Penny Van Horn, Board Chair of The Solti Foundation U.S. and Elizabeth Buccheri, Artistic and Awards Committee Chair, today announced the names of the eight recipients of the 2018 Solti Foundation Career Assistance Awards. The young conductors hold positions throughout the United States, with posts in Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York.
“Supporting and encouraging young conductors at the beginning of their careers is the mission of The Solti Foundation U.S.,” said Ms. Van Horn. “As I have stated in the past, the young musicians we recognize are part of the fabric of our future musical landscape. From what we have seen and heard, it is going to be a glorious, immense vista, full of creativity, energy and passion! We congratulate each of our 2018 awardees.”
Ms. Van Horn revealed Daniel Black, Assistant Conductor, Florida Orchestra (commencing fall 2018); Roger Kalia, Assistant Conductor of Pacific Symphony and Music Director of Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra, and Co-Founder and Music Director of the Lake George Music Festival (NY); Stilian Kirov, Music Director of the Illinois Philharmonic, Bakersfield Symphony (CA), and New Jersey’s Symphony in C; Farkhad Khudyev, Music Director of Calilfornia’s Hidden Valley Orchestra Institute and Youth Music Monterey County; Stephen Mulligan, Assistant Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra; Sameer Patel, Associate Conductor of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra and of Idaho’s Sun Valley Summer Symphony; Stefano Sarzani, who serves as a Solti Fellow at Lyric Opera of Chicago, assisting and covering La Boheme and Il trovatore this fall 2018; and Lidiya Yankovskaya, Music Director with Chicago Opera Theater, a resident artist at National Sawdust in NYC, and Artistic Director of Refugee Orchestra Project as the 2018 Award recipients.
About The 2018 Solti Foundation U. S. Career Assistance Award Recipients
Assistant Conductor of the Florida Orchestra starting fall 2018, Daniel Black also holds the post of Director of Instrumental Music at Arkansas’s Wildwood Arts and Music Academy. Former posts include Associate Conductor of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Rockford Symphony Youth Orchestra, Assistant Conductor of the 2014 Spoleto Festival USA, and Assistant Conductor of the Peninsula Music Festival (Wisconsin). Upcoming engagements include his debut with the Texarkana Symphony Orchestra. Previous guesting engagements include the Dnipro State Opera and Ballet Company (Ukraine), St. Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra (Russia), the Dallas Basically Beethoven Festival, the San Antonio, Owensboro, Wichita Falls, Rockford, and Champaign-Urbana symphonies, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, and the South Shore Opera Company. A three-time recipient of Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards (2018, 2016, and 2015) his awards include participation in the 2017 and 2016 Solti Foundation U.S. Opera Residency Programs (now The Elizabeth Buccheri Opera Residency) and conducting fellowships at the Aspen Music Festival and Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.
Assistant Conductor of Pacific Symphony and Music Director of Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra, Roger Kalia is also Co-Founder and Music Director of the Lake George Music Festival (NY). Previously, he served as Assistant Conductor of the Charlotte Symphony, and Music Director of both the Young Musicians Foundation (YMF) Debut Orchestra (CA) and Columbus Symphony Orchestra (IN). 2018-19 engagements include the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, the Lake George Music Festival Symphony Orchestra, and Symphony New Hampshire. Guesting engagements have included the Szczecin Philharmonic (Poland), Chicago Sinfonietta, Boise Philharmonic (ID), and the National (DC.), Long Beach (CA), Bakersfield (CA), Great Falls (MT), and Memphis (TN) symphonies, among others. Kalia has worked in various capacities with the New York Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and. Pittsburgh, Seattle, Utah, Fort Worth, and Danish National symphonies. Recipient of 2018, 2017 and 2013 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards, Kalia also won Second Prize in the 2011 Memphis Symphony International Conducting Competition and a 2011 Fellowship at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.
Music Director of the Illinois Philharmonic, Bakersfield Symphony (CA), and New Jersey’s Symphony in C, Stilian Kirov’s previous posts include serving as Associate Conductor of the Seattle Symphony and of the Memphis Symphony. Upcoming engagements include concerts with Brazil’s Minas Gerias Philharmonic, Bulgaria’s Sofia Philharmonic, and the Omaha and Chautaugua symphonies in the U.S. Past guest engagements include the Orchestre Colonne (Paris), Leopolis Chamber Orchestra (Ukraine), Orchestra of Colors (Greece), State Hermitage Orchestra (Russia) Thüringen Philharmonic Orchestra (Germany), the Zagreb Philharmonic (Croatia), Victoria Symphony (British Columbia), abroad, and in the United States, the symphony orchestras of Seattle, Tucson, West Virginia, Kalamazoo, Venice, and South Bend, among others. First Prize Winner of the 2017 “Debut Berlin” Competition, Kirov is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes, including 2018, 2017, and 2016 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards, Denmark’s 2015 Malko Competition, Third Prize and Orchestra Prize at the 2010 Dimitris Mitropoulos International Competition for Orchestral Conducting, and France’s 2010 ADAMI Conducting Prize.
Music Director of California’s Hidden Valley Orchestra Institute and Youth Music Monterey County, Farkhad Khudyev has previously served as Assistant Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Music Director of the New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra and of the New Haven Chamber Orchestra (NJ), and Associate Conductor of the Hidden Valley Opera. During the 2018-19 Season, Mr. Khudyev will make debuts with the Seattle Symphony and China’s Xian Symphony Orchestra. Past guesting engagements include Germany’s Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and Frankfurt Opera Orchestra, Denmark’s Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Romania’s George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra, and the State Taipei Chinese Orchestra abroad, and the San Diego, Monterey, Champaign-Urbana, New Jersey Youth and Yale symphonies, Greenwich Village Orchestra of New York City, Yale Philharmonia, and Manhattan School of Music Orchestra in the United States. In addition to a 2018 Solti Foundation US Career Assistance Award, Khudyev’s many honors include 3rd prize at the 2017 International Sir Georg Solti Conducting Competition in Germany, and Best Interpretation Prize at the 1st International Taipei Conducting Competition in Taiwan.
Assistant Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra since August 2017, Stephen Mulligan’s past appointments include Assistant Conductor of the Winston-Salem Symphony, Music Director of the Winston-Salem Symphony Youth Orchestras Program, and Assistant Conductor of the Aspen Music Festival. Recent guesting engagements include the orchestras of St. Louis, Florida, Charlotte Memphis Amarillo, and Reading, as well as at the Aspen Music Festival nationally, and with the London Symphonia, and Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de Sao Paulo abroad. He also recently served as an assistant to John Adams at the Los Angeles Philharmonic on a production of his opera “Nixon in China” and to Gustavo Dudamel in a production of Bernstein’s “West Side Story”. In addition to a 2018 Solti Foundation Career Assistance Award, Mulligan’s honors include the Aspen Conducting Prize after studying with Robert Spano as a fellow in the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen.
Associate Conductor of the San Diego Symphony, and of Idaho’s Sun Valley Summer Symphony, Sameer Patel previously served as Associate Conductor of Indiana’s Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Upcoming 2018-19 engagements include a return to Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Past guesting engagements have included Germany’s Leipziger Sinfonieorchester, Italy’s Orchestra Sinfonica di Sanremo and Orchestra Giovanile Italiana and Canada’s Toronto Symphony Orchestra abroad, and the National, St. Louis, Detroit, La Jolla, Phoenix, Toledo, Alabama, New Jersey, Knoxville, Pacific,and Reading symphonies, the Fresno, Sacramento and Naples philharmonics, Chicago Sinfonietta, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Symphony NH in the United States, among others. A three-time recipient of Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards (2018, 2017, and 2016), Patel is recipient of a 2014 Chicago Sinfonietta Project Inclusion Conducting Freeman Fellowship, a 2010 Boston Philharmonic Zander Fellowship, and a 2011 Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Scholarship. In 2013, he was a participant in the League of American Orchestras’s Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview.
Stefano Sarzani recently worked at the Lyric Opera of Chicago through the Solti Foundation U.S.’s opera residency program; he returns this fall as an Assistant Conductor and member of the Music Staff. Previously, he was Associate Conductor of the Des Moines Metro Opera where, among his duties he conducted a production of Maria de Buenos Aires. His upcoming engagements include assisting at OperaMaine, and guesting with Symphony NH. Past guesting engagements include Orchestra Filarmonica Marchigiana (Italy), Orchestra Sinfonica di Sanremo (Italy), Boise Philharmonic Orchestra, National Repertory Orchestra (CO), University of Memphis Opera and Orchestre Symphonique et Lyrique de Nancy. He has also collaborated with Atlanta Opera, Sarasota Opera, Den Jyske Opera (Denmark) and Opera National de Lorraine (France). In addition to the 2018 Career Assistance Award, Sarzani is also the recipient of a 2016 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, and 2nd prize in The American Prize 2012.
Music Director with Chicago Opera Theater, a resident artist at National Sawdust in NYC, and Artistic Director of Refugee Orchestra Project, Lidiya Yankovskaya has previously served as a conductor with Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, as regular guest chorus master with Boston Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of Juventas New Music Ensemble/Boston New Music Festival, and as Music Director with Harvard’s Lowell House Opera. Upcoming engagements include the Spoleto Festival USA, National Sawdust Hildegard Project with Refugee Orchestra project, Chicago Opera Theater, Washington National Opera, and Mobile Symphony Orchestra. Past guesting engagements include Stamford Symphony, Chicago Philharmonic, Flagstaff Symphony, Symphony New Hampshire, Wolftrap Opera, Beth Morrison Projects, The Castleton Festival, and a workshop of a new work with The Metropolitan Opera. Yankovskaya was featured in the 2017 Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview, is a part of Marin Alsop’s Taki Concordia Fellowship and The Dallas Opera’s Hart Institute for Women Conductors.
Ms. Buccheri congratulated the 2018 Career Assistance Award recipients, “Congratulations to all of this year’s award recipients! You have demonstrated your dedication to your craft and commitment to developing your skills. We are proud of your achievements and are excited to see what the future brings.”
About The Solti Foundation U.S.
Now in its 14th 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 $500,000 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. Earlier this spring, the Foundation announced its $30,000 2018 The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award to Roderick Cox, Associate Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra. Past recipients include Christopher Allen, 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.
The Elizabeth Buccheri Opera Residency (formerly the 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.
The Foundation will announce details about its 2018 Gala and the 2018-19 Elizabeth Buccheri Opera Residencies in the near future.