Composer William Kraft has received a 1999-2000 award from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). Kraft, holder of the Dorothy and Sherrill C. Corwin Chair in Composition at UC Santa Barbara, has received similar awards from the organization every year since 1964.
And Kraft, former director and founder of the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, has not slowed down one bit. His "Concerto for Timpani" was performed this year by the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony. His "Encounters XI" premiered in Los Angeles and repeated in New York City, both in March.
Locally, Kraft has introduced Santa Barbarans to contemporary composers of Great Britain, Asia, and Mexico, as well as composers for film through UCSB's New Music Festival, which he founded eight years ago.
His most recent CD is "Concerto for Four Percussion Soloists and Symphonic Wind Ensemble" performed by the New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble for Albany Records. Other CDs in the works are a double-CD set for Crystal Records and two other CDs for Albany and Laurel records that will include almost, if not all of his orchestral work to date. He is working on a new version of "Encounters VIII" and a suite from his opera "Red Azalea," which is to be recorded next spring.
Beginning this fall, Kraft will also be the composer-in-residence for the newly formed Opus Chamber Orchestra in Los Angeles. The orchestra will perform a piece of his in all its concerts, as well as record commissioned works by Kraft.
During Kraft's long and distinguished career, he has received many awards, commissions, nominations, including Pulitzer Prize nominations, two Guggenheim Fellowships, Ford Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation commissions, grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and two Kennedy Friedheim Awards. He has also received commissions from the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra to the Kronos Quartet.
Chosen by an independent panel of classical music professionals, recipients of ASCAP's cash awards are chosen "based upon the unique prestige value of each writer's catalog of original compositions as well as recent performances of those works in areas not surveyed by the society."