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BMI Classical Composers Win Awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters

Posted in News on March 5, 2003
BMI congratulates five young classical composers who are recent winners of major music prizes awarded by the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters. The membership of the Academy, which is comprised of some of America’s most prominent composers, artists, architects and writers, nominates candidates for these awards.

Kevin Puts is the first winner of the newly inaugurated Benjamin H. Danks Award, a $20,000 prize given to an “exceptional young composer or orchestral works.” Puts is a three-time winner of the BMI Student Composer Awards, including the 2000 William Schuman Prize, and the BMI Foundation’s Carlos Surinach Commission. Other honors include the Prix de Rome, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Charles Ives Award. He has served as the Young American Composer-in-Residence with the California Symphony and Composer-in-Residence with Young Concert Artists. Orchestral performances have come from the American Composers Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony, the Utah Symphony, the Boston Pops, the Atlanta Symphony and the Minnesota Orchestra, among others.

Steven Weigt and Trevor Weston were recipients of Goddard Lieberson Fellowships, a $15,000 prize endowed in 1978 by the CBS Foundation and given to “mid-career composers of exceptional gifts.” Weight, an Assistant Professor at Boston University, received his training at Brandeis University and the University of California Davis. Weston, an Assistant Professor at the College of Charleston, attended Tufts University and the University of California Berkeley.

Jorge Grossmann and David T. Little won Charles Ives Scholarships, which are funded in part by performance royalties paid by BMI to the Academy as heir to the Ives estate. These $7,500 scholarships are given to “composition students of great promise.” Grossmann is a DMA candidate at Boston University and is a graduate of Florida International University. Little, a two-time BMI Student Composer Award winner, attends the University of Michigan as a Master of Music student and holds and undergraduate degree from Susquehanna University.

BMI is proud to represent a majority of the 50 composer-members of the Department of Music at the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
The honor of election to the Academy is considered the highest formal recognition of artistic merit in the country.