Project / Gil Rose, artistic director
Third Place: Berkeley Symphony Orchestra / Kent Nagano, music director and conductor

Expenses of $470,000 or less:
First Place: Orchestra 2001 / James Freeman, artistic director
Second Place: San Jose Chamber Orchestra / Barbara Day Turner, music director/conductor
Third Place: Albany Symphony Orchestra (Albany, Ga.) / Claire Fox Hillard, music director and conductor

Collegiate Orchestras:
First Place: Cornell Orchestras / Chris Younghoon Kim, director of orchestras
Second Place: Peabody Symphony and Concert Orchestras / Hajime Teri Murai, director of orchestral activities
Third Place: Brown University Orchestra / Paul Phillips, music director and conductor

Youth Orchestras:
First Place: Orange County High School of the Arts Symphony Orchestra / Christopher Russell, music director
Second Place: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras / Allen Tinkham, music director
Third Place: Contemporary Youth Orchestra / Liza Grossman, executive and music director

First Place: Aspen Music Festival and School / David Zinman, music director

-- David Ng

Photo: Esa-Pekka Salonen during his final concert as music director of the L.A. Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times