Two Peabody composition faculty members were awarded prizes from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Kevin Puts received the Arts and Letters Award in Music. Puts was one of four composers to receive $10,000 to honor outstanding artistic achievement and acknowledge that the composer had arrived at his or her own voice. Puts will also receive an additional $10,000 toward recording one work. Jason Eckardt received the Charles Ives Fellowship, worth $15,000. Harmony Ives, the widow of Charles Ives, bequeathed to the Academy the royalties of Charles Ives’ music, which has enabled the Academy to give the Ives awards in composition since 1970. Sixteen total composers received awards.
Jennie Press (BM ’01, MM ’03, Violin) wrote and illustrated a book entitled “The Miserable Tales of Duster the Cat” which is available for purchase online. Duster is a real cat who Press adopted in her third year at Peabody, and who many fellow Peabody students knew and loved. Press was a student of Victor Danchenko and currently is the second assistant concertmaster of the Vancouver Symphony in British Columbia. The Miserable Tales of Duster the Cat are some of the most horrible stories of feline misbehaviors and misadventures ever to be put to rhyme. Sadly, these tales are all based on actual events in the life of a real cat, Duster.
William Davenport (BM ’11, Voice), tenor and Jenni Bank (BM ’06, Voice), mezzo-soprano (reported before), both students of Stanley Cornett at Peabody, are 2015 Regional Winners in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. They both will compete in the 2015 National Semi-Finals, as two of 17 contestants, on the stage of The Metropolitan Opera in New York on March 15, with a chance to advance to the Grand Finals Concert on March 22 with The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
Norika Zehnder, soprano, a sophomore in Stanley Cornett’s studio, placed first in her age category (16-18-years-old) of the National Society of Arts and Letters’ Shirley Rabb Winston Annual Voice Competition, Washington, DC chapter. The NSAL local chapter winners will continue on to compete at the National level with the winners from the eighteen NSAL chapters across the country.