Musical America’s musician of the year is…

Broadway’s finest….

audra macdonald

Composer of the year is George Benjamin, Conductor is Pablo Heras-Casado and Instrumentalist is Jeremy Denk. More here.

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  • I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that Musical America editor Sedgwick Clark tends to share your bias – so the fact that an exception was made for Audra says a lot.

    (Musical America does cover musical theater and cabaret as well as classical concert music and opera, by the way.)

    The honor could hardly go to anyone more deserving. Audra is the best – an absolute treasure. (A treasure with five Tony Awards and counting, by the way.)

    • I’ve never heard her. I’m sure she’s good. Didn’t realize MA’s purview extended into those areas.

      George Benjamin’s output I think is too small for the Composer honor. 2013 has been a banner year for him, with all the Written On Skin performances, but Faber lists only three compositions, amounting to less than two hours of music, over the last five years. And the “opera” is based on musical forms rather than in-the-moment action.

      Certainly there will be dozens of singers and composers in America miffed over these choices.

      As for the Conductor nod, well, it’s a reflection of packaging and agent promotion strategies instead of an empirical look at the (worldwide) field, at who is achieving what. PHC is a pretty man with a cheerful personality and an ability to communicate, but he shows no profound insights or convictions. There are others his age who do.

      • About Benjamin: well, the award is Composer of the Year, and this was indeed a banner year for him.

        Other singers and composers may be miffed, but probably not too badly, because there’s always next year.

        (Well, except for dear old Ned Rorem. He’s always miffed.)

        • I’d add for that for a composer who has recently created two operas, a smaller output of other works isn’t really all that shocking. And, I agree with MWnyc – it’s an award about the past year, and he’s been one of the most talked about composers in that span, worldwide.

      • Sorry. Looking through the different criteria listed for nomination to “Composer of the Year” award, must have missed the one stipulating how much music a candidate was expected to have composed. Was it in the small print somewhere?

        Perhaps you could enlighten us as to what the minimum was?

  • Amazing how over-rated Mr Heras-Casado is… Makes me think of how much music business has changed in the last years. And to think that maestri like Kitajenko, Temirkanov, Frühbeck and Fedosseiev are not invited to conduct Vienna, Berlin or Concertgebouw at regular basis… Well, it’s just confusing.

    • Maestro Frühbeck de Burgos may not be invited to conduct the Berlin or Vienna Philharmonics regularly, but he conducts a couple of their U.S. equivalents (Boston and Philadelphia) often. And the audiences and critics like his work a great deal. (He probably gets paid better, too.)

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