JAMES CONLON INDUCTED INTO AMERICAN CLASSICAL MUSIC HALL OF FAME

05.17.10
James Conlon
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Ceremony Held at Opening Night Concert of the Cincinnati May Festival Friday, May 14, 2010

Cincinnati, OH, May 17, 2009 -- Conductor James Conlon was inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame on stage at the opening night concert of the Cincinnati May Festival on Friday, May 14, 2010.  David Klingshirn, Founder of the American Classical Music Hall of Fame and member of the May Festival Board, and Trish Bryant, President of the Board of the Hall of Fame presented Mr. Conlon with a medal in recognition of his significant contribution to American classical music. Founded in 1996, the American Classical Music Hall of Fame is a national institution dedicated to honoring outstanding musicians, composers, conductors, educators, administrators and institutions. Mr. Conlon will join a notable roster of conductors previously inducted into the Hall of Fame including Leonard Bernstein, George Szell, Lorin Maazel, James Levine, Michael Tilson Thomas and Zubin Mehta, as well as cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Itzhak Perlman, among others.

James Conlon is Music Director of Los Angeles Opera, the Ravinia Festival, summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Cincinnati May Festival. He has cultivated a vast symphonic, operatic and choral repertoire, and developed relationships with the world's most prestigious symphony orchestras and opera houses through 35 years of conducting.  Mr. Conlon has served as Principal Conductor of the Paris National Opera (1995-2004); General Music Director of the City of Cologne, Germany (1989-2002), where he was simultaneously Music Director of the Gürzenich Orchestra and the Cologne Opera; and Music Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic (1983-1991).

Currently in his 31st year as Music Director of the Cincinnati May Festival, James Conlon has provided the artistic leadership for more May Festivals than any other Music Director in the Festival’s 137-year history, and holds a place among the longest-tenured Music Directors of any major classical music institution in the country.  This year’s May Festival comprises four concerts spanning two consecutive weekends in Cincinnati’s historic Music Hall.  At the opening night concert Mr. Conlon conducted choruses by George Frederic Handel, Beethoven’s Fantasia for Piano, Chorus and Orchestra featuring Van Cliburn finalist Di Wu as pianist, and Mozart’s “Great” C Minor Mass. On Saturday, May 15, he led a landmark performance of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion last performed at the 1985 May Festival, and on Sunday evening he conducted an additional concert at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington, Kentucky. The upcoming second weekend of the Festival includes a concert celebrating Robert Porco’s two decades as May Festival Director of Choruses on May 21, and an all-Russian program including works by Mussorgsky, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky led by Mr. Conlon on the final night, May 22.

Mr. Conlon was the recipient of two Grammy Awards in 2009. He is one of five first recipients of the Opera News Award given in recognition for distinguished achievement in opera and he received the Crystal Globe Award from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for his efforts in championing the works of composers silenced by the Third Reich. He was awarded three honorary doctoral degrees by The Juilliard School, Chapman University and Brandeis University. Mr. Conlon’s other honors include a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Los Angeles, the Music Institute of Chicago’s Dushkin Award, the Medal of the American Liszt Society, and Italy’s Premio Galileo 2000 Award. He was named an Officier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government in 1996, and in 2004 was promoted to Commander. In 2002, James Conlon received France's highest distinction from the President of the French Republic, Jacques Chirac-the Légion d'Honneur.