Tobias Picker Elected to American Academy of Arts and Letters
Many congratulations to Tobias Picker on his election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The composer joins an esteemed list of musicians in the Academy that includes John Adams, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Charles Wuorinen, Stephen Sondheim, Elliott Carter and Schott composers Bernard Rands, Robert Beaser, Fred Lerdahl, Joseph Schwantner and Christopher Rouse. The Academy is the foremost honor society of architects, composers, artists and writers in the United States. The honor of election is a lifetime appointment and is considered the highest formal recognition of artistic merit in the country.
The Academy's purpose is to foster and sustain an interest in Literature, Music, and the Fine Arts by identifying and encouraging individual artists through administering awards and prizes, exhibiting art and manuscripts, funding stage readings and performances of new works, and purchasing works of art to be donated to museums. The Academy will hold its annual award ceremony in May where Tobias Picker will be inducted into the 250-person organization alongside 9 additional members from the Art, Architecture and Literature fields. Fellow 2012 inductees include composer Stephen Jaffe, artists Lynda Benglis, Robert Gober, Kara Walker, architects Elizabeth Diller and Kenneth Frampton and writers Jonathan Franzen, Michael Chabon and Jhumpa Lahiri.
Tobias Picker is currently completing his fifth opera, Dolores Claiborne, with a libretto by J.D. McClatchy commissioned by San Francisco Opera. Presented by arrangement with British theatrical producer Andrew Welch, Dolores Claiborne will see its world premiere at the San Francisco Opera on September 15, 2013, starring mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick in the title role, conducted by George Manahan and directed by James Robinson.
Described by BBC Music Magazine as "displaying a distinctively soulful style that is one of the glories of the current musical scene," Tobias Picker has had works commissioned and performed by the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, The Cleveland Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic and the Helsinki Philharmonic. His first opera, Emmeline, saw its premiere at the Santa Fe Opera in 1996, and his fourth opera, An American Tragedy, was commissioned by and premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 2005. His adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox was commissioned and premiered by the Los Angeles Opera in 1998, and his Thérèse Raquin was commissioned by The Dallas Opera, San Diego Opera, and Opera de Montreal in 1999. His piano concerto Keys to the City was commissioned by the City of New York in honor of the centenary of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1982. London's Rambert Dance Company completed a season-long tour throughout the UK of Picker's Awakenings in Spring of 2011, and New York City's Miller Theatre honored the composer with a portrait concert in October, 2011.
Read the American Academy of Arts and Letters press release on the newly elected members at www.artsandletters.org.