Emmanuel Music in the News
Boston Symphony Orchestra Presents John Harbison With The Mark M. Horblit Merit Award
July 5, 2013 - Lenox, Massachusetts
The Boston Symphony Orchestra has presented John Harbison with the Mark M. Horblit “Merit Award” for distinguished composition by an American composer. The award was created in 1947 by the late Boston attorney Mark M. Horblit to, in his own words, “foster and promote the writing of symphonic compositions by composers resident in the United States…in recognition of meritorious work in that field.” Mr. Harbison is the 22nd recipient of the award, which includes a cash prize of $5,000. A formal award ceremony with Mr. Harbision will take place during the fall in Boston. The Horblit Award was first presented to Aaron Copland in 1947, and most recently to Elliott Carter in 2007 (Mr. Carter also received the award in 1988). Other recipients have included Walter Piston (1948), Leonard Bernstein (1949), Lukas Foss (1952), Gunther Schuller (1966), Roger Sessions (1977), Earl Kim (1983), Leon Kirchner (1985), Donald Martino (1987), Ned Rorem (1992), and John Corigliano (1993).
In connection with the BSO’s presentation of the Horblit Award to John Harbision, the orchestra will release the composer’s six symphonies as digital downloads, available at www.bso.org on July 9. These live recordings of all six symphonies were made during the BSO’s 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons: Symphony No. 1, recorded November 26-30, 2010, Symphony No. 2, recorded December 2-4, 2010, and Symphony No. 3, recorded October 14-16, 2010, all with Maestro James Levine; Symphony No. 4, recorded November 25-29, 2011, with conductor Ludovic Morlot; Symphony No. 5, recorded December 1-3, 2011, with conductor Jiří Bělohlávek and featuring mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and baritone Gerald Finley; and the world premiere of Symphony No. 6, recorded January 12-17, 2012 with conductor David Zinman and featuring mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy. These symphonies were recorded as part of a two-season survey of the composer’s symphonies, culminating in the world premiere of Mr. Harbison’s Symphony No. 6, as programmed by James Levine.
The recordings will be available in both mp3 and hi-def stereo formats. John Harbison’s six symphonies will be packaged as albums of two symphonies (Symphonies 1 and 2, 3 and 4, and 5 and 6, respectively) available for $8.99 (mp3) or $9.99 (hi-def stereo). Individual symphonies can be purchased from $4.25 to $6.99, and individual movements can be purchased from $0.89 to $3.59, depending on format and duration. they will be available on Amazon and iTunes at a later date. Members of the press wanting to obtain a press-only digital music subscription at www.bso.org of Mr. Harbison’s six symphonies can email email@example.com. Please allow 24-48 hours for your Press Subscription to be provisioned. You will receive an email confirmation when your subscription is ready. Once you receive your confirmation email, log into your account and access your subscription via your purchases history in your account.
In addition, on Thursday, July 11, at 7:30 p.m. the orchestra and chorus of Boston-based Emmanuel Music come to Ozawa Hall for John Harbison’s opera The Great Gatsby. The performance will be preceded by a panel discussion, “Creating John Harbison’s opera The Great Gatsby,” at 6:15 p.m., featuring Mr. Harbison along with lyricist Murray Horwitz, former G. Schirmer vice-president Susan Feder, and Gatsby’ editor and violinist Rose Mary Harbison, all key players in the creation of the opera; BSO Assistant Director of Program Publications, Robert Kirzinger will serve as moderator. A video podcast available on the BSO.org Media Center features interviews by former Boston Globe music critic, Richard Dyer, with Mr. Harbison and Emmanuel Music artistic director Ryan Turner, giving a behind-the-scenes look at the production of The Great Gatsby.
“I am very happy to receive the Horblit Award, which confirms my long and very productive relationship with the Boston Symphony—its players, administration, board, and listeners,” said John Harbison. “I am especially grateful at this time to recall the support and confidence of James Levine, who gave me so many opportunities to explore, with this great orchestra, in Boston and at Tanglewood, my vision and lively hope for orchestral music, which I trust will always represent one of the greatest arenas for adventurous musical thought and emotion.”
“We’re delighted to present John Harbison with the Horblit Award, and we couldn’t think of a better time to do so than in connection with Tanglewood’s upcoming performances of one of his seminal works, The Great Gatsby,” said BSO Managing Director Mark Volpe. “John’s long-standing relationship with the BSO and Tanglewood is something we all treasure, so it’s especially gratifying to be able to honor his distinguished contributions to the Boston Symphony and the greater American music landscape with the 22nd presentation of the Horblit Award.”
“As the chairman of the Department of Music I am especially pleased that the 2013 Horblit award is going to John Harbison. He joins a distinguished list of composers who have given shape to American concert music,” said Alexander Rehding. “Harbison’s ties to Boston are deep: not only are his symphonies regularly heard at Symphony Hall, but his work as principal guest conductor with Emmanuel Music also gives him a regular presence on the conductor’s podium in Boston's vibrant musical scene. What deserves special mention in this context is Harbison's opera The Great Gatsby."