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The 2021-2022 A.I. duPont Composer’s Awards Winner, George Tsontakis
About George Tsontakis
Recently called “A giant of the American music scene” by Gramophone Magazine, George Tsontakis has been the recipient of two of the richest prizes awarded in all of classical music; the International Grawemeyer Award, in 2005 and the Ives Living, from the American Academy. He studied with Roger Sessions at Juilliard and in Rome, with Franco Donatoni. Born in Astoria, NY into Cretan heritage, he has become a recognized figure in Greece with performances worldwide each season. Most of his music has been recorded by Hyperion, Koch, INNOVA, and NAXOS, including fifteen works for orchestra — over five hours of orchestral music, leading to two Grammy Nominations for Best Classical Composition.
He served as Composer-in-Residence with the Aspen Music Festival for 40 years, where he was founding director of the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, with the Oxford (England) Philomusica, the Albany Symphony, and with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, among others. He is Distinguished Composer-in-Residence at the Bard College Conservatory.
His recent premieres include works for London’s Mobius Ensemble, the Barlow Endowment, and large-scale pieces for the Boston Symphony and the St Paul Chamber Orchestra, a Requiem for the Albany Symphony as well as a violin concerto for Gary Levinson and the Dallas Symphony. His “The Air of Greece” an opera-drama on Lord Byron was commissioned and premiered by the Greek National Opera in December 2021. NAXOS’ release of three of his concertos with the Albany Symphony was heralded as one of NPR’s “Top Ten Classical Recordings of 2017” and of the NAXOS CD with his “Sonnets” by the Boston Symphony, BBC Magazine declared that the Tsontakis work was “the sparklingly expressive jewel in this crown”. He lives in New York’s Catskill Mountains.