Mission and History


The Solti Foundation U.S. was established after the 1997 death of Sir Georg Solti. Its mission is to assist talented young American musicians at the start of their professional careers. It has made annual grants to awardees since 2003.


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Sir Georg Solti was conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1969-1991 and laureate conductor until 1997. The much loved and revered Solti is remembered by his many friends and associates not only in Chicago, but throughout the world. The Solti Foundation U.S. was established to honor the memory of the legendary conductor and his dedication to helping young artists. In 2020, Penny Van Horn, Board Chair and Elizabeth Buccheri, Artistic and Awards Committee chair, announced the Foundation’s eleventh major grant, The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, to Aram Demirjian, Music Director of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra.

The Solti Foundation U.S. is the foremost organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to helping young American 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. Since then, it has awarded over $1,000,000 in grants to young 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 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.