The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers' (ASCAP) will honor several of its composer members at an invitation-only awards program at the Juilliard School on May 25. The inaugural event formalizes recognition for ASCAP concert composers at a time when these writers are increasing their presence in musical theatre, opera and cabaret.
ASCAP's Concert Music Awards will honor cabaret/opera singer Lauren Flanigan, who will perform a Ned Rorem art song at the event, opera composer John Duffy (Muhammad Ali and Black Water), Pulitzer Prize winning composer Rorem, Morton Subotnick and WNYC which is celebrating its 75th year.
New talent will also figure prominently in the May 25 program: ASCAP will honor several Young Composer Winners of the ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Awards. Peter Schickele (PDQ Bach) will serve as Master of Ceremonies.
ASCAP's vice president of concert music Fran Richard, who is organizing the inaugural event, spoke to Playbill On-Line about numerous crossover situations, with composers moving between the concert field and musical theatre.
"I wouldn't say our awards are not dedicated to the field of classical," Richard said "but the truth is, the people in our field and especially a lot of the up-and-coming kids are writing musical theatre." Richard pointed out that, "Lauren Flanigan recently performed a three night engagement Joe's Pub and John Duffy has won Emmys writing about important issues that effect our lives from the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the life of Muhammad Ali.
"All of these variations have a profound influence on the entire music field," Richard told Playbill On-Line. "Our concert awards may celebrate specific areas of work but we also realize that John Corigliano (an opera composer) won the Academy Award for his score to `The Red Violin.'" Richard emphasized that musical theatre, concert, and opera composers "live in this time and they share in all of this music," no matter what their specialties.
"Music is not in compartments anymore," Richard said.
Celebrity guests and others at the ASCAP event will assemble at the Juilliard School's Paul Hall (Plaza Level) at Broadway and West 65th. A reception is scheduled after the awards program in the Marble Lobby of the Juilliard School.
-- By Murdoch McBride