Announcing the 2024 Recipient of the Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award

François López-Ferrer, Resident Conductor of the Académie of the Opéra de Paris joins a distinguished list of young conductors supported and promoted by the 24-year-old organization.

April 12, 2024

Evanston, IL – The Solti Foundation U.S. Board Chair Penny Van Horn and Artistic and Awards Committee Chair Elizabeth Buccheri today announced the recipient of the Foundation’s 15th major grant, The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award.

Ms. Van Horn stated, “The Solti Foundation U.S. is thrilled to announce that François López-Ferrer is the 15th recipient of The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award. In a very competitive field of applicants, François stood out amongst this year’s highly qualified applicants. A shining example of hard work, talent and commitment to the field of symphonic and operatic music, I am pleased, on behalf of the Foundation, to congratulate François.”

Said Maestro López-Ferrer, “I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the great honor of receiving the Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award. Over the course of the last three years, the unwavering support of the Solti Foundation U.S. has played a pivotal role in shaping my artistic journey, facilitated the refinement of my craft, and enabled me to evolve as an artist. This award stands as a testament to Maestro Solti’s enduring legacy of musical excellence, serving as a powerful reminder of the heights of achievement to which we can aspire as the next generation of musical leaders. This recognition profoundly inspires me to further cultivate my artistic vision and commitment to breathing life into the timeless masterpieces of the past while championing the voices of the present and future. I am profoundly moved and deeply grateful for the opportunity to continue my artistic journey with passion and dedication. I extend my heartfelt thanks to the Solti Foundation U.S. for their invaluable support and belief in my potential.”

“François has much to say musically,” Ms. Buccheri stated. “He continues to strengthen his communication and storytelling skills with both the orchestra and audience with every performance. We are excited to watch as his career in the operatic and orchestral fields grows. Congratulations!”

The Sir Georg Solti Fellow, as the grant is also known, is awarded annually to a single, promising American conductor 36 years of age or younger. One of the largest of its kind, it provides essential career guidance, industry connections and a cash purse of $30,000 to aid grant recipients as they further hone the skills of their craft. Previous recipients include Keitaro Harada, Earl Lee, Gemma New, Aram Demirjian, Yaniv Dinur, Roderick Cox, Christopher Allen, Karina Canellakis, Vladimir Kulenovic, Cristian Macelaru, James Feddeck, Case Scaglione, Eric Nielsen, and Anthony Barrese.

The Foundation has diligently helped American conductors in the early stages of their careers for over two decades. Recipients of The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award may use the financial portion of the grant in various ways to specifically advance his/her career, whether it be further studies, language study, purchases of scores, or travel. The Foundation’s Board of Directors comprises experts from all areas of the classical music industry, and therefore the Award also brings door-opening introductions within the industry and valuable access to professional mentors.

About François López-Ferrer

Spanish-American conductor François López-Ferrer, Resident Conductor of the Opéra de Paris’s Académie, formerly served as the Associate Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and May Festival.

Upcoming engagements include debuts at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, at the May Festival with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and with Opéra de Paris conducting a new production of Haydn’s L’isola disabitata.

Past guest engagements include such prestigious US orchestras as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Rochester, Colorado Springs, and Sacramento Philharmonics, the Omaha, Tucson, Pasadena, and Ohio Valley Symphonies, and the Colorado Music Festival. International engagements include the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Switzerland’s Sinfonietta de Lausanne and Opéra de Lausanne, Italy’s Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto, France’s Ensemble intercontemporain, Spain’s Orquesta de Valencia, Orquesta Nacional de España, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, and Orquesta Sinfónica Radio Televisión Española, and Romania’s George Enescu Philharmonic. López-Ferrer was also featured in in the League of American Orchestra’s prestigious 2022 Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview alongside the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.

Former posts include Associate Conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Chile and Principal Conductor of the Ballet Nacional Chileno. An inaugural apprentice of the Verbier Festival’s 2018 Conductor Mentorship Program, López-Ferrer is a two-time recipient of a Career Assistance Award from the Solti Foundation U.S., and winner of the inaugural 2015 Neeme Järvi Prize at the Menuhin-Gstaad Festival. Full bio available below.

About The Solti Foundation U.S.

Now in its 24th year working with 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. It is the first organization to have created an award in the legendary conductor’s honor.

Established in 2000, the Foundation honors the memory of the legendary conductor 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 solely 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 1.5 million dollars through grants and residencies 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. It continues to offer support, and maintains a constant interest in their growth and achievements.

The Foundation currently awards the following grants annually:

The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award

The prestigious $30,000 grant is given annually to a single promising American conductor 36 years of age or younger. It is the largest grant currently given to American conductors in the formative years of their careers. 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.

The Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award

The amount of the Career Assistance Awards varies.

The Elizabeth Buccheri Opera Residency

Introduced in 2014, 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. Over 20 residencies have been awarded, and recipients have worked with numerous stellar opera companies renowned for their artistic excellence across the country. Companies include the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera, Florentine Opera Company in Milwaukee, North Carolina Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Michigan Opera Theatre and Opera Southwest. Conductors cannot apply but are instead selected by the Artistic and Awards Committee. Recent 2023 residencies were awarded to Dean Whiteside at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Nathaniel Efthimiou at Opera Southwest, and Tiffany Chang at Washington National Opera.

The Solti Foundation U.S. is the only American Foundation to grant these kinds of awards each year to young American conductors. Only 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.

Press Contact:
Laura Grant, Grant Communications