JAMES K. MCCULLY,  President  &  General Director


Reception at the Canadian Embassy the highlight of a nine city tour

The contribution to the form of the Banff Centre for the Arts' 20th Century Opera and Song Program was recognized at a reception held at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC.

The timing of the reception coincided with the start of The Banff Centre's 65th Anniversary Celebrations. Paul Fraser, Minister, Public Affairs (Canadian Embassy) joined James K. McCully, Jr., Chairman (National Opera Association Convention) in welcoming delegates and friends of the Centre to the embassy.

Graeme McDonald, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Banff Centre, and Keith Turnbull, Artistic Director/Executive Producer of Banff Theatre Arts represented the Centre. A highlight of the reception was the presentation of a video retrospective of the major training programs and works developed and produced at Banff over the last 10 years.

The Washington reception was the highlight of this year's nine city audition tour which included London, Paris and New York as well as six Canadian cities. Turnbill commented "on the audition tour we seek singers and instrumentalists with depth, versatility, and an appetite for new music incorporating innovative movement and scenography. This year the quality of applicants was extremely high --our message is getting out. It is gratifying that we are often bringing back Canadians who are now working in London, Paris or New York."

The uniqueness of the programming, the commitment to 20th Century works, and the impressive list of recent world and North American premieres were all cited as key factors in the decision to honour Banff as a world leader in the training, development, and production of contemporary opera.

Professional artists from a variety of disciplines were auditioned for a number of programs, including this year's world premiere opera Zurich 1916, the Dramatic Integration, and the New Work Development programs



The contributions of six 21st Century Opera Composers were honoured in Washington DC with Life Time Achievement Awards for their contributions to the field of comtemporary opera sponsored by Musical America.


Opera Music Theater International's general director James K. McCully, Jr., Chairman (National Opera Association Convention) honored the contributions of six 21st Century Opera Composers Carlisle Floyd, Thea Musgrave, Robert Ward, Jack Beeson, Kirke Mechem, and Seymour Barab with Life Time Achievement Awards for their contributions to the field of contemporary opera sponsored by Musical America.



CARLISLE FLOYD, born 11 June 1926, Latta, South Carolina, and educated at Converse College at Spartanburg, and with Ernest Bacon at Syracuse University. He was at teacher at Florida State University, and M. D. Anderson Professor Music at the University of Houston. His opera compositions include SLOW DARK, SUSANNAH WITHERING HEIGHTS, THE PASSION OF JONATHAN WADE, THE SOJOURNER AND MOLLIE SINCLAIR, MARKHEIM, OF MICE AND MEN, BILBY'S DOLL, and WILLIE STARK.

THEA MUSGRAVE, born 27 March 1928, Edinburgh, Scotland, and educated at the Edinburgh University and Paris Conservatoire under Nadia Boulanger. She has been a visiting Professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and a Distinguished Professor, Queen's College, City University of New York. Her opera compositions include MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS, A CHRISTMAS CAROL, HARRIET, A WOMAN CALLED MOSES, AN OCCURRENCE AT OWL CREEK BRIDGE, and SIMON BOLIVAR. She was the recipient of the Koussevitzky Award and a Guggenheim Fellow. She holds an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Smith College and Old Dominion University.

ROBERT WARD, born 13 September 1917, in Cleveland, Ohio and educated at Eastman School of Music and Juilliard Graduate School studying composition with Rogers, Royce, Hanson, Jacobi, and Copland. He has taught at Columbia University and the Juilliard School of Music, North Carolina School of the Arts, and Mary Duke Biddle Professor of Music at Duke University. His opera compositions include HE WHO GETS SLAPPED, THE CRUCIBLE, THE LADY FROM COLORADO, CLAUDIA LEGARE MINUTES TILL MIDNIGHT, ABLELARD AND HELOISE, ROMAN FEVER. He is a Pulitzer Prize winner for his opera THE CRUCIBLE, a Guggenheim Fellow, and holds numerous honorary doctorates.

JACK BEESON, born 15 July 1921, in Mucie, Indiana and was educated at Eastman School of Music, Rochester University and graduate study at Columbia University with Bela Bartok. His opera compositions include JONAH, HELLO OUT THERE, THE SWEET BYE AND BYE, LIZZIE BORDEN, MY HEARTS' IN THE HIGHLANDS; CAPTAIN JINKS OF THE HORSE MARINES, DR. HEIDEGGER'S FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH, CYRANO, SORRY WRONG NUMBER. He is the recipient of the Rome Prize, Fulbright Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, Marc Blitzstein Award and numerous others.

KIRKE MECHEM, born 16 August 1925, in Wichita, Kansas, and was educated at Stanford and Harvard Universities studying with Walter Piston and Randall Thompson. His opera compositions include TARTUFFE and JOHN BROWN. His honors include the American Music Award from Sigma Alpha Iota and Boott Prize from Harvard University.

SEYMOUR BARAB, born 9 Jan 1921, in Chicago, Illinois, and studied cello with Gregor Piatigorsky and Edmund Kurtz and performed with the symphony orchestras of Indianapolis, Cleveland, Portland and San Francisco. He has taught at Rutgers, State University of New Jersey and New England Conservatory. His opera compositions include CHANTICLEAR AFTER CHAUCER, A GAME OF CHANCE, LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD, THE TOY SHOP, A PIECE OF STRING, and THE MAKER OF ILLUSION.

The Life Time Achievement Awards were issued by Opera Music Theater International, an educational nonprofit organization founded in 1991 to insure the health and vitality of the opera and musical theater field for future generations to come, and as part of the National Opera Association Convention in Washington DC.

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