Britt Festival Orchestra Music Director Teddy Abrams named Musical America's Conductor of the Year
As Music Director of the Louisville Orchestra and Britt Festival Orchestra in Jacksonville, Oregon, Abrams joins a long list of award-winning conducting luminaries that includes Marin Alsop, Jaap van Zweden, Gianandrea Noseda, Pablo Heras-Casado, Franz Welser-Möst, and Abrams's own mentor, Michael Tilson Thomas.
Musical America first appeared in print in 1898 and is the oldest American magazine on classical music. Since 1960, it has recognized classical music's stellar performers with its annual awards, recognizing artistic excellence and achievement in the arts and ranking among classical music's highest honors. This year, Teddy Abrams was selected as Conductor of the Year.
In recognition of the award, Abrams responded: "I'm incredibly grateful and overwhelmed to receive this award from Musical America; the honor, however, should be shared by my extraordinary colleagues here in Louisville, both on- and offstage, who have become family to me these past seven seasons. We have worked tirelessly together to live by our values: to interconnect the unending pursuit of the creative spirit with the call to service and communion on behalf of our city. I am very proud of the work we've accomplished so far in Louisville, and I believe that we are beginning an era of further transformation and growth in a city that deserves it and in an industry that needs bold redefinition. After a particularly challenging period in Louisville's history I am thrilled that Musical America has offered this recognition for our orchestra and this spotlight for our beautiful city and state."
Raised in Oakland, California, Abrams became a protégé of Michael Tilson Thomas at just 12 years old. He secured a bachelor's degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music at the age of 18 before being accepted by Curtis as its youngest-ever conducting student. In Louisville he has been praised as a visionary and galvanizing conductor, leading creative initiatives such as his rap-opera honoring one of Louisville's own, heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali.