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CCM alumnus Christopher Allen conducts LA Opera's production of 'La traviata.'

CCM alumnus Christopher Allen conducts LA Opera's production of 'La traviata.'

Alumnus Christopher Allen Receives Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award

The Solti Foundation U.S. recently announced that CCM alumnus Christopher Allen (MM Orchestral Conducting, 2011) is the recipient of the $30,000 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award — the largest grant awarded to young American conductors in the U.S.

“We are most pleased to announce Christopher Allen will receive this year’s Solti Conducting Award,” stated Penny Van Horn, Board Chair of the Solti Foundation U.S.

Van Horn continued, “Christopher, previously recognized with a Career Assistance Award in 2016, exemplifies our objective of supporting talented young American Conductors as they continue to develop their orchestral and operatic conducting skills. His exceptional young career promises to fulfill our goal and extend Sir Georg’s legacy.”

This year, the Solti Foundation U.S. increased the monetary value of the Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award from $25,000 to $30,000 to help “ensure that our young conductors have the opportunity to demonstrate their musicianship, leadership and full potential to the broadest possible audience,” Van Horn said.

Recipients may use the financial grant in various ways to further his or her career, whether it be further studies, purchases of scores, travel, etc. The Award also brings door-opening introductions within the industry and valuable access to mentors. The Foundation’s Board of Directors comprises experts from all areas of the classical music industry.

A portrait of CCM alumnus Christopher Allen (photo: Gabriel Gastelum).

CCM alumnus Christopher Allen (photo: Gabriel Gastelum).

Recently named the John L. Magro Resident Conductor for Cincinnati Opera, Allen is rapidly gaining attention as a rising conductor on the operatic and symphonic stages. His 2016-17 season highlights include debuts with the Washington National Opera conducting Donizetti’s La fille du regiment, with Florida Grand Opera conducting Cuban-American composer Jorge Martin’s Before Night Falls, and with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis leading the new revised version of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Grapes of Wrath. He also made his Atlanta Symphony Orchestra debut conducting a program of Wagner, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven, and guested at the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he led Catan’s Florencia en el Amazonas. Recently, he made his UK debut conducting The Barber of Seville at the English National Opera.

Upcoming 2017 summer engagements include leading the Cincinnati Opera’s Washington Park concert for the second year in a row and conducting Barrie Kosky’s production of Die Zauberflote. Next season, Allen returns to Opera Theatre of Saint Louis to conduct a new production of La traviata directed by acclaimed soprano Patricia Racette. He will also conduct the North Carolina premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain and make his Atlanta Opera debut conducting La fille du regiment.

Allen’s previous honors include a Bruno Walter Conducting Award and Memorial Career Grant, which launched his career. He was then fostered by Placido Domingo and James Conlon, who brought him to Los Angeles Opera as an Associate Conductor. He is also a recipient of a 2016 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award. As a CCM student, his production of Benjamin Britten’s Turn of the Screw was awarded a National Opera Association prize.

“It is with special joy that the Artistic Committee has chosen Christopher Allen for this year’s larger Solti Conducting Fellowship award,” said Elizabeth Buccheri, Artistic and Awards Committee Chair of the Solti Foundation U.S.

“Christopher has already successfully begun his journey into both the operatic and symphonic worlds. Sir Georg Solti would indeed be pleased,” she continued.

Below, watch Allen conduct the Daegu International Opera Orchestra in a performance of the overture from The Barber of Seville

About The Solti Foundation U.S.
Now in its 13th 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 $412,500 in grants to American conductors.

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. Past recipients include 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.
  • 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.

For more information on the Solti Foundation U.S., visit soltifoundation.us.