The American Academy of Arts and Letters has named UW faculty composer Huck Hodge the recipient of the Charles Ives Living, the largest monetary award granted exclusively to American composers.
Honoring mid-career composers of unheralded acclaim, the cash award of $200,000 enables—and in fact requires—the recipient to “quit his day job” for a two-year period in order to focus solely on composing, a luxury not afforded Ives himself, who composed the body of his work in relative obscurity while earning a living in the insurance trade.
“Mr. Hodge, a brilliant colorist, and creator of gorgeous, lyrical soundscapes joins the succession of distinguished composers who have received the award,” said Yehudi Wyner, president of the Academy, in the organization's January 24 announcement of the award.
While on leave from the UW starting July 1, 2018, Hodge (who currently serves as chair of the UW Composition program) plans to continue his prolific output of new works developed in his eight years on the UW Music faculty, during which he has garnered numerous honors, including a prestigious Rome Prize in Composition, the Gaudeamus Prize, the ISCM League of Composers Award, fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Aaron Copland Fellowship from the Bogliasco Foundation, and awards from ASCAP, New Music USA, and the Concorso Franco Donatoni in Italy.
Established in 1998 and awarded tri-annually, the Charles Ives Living is the Academy’s top prize among hundreds of scholarships and fellowships awarded to composers since 1970, when Harmony Ives, widow of the acclaimed composer, left to the Academy the royalties from her husband's music to establish a fund for prizes in music composition. The American Academy of Arts and Letters, an honor society of the country’s 250 leading architects, artists, composers, and writers, administers more than 70 awards and prizes, exhibits art and manuscripts, funds performances of new works of musical theater, and purchases artwork for donation to museums across the United States.
“This award is very significant to me,” Hodge wrote the Academy in accepting the award, “not least because of its connection with the legacy of Charles and Harmony Ives. What foresight to enable that future generations of composers might not have to starve on their dissonances! I hope that I can return even a little of this generosity in the music I will write.”
Read the full announcement from the Academy of Arts and Letters here.