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Lee Mills awarded 2020 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award

Lee Mills has been awarded the Career Assistance Award from the Solti Foundation U.S. for the fourth time this year. Lee has been a recipient of the award in 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2020.

More information about the Solti Foundation U.S. can be found here.


May 11, 2020, Evanston, IL – Anniversaries are meant to be celebrated, and The Solti Foundation U.S. won’t be deterred from so doing. Today, announced remotely from their respective homes, Foundation Board Chair Penny Van Horn and Elizabeth Buccheri, Artistic and Awards Committee Chair, released the names of the young conductors who have been selected as 2020 recipients of The Sir Georg Solti Career Assistance Award.

“One of Sir Georg’s favorite things to do was to work with young musicians,” stated Ms. Van Horn. “This is the impetus for The Solti Foundation U.S.’s focus in assisting young conductors. Sir Georg’s wife, Lady Valerie Solti, has said, ‘He was always willing to take time to talk to them, give advice about their careers and often helped them financially. He never ceased to be grateful for the help he received from others during the bleak days before he found work.'”

“Remembering this, the members of the Board and the Artistic and Awards Committee wanted to do something extra special to commemorate the 20th anniversary of The Solti Foundation U.S., “said Ms. Buccheri. “While we hope to be able to hold a celebratory event in Chicago later this year, with the uncertainty of COVID-19, we thought it more fitting to begin the celebration now, when a ray of sunlight truly warms the spirit.”

“It is therefore, with great pleasure, that we announce a special 20th Anniversary edition of the Solti Foundation Career Assistance Awards,” added Ms. Van Horn. “In keep with Sir Georg’s magnanimous spirit and generosity, the Solti Foundation U.S. happily announces the awarding of 19 Career Assistance Awards, the largest number ever given by the Foundation in a single year! These 19 awards, when added to the Solti Fellow announced earlier this year, total 20 awards to match our 20 years!”

Ranging in age from 25 to 36, this year’s recipients hold posts throughout the United States, in Canada, and in Switzerland, and are frequent guest conductors on both the national and international stages.

Receiving a 2020 Career Assistance Award (in alphabetical order) are conductors : Tiffany Chang, Visiting Assistant Professor of Conducting, artist faculty, Oberlin Conservatory and Assistant Professor, Berklee College of Music; Holly Choe, Music Director, Orchesterverein Wiedikon, Music Director, University of St. Gallen Alumni Symphony Orchestra; Maurice Cohn, Music Director, New Horizons Orchestra and Assistant Conductor, Eastman School Symphony Orchestra; Conner Gray Covington, Associate Conductor, Utah Symphony and Principal Conductor, Deer Valley Music Festival; Andrew Crust, Associate Conductor, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra; Kevin Fitzgerald, Assistant Conductor, Alabama Symphony Orchestra; Lina Gonzalez-Granados, Solti Conducting Apprentice, Chicago Symphony Orchestra; Keitaro Harada, Music & Artistic Director, Savannah Philharmonic; Jonathon Heyward, Chief Conductor Designate, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie; Joshua Hong, Music Director, Campanile Orchestra; Jacob Joyce, Associate Conductor, Indianapolis Symphony; Roger Kalia, Music Director, Evansville Philharmonic, Symphony NH, Orchestra Santa Monica, Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Lake George Music Festival and Associate Conductor, Pacific Symphony; Matthew Kasper, Resident Conductor, The Phoenix Symphony and Artistic Director, Phoenix Youth Symphony; Lee Mills, Associate Conductor, Seattle Symphony Stephen Mulligan, Associate Conductor, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Music Director, Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra; Gemma New, Music Director, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Resident Conductor, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Music Director, St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, and Principal Guest Conductor, Dallas Symphony Orchestra; Michael Repper, Music Director, New York Youth Symphony and Northern Neck Orchestra of Virginia; Stefano Sarzani, international guest conductor; Kensho Watanabe, international guest conductor.


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