Awards and Accolades ...
1952 ~First recipient of Fromm Foundation award for String Quartet No. 1 and Sonata for Two Pianos 1954
1955 ~Copley Foundation Award
1956 ~Fulbright Fellowship
1958 ~Sir Arnold Bax Society (London) Medal
1958 ~UNESCO Award (London) for String Quartet No. 2
1966 ~Guggenheim Fellowship
1967 ~Official Guest of Union of Soviet Composers
1985 ~Lancaster (PA) Symphony Orchestra Composer's Award
2003 ~Grammy Award nomination for Symphony No. 5 ("Kalmar Nyckel")
2009 ~ Grammy Award nomination forViolin Concerto
Benjamin Lees' Symphony No. 5,
Benjamin Lees' Violin Concerto
Benjamin Lees' Symphony No. 5, "Kalmar Nyckel" was nominated for a 2004 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Composition by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. You can find more information about the nominations at www.grammy.com.
This performance, recorded by Germany's Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, conducted by the composer's longtime musical interpreter and close associate, Stephen Gunzenhauser, has been released as part of Albany Records 2-CD set Troy 564-565, which also features Mr. Lees' Symphony No. 2 and Symphony No. 3, both also performed by the Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz conducted by Stephen Gunzenhauser and the composer's Etudes for Piano and Orchestra, with pianist James Dick and the Texas Festival Orchestra, conducted by Robert Spano. Special grants from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music and the Swedish Information Service helped make this recording possible.
For a sound clip click here.
Clips are in mp3 format.
For the second time in four years, a piece by Benjamin Lees has been nominated for a Grammy Award. Nominated in Category 102 - Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with Orchestra), the recording of the Violin Concerto was released on Artek Recordings in a performance by the superb violinist Elmar Oliveira and John McLaughlin Williams conducting the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine. The catalogue number is AR-0042-2 and more information about the disk is at http://www.artekrecordings.com/.
Steven Schwartz, writing for ClassicalNet, says, “I first heard Lees's 1959 violin concerto from a Seventies LP released by Vox/Turnabout in their "Composer in America" series. Ruggiero Ricci soloed with the American Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Kazuyoshi Akiyama. Szeryng premiered the work in 1963… Lees's concerto emphasizes the here and now and continually looks forward… Even when one metaphorically catches one's breath, some goal is always in sight, and while Lees does re-use certain thematic shapes, the effect is rather that of a golden thread running throughout the concerto fabric, rather than an attraction to the past.”