Musical America Announces its 2022 Awards
Artist of the Year: Mitsuko Uchida [pictured]
Composer of the Year: Missy Mazzoli
Conductor of the Year: Teddy Abrams
Vocalist of the Year: Davóne Tines
Musical America Awards ceremony to be a virtual event on December 5, 2021
NEW YORK, N.Y. (October 12, 2021) — Musical America today announced the names of the four classical music luminaries who are recipients of the 2022 Musical America Awards, recognizing individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the performing arts and shaped the future of the classical music industry for the better. The awards will be bestowed at the annual Awards Ceremony on Sunday, December 5, 2021 on Facebook Live.
Artist of the Year Mitsuko Uchida Mitsuko Uchida is honored as Artist of the Year. A renowned interpreter of Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, she combines diamantine precision with an appetite for risk. With a 50-year career behind her, the Japanese-born, British-resident can still startle, her technique formidable, yet never showy. At the piano, each musical phrase is weighed afresh, even the most familiar, for she never tires of the music she loves. With that comes a humility that in anyone else might seem false modesty. But when Uchida tells you that she apologizes to her cherished composers every day for not doing them justice, you can imagine her doing just that. Thoughtful and confident in her opinions, she’s a committed educator and is co-artistic director of the prestigious Marlboro Music School and Festival. She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2009.
Photo: © Marco Borggreve
Composer of the Year Missy Mazzoli As one of America’s most successful artists, Brooklyn-based Missy Mazzoli is recognized as Composer of the Year. Her sophisticated but approachable music has proved a hit with audiences at home and abroad. Growing up in a semi-rural town an hour from Philadelphia, her quest for a personal voice included an adolescent fixation on Beethoven and playing in punk bands. A wide-ranging, creative artist, she has received considerable praise for her operas with 2016’s Breaking the Waves winning plaudits worldwide. The fact that she never had a female professor “sucks,” she says, so now she’s finding time to do something about it. As a co-founder of Luna Composition Lab, she mentors female and non-binary composers ages 12-18, while as composer-in-residence at Chicago Symphony she made sure that more than 50 percent of the composers in her new music series were female and/or non-white.
Photo: © Caroline Tompkins.
Conductor of the Year Teddy Abrams Conductor, composer, pianist, and clarinetist Teddy Abrams has been a revitalizing force at the Louisville Orchestra, where he is music director. Raised in Oakland, California, he became a protégé of Michael Tilson Thomas at just 12 years old. The same energy and drive he displays on the podium today secured him a bachelor’s degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music at the age of 18 before being accepted by Curtis Institute as its youngest ever conducting student. In Louisville he has made his mark not only as a visionary and galvanizing conductor but also with creative initiatives such as his rap-opera honoring one of Louisville’s own, heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali. A born leader, Abrams has drawn the local community together with his musical responses to the global pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement.
Photo © Chris Witzke.
Vocalist of the Year Davóne Tines As Vocalist of the Year, bass-baritone Davóne Tines is not just an inspirational voice, he’s a wide-ranging, deep-thinking creative force who has premiered works by, among many others, John Adams and Kaija Saariaho. Growing up he learned from gospel singing that music can have an intense connection to feeling. As Oussama Zahr writes in his features, the smooth contours of Tines’s voice house a vivacious rumble with a tone that is round yet trimmed of fat. As an instinctive non-conformist and an uncompromising artist, his determination to sing works that he cares about has frequently led him to develop them himself. The Black Clown, a music theater work that contends with what it means to be a Black man performing for predominantly white audiences, landed him on Time magazine’s 2019 list of Next Generation Leaders.
Photo © Kadeem Johnson.
[Links to articles online embedded where names are bold.]
As was the case last year, the 2022 honorees will be recognized in an all-virtual edition of the Awards ceremony, to be presented via Facebook Live on December 5 at 4:00 pm ET.
Coinciding with the event will be the publication of the 2022 Musical America International Directory of the Performing Arts which, in addition to its comprehensive industry listings, pays homage to each of the artists honored at the Awards in its editorial pages.
For more than half a century, Musical America has recognized each year’s stellar performers with its coveted awards. Past recipients, representing the pinnacle of artistic achievement during the last five decades, include Leonard Bernstein, Igor Stravinsky, Vladimir Horowitz, Beverly Sills, George Balanchine, Arthur Rubinstein, Itzhak Perlman, Isaac Stern, Marilyn Horne, André Previn, Wynton Marsalis, Yo-Yo Ma, Audra McDonald, Peter Sellars, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. For the first time last year, Musical America honored three Artists of the Year—singers Jamie Barton and Julia Bullock, and new opera producer Beth Morrison—recognizing them as Agents of Change.
******** MUSICAL AMERICA Founded as a weekly newspaper in 1898, Musical America through the years has appeared in a variety of formats. Today, it is both the International Directory of the Performing Arts and The annual Directory, known as the “bible” of the industry, features over 14,000 detailed listings of worldwide arts organizations, with over 8,000 artists indexed both alphabetically and categorically. The first Directory was published in 1960, which is also when the tradition of choosing a Musician of the Year began. Awards for Instrumentalist, Conductor, Composer, and Vocalist of the Year date from 1992; Ensemble of the Year from 1995; Collaborative Pianist of the Year from 1998; Educator of the Year from 2001.
Returning to Musical America’s newspaper roots, was launched in December 1998 and delivers performing arts news, analysis, and insight by national and international correspondents around the world. Susan Elliott is editor of‘s news, special reports, and One to One interviews.