Yesterday, during the National Conference of the League of American Orchestras (LAO), the American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP) announced its annual Awards for Adventurous Programming. These non-cash awards were conceived jointly by ASCAP and LAO as a way to provide recognition for efforts to challenge the audience, build the repertoire, and increase interest in contemporary music. One of these awards is specifically for American Programming on Foreign Tours, and this year that award was given to the San Francisco Symphony (SFS). Specifically, it cites the European tour that took place this past March, whose programming included John Adams “Absolute Jest,” composed on an SFS commission for the ensemble’s centennial celebration, and “The Alcotts,” the third movement of Henry Brant’s A Concord Symphony, a rethinking of Charles Ives’ second (“Concord”) piano sonata in orchestral terms.
SFS has won nineteen ASCAP awards. That includes one for the SFS Youth Orchestra, which was also for American Programming on Foreign Tours. In this case the tour took also place in Europe, this time between June 23 and July 6 in 2012; and John Adams’ “Shaker Loops” was performed at all but one of the six concerts on the tour.