On April 21, 2016, John Mauceri was granted the 2015 Ditson Conductor’s Award by Columbia University. The Ditson Fund was established at Columbia University in 1940, with a bequest from Alice M. Ditson, the widow of the noted Boston music publisher Oliver Ditson. Mrs. Ditson’s will stipulated that income from the bequest be used for non-academic fellowships, public concerts, and publications in support of music. In 1945 the Ditson Conductor’s Award was established. It is the oldest continuing award honoring conductors for distinguished contributions to American music.
Text from the award:
Ditson Conductor’s Award
In 1940, Columbia University established the Alice M. Ditson Fund to provide grants to support the work of exceptionally talented musicians. Accordingly, the Ditson Conductor’s Award was created in 1945 to encourage public performance of the music of gifted composers. Columbia now proudly adds John Mauceri to the list of the award’s distinguished recipients.
Maestro Mauceri, over a career spanning five decades, you have conducted an extraordinary number of world premieres, first recordings, and overseas performances of an amazing variety of music by emerging and established American composers, both native and naturalized, including John Adams, Mark Blitzstein, John Cage, John Corigliano, David Del Tredici, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Adam Guettel, Andrew Imbrie, Paul Hindemith, Charles Ives, Gian-Carlo Menotti and Kurt Weill. For 18 years, Leonard Bernstein chose you to conduct and edit his music, including the world premiere productions of A Quiet Place at both the Kennedy Center and La Scala; the European premiere and tenth anniversary productions of Mass; and all current performingversions of Candide on Broadway, which garnered five Tony awards, at the New York City Opera and for which you won a Grammy, and the version for the Scottish Opera, for which you won an Olivier Award.
You have also become one of the world’s leading authorities on two other forms of quintessentially American music, film scores and the Broadway musical. Through your efforts, film music written by great composers who fled persecution in the World Wars and became American citizens, including Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Miklos Rozsa,Max Steiner and Franz Waxman, as well as American-born film composers like Elmer Bernstein, Danny Elfman, Jerry Goldsmith, Bernard Herrmann and Howard Shore, have been introduced to concert audiences throughout the world. As an educator, you have had a profound effect on thousands of students over many years, from Yale University to your recent tenure as Chancellor of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where your productions of works such as Bernstein’s West Side Story, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, and Korngold’s Much Ado About Nothing gained national acclaim.
Columbia University therefore recognizes your splendid record of dedication and accomplishment by conferring on you the 2015 Ditson Conductor’s Award.