Contact: Kim Brockway For immediate release
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Conductor Zinman
Receives Columbia's Ditson Award
David Zinman, music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, has
been named the winner of the 1997 Ditson Conductor's Award for the
advancement of American music, presented annually by Columbia University.
The award, which is the oldest award honoring conductors for their
support of American music, was presented November 8 at a Baltimore Symphony
Orchestra (BSO) concert at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore.
The evening's program, which will also be performed during the BSO's upcoming
1997 Japan Tour, featured Bright Blue Music by American composer Michael
Torke, Debussy's inspiring La Mer, and Berlioz's dark and dramatic Symphonie fantastique.
The Ditson Conductor's Award was established in 1945 by the Alice M.
Ditson Fund at Columbia. Past recipients include Leonard Bernstein, Eugene
Ormandy and Leopold Stowkowski.
Columbia Professor of Music George Edwards, the Secretary of the Ditson
Fund Advisory Committee, presented the 53rd annual award and the $1,000 prize
to Zinman. He read a citation from Columbia University President George Rupp
that praises Zinman for his "extraordinarily broad repertoire, elegant and
masterful performances and recordings, and innovative concert formats" and for
creating "new standards in performances of well-known compositions by Ives,
Copland and Barber." In addition, Zinman was cited for having played "a crucial
role in bringing many of America's finest younger composers into national and
Zinman is one of America's most admired conductors, both for his success
in building the artistic level and national reputation of the Baltimore Symphony
Orchestra and for his highly-praised guest performances with orchestras in
Europe and North America. He has conducted more than 200 American works
with the BSO, including more than 20 premieres, and has recorded more than 60
American works on major record labels.
Zinman has won five Grammy Awards since 1990: two for his recordings of
the music of Stephen Albert, Bart÷k and Bloch, and another for his disc of Barber
and Britten cello concertos, both recorded with the Baltimore Symphony and Yo-
Yo Ma; for a recording of 20th-century vocal/orchestral music with soprano Dawn
Upshaw and the Orchestra of St. Luke's, and for a "P.D.Q. Bach" disc (recorded
under the pseudonym "Walter Bruno"). His recordings have topped the classical
music charts in England and the United States.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Zinman graduated from Oberlin Conservatory and
pursued advanced work in composition at the University of Minnesota.
Conducting studies at the Boston Symphony's Tanglewood Music Center brought
him to the attention of the great Pierre Monteux, who guided his musical
development and gave him his first important conducting opportunities with the
London Symphony Orchestra and at the 1963 Holland Festival, where he was
hailed by the critics as a major conducting discovery.
Zinman's twelve years as music director of the Baltimore Symphony have
been distinguished by his programming of an exceptionally broad repertoire, his
strong commitment to the performance of contemporary American music, and
his introduction of historically-informed performance practice for music of the
18th and early 19th centuries. He has led the BSO on successful tours in both the
United States and abroad, and has served as music director of the Rochester
Philharmonic, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, and the Netherlands Chamber
Orchestra. Zinman is currently music director and chief conductor of the Zurich
Tonhalle Orchestra, and in the summer of 1997, he assumed the position of music
director of the Aspen Music Festival and School. Throughout his 35 years as a
conductor, Zinman has performed with many of the world's leading orchestras,
including the London Symphony and the Berlin Philharmonic.