American Choral Conductor Harold Rosenbaum Wins 2014 Ditson Conductors’ Award

March 31, 2014Bookmark and Share

Harold Rosenbaum, distinguished scholar, teacher and choral conductor, is the recipient of the 2014 Ditson Conductor’s Award for the advancement of American music, Columbia University has announced.

Harold Rosenbaum

The prize was presented on March 30 at a performance of the New York Virtuoso Singers, led by Rosenbaum, at Merkin Concert Hall. Fred Lerdahl, Fritz Reiner Professor of Musical Composition at Columbia and Secretary of the Alice M. Ditson Fund, bestowed the award. Rosenbaum will receive $5,000 and a citation on behalf of Columbia’s President Lee C. Bollinger.

“Harold Rosenbaum is one of the most accomplished and versatile choral conductors of our time, said Lerdahl. “He has developed outstanding choral organizations, such as the Canticum Novum Singers and the New York Virtuoso Singers, and is active in editing and publishing choral works. Through his courses at the Juilliard School and the State University of New York at Buffalo, he has instructed generations of singers and conductors in the art of choral music. He has given particular focus to contemporary music and commissioned many of America’s finest composers, thereby permanently enriching the contemporary choral repertory.”

“I hope that the Ditson Award will focus even more attention on the enormous number of extremely gifted composers in this country writing choral music, and on the opportunities to hear these works performed,” said Rosenbaum. “Frankly, it feels wonderful to be recognized for decades of obsessive devotion to this repertoire and to modern music in general.”

The Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University established the Ditson Conductor’s Award in 1945. It is the oldest continuing award honoring conductors for distinguished contributions to American music. Previous recipients include James Levine, Christopher Keene, Mstislav Rostropovich, Leopold Stokowski, Leonard Bernstein, Eugene Ormandy and, last year, Jeffrey Milarsky.

Rosenbaum is founder and conductor of the New York Virtuoso Singers and the Canticum Novum Singers. He is also lead choral conductor for Parma Recordings, and a Soundbrush Records artist. He is the 2010 winner of ASCAP’s Victor Herbert Founders Award and the winner of the 2008 American Composer Alliance’s Laurel Leaf Award, given in recognition of “distinguished achievement in fostering and encouraging American music.”

He is the founder and director of the Harold Rosenbaum Choral Conducting Institute held annually at Columbia and the State University of New York at Buffalo. A strong proponent of and advocate for contemporary composers and American composers in particular, Rosenbaum has commissioned more than 60 works, and has conducted more than 475 world premieres. He has taught at Juilliard and Queen College, and is currently associate professor of music at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

In 2011, Rosenbaum was awarded an honorary doctorate from Queens College, his alma mater.

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