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Competitions & Awards

Musical America Announces Its 2022 Artists of the Year

October 12, 2021 | By Nicholas Beard, Musical America

Musical America has named the distinguished pianist and educator Mitsuko Uchida as its 2022 Artist of the Year, a designation associated with the finest artists, composers, conductors, and stage directors in the music world, and dating back to 1961, when Leonard Bernstein was the recipient.

In the other categories, Missy Mazzoli is the Composer of the Year; Louisville Orchestra Music Director Teddy Abrams is Conductor of the Year; and bass-baritone Davóne Tines is Vocalist of the year. Each is the subject of a feature article in the all-digital 2022 Musical America.

The awards will be streamed via Facebook Live on December 5 at 4 p.m. Each of the honorees has been asked to choose a personal friend/colleague to present them with their award. This will mark the second year in a row that the ceremony has been conducted online.

London-based, Japanese born Mitsuko Uchida has throughout her 50-year career been known for her pristine and insightful interpretations of works by a growing number of composers, especially Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert. During the pandemic she was among the first recitalists to stream live performances from London's Wigmore Hall and she is now back to an active recording and live performing career. She served as artistic director of the Marlboro Music Festival and School from 2013-18 and now shares the role with Jonathan Biss. She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2009.

Missy Mazzoli is one of the world’s most prolific and successful composers, her works having been performed by a vast range of prestigious opera companies and ensembles. Having recently completed her tenure as composer-in-residence of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, she is currently working on a stage adaptation the George Saunders's novel Lincoln in the Bardo for the Metropolitan Opera. Her 2016 opera Breaking the Waves has seen numerous performances, at the Protoype festival, Los Angeles Opera, Opera Philadelphia, the Edinburgh International Festival, and may others. Having grown up at a time when women composers were scarce, she co-founded with composer Ellen Reid the Lunar Lab, which mentors female and non-binary composers ages 12-18.

Teddy Abrams, pianist, composer, and onetime MTT protégé, has been busy revitalizing the Louisville Orchestra since his arrival as music director in 2014. His vision of the orchestra as a central force in the community has made him something of a local celebrity, and the Mayor considers him one of his closest friends. He also put the Louisville Orchestra back on the recording map, with the release of All In, the LO’s first album in nearly 30 years, which reached No.1 on the Billboard Classical chart. See his One to One interview on Musical America.

Davóne Tines has been on a rapid career ascent recently, singing on worldwide stages, morphing from the November 2018 Musical America New Artist of the Month to the 2022 Musical America Vocalist of the Year. As Musical America Features Editor Clive Paget wrote in Tines’s profile three years ago,“the voice is clearly a Rolls Royce instrument, dark and powerful, with a fierce intelligence behind the words that speaks of an exceptionally thoughtful artist.” Apart from his appearances on major opera stages, Tines created The Black Clown, a music theatre work that contends with what it means to be a Black man performing for predominantly white audiences. That landed him on Time magazine’s 2019 list of Next Generation Leaders.

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