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21C congratulates “Musical America” award-winners McDonald, Denk, & Heras-Casado

Following the announcement of the 2014 Musical America award-winners today, 21C Media Group congratulates Musician of the Year Audra McDonald, Instrumentalist of the Year Jeremy Denk, and Conductor of the Year Pablo Heras-Casado. The Musical America awards rank among classical music’s highest honors, and will be presented by the venerable performing arts resource at its annual ceremony on December 17 at Lincoln Center, where McDonald, Denk, and Heras-Casado will be joined by George Benjamin (Composer of the Year) and the International Contemporary Ensemble (Ensemble of the Year).
Naming singer/actress Audra McDonald as Musician of the Year, Musical America observes:
Audra McDonald is unparalleled in the breadth and versatility of her artistry as both singer and actress. She is fearless, vocally and physically. Her immediately recognizable soprano is rich, flexible, and incandescent, with a huge dynamic range, equally persuasive as silk or gravel, belt or whisper. It’s also genre-bending, since she can sing across the spectrum, from opera to blues, pop to gospel. She is what Barbara Cook calls ‘the whole package.’
With a record-tying five Tony Awards and two Grammys among her abundance of accolades, McDonald is one of today’s most highly regarded performers. Earlier this year, she released her most personal solo album to date, Go Back Home, on the Nonesuch label. Marking her first solo recording in seven years, many of its songs feature in her current 22-city North American concert tour, which she launched at a season-opening gala with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony. McDonald also continues in her second season as official host of PBS’s Live From Lincoln Center, and looks forward to appearing as the Mother Abbess in a live NBC television broadcast of The Sound of Music on December 5.
As Musical America explains, it was pianist Jeremy Denk’s unique combination of achievements that led to his selection as Instrumentalist of the Year:
“His flourishing concert schedule, the second release in his Nonesuch recording contract (Bach’s Goldberg Variations), his widely read blog called ‘Think Denk,’ and articles for the New Yorker, which led to a Random House book commission, attest to his multi-faceted artistry.”
The announcement crowns a sensational fall season for the pianist, who won a 2013 MacArthur “genius grant” Fellowship in September, and whose recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations topped the Billboard “Classical Albums” and “Traditional Classical Albums” charts last week. Next Wednesday, November 13, Denk returns to Carnegie Hall to play Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25 with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, in a concert that will be broadcast and streamed live as part of WQXR and the venue’s national “Carnegie Hall Live” series. In the meantime, Denk may be heard performing and discussing the “Goldbergs” live on WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Show, and sharing a story from his early career in the New Yorker magazine and podcast.
Musical America notes that Conductor of the Year Pablo Heras-Casado, at “only 36, has made first appearances with nearly 40 orchestras, opera companies, and festivals. … His repertory is vast, embracing the very new as well as the very old.” Next week the Spanish conductor makes his Metropolitan Opera debut, leading performances of Rigoletto starring Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and the present season also brings first appearances with the foremost orchestras of New York, Philadelphia, London, and Leipzig. As Principal Conductor of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, he looks forward to leading programs showcasing Pierre Boulez and George Benjamin in the New York Philharmonic’s inaugural “biennial” contemporary series. A Diapason d’Or-winner, the conductor recently released recordings of Schubert’s Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4 with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra for Harmonia Mundi, and of Verdi arias with Plácido Domingo and the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana for Sony Classical. His previous awards include the Golden Medal of Merit from the Council of Granada, his hometown, where he serves as an Honorary Ambassador.
For more information about these award-winning artists, visit

*All three artists are clients of 21C Media Group, which represents McDonald and Denk for press and public relations, and undertakes Heras-Casado’s digital marketing. 

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© 21C Media Group, November 2013

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