“Conductor Michael Christie has brought many innovations to the Phoenix Symphony,” writes Richard Nilsen in Sunday’s (6/21) Arizona Republic (Phoenix). “But his strongest suit is programming, and that talent was honored June 11 by the League of American Orchestras and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers [ASCAP] with two awards for programming contemporary music during the 2008-09 season. Christie was honored for his commitment to contemporary music with the Phoenix Symphony and with his other gig, the Brooklyn Philharmonic in New York. … It has been a tough year for the Phoenix Symphony, with unpopular contract renegotiations, including a 17 percent pay cut over the next three years, layoffs, several lawsuits over musician terminations and a significant downturn in contributed income. Yet, attendance has been up: 12 sold-out concerts and 23 others drawing more than 90 percent capacity. One reason is surely the excitement of the programming. Christie instituted season-long ‘composer spotlights,’ in which three composers each season are featured, including one contemporary composer.” The ASCAP Awards were given at the League’s National Conference in Chicago. Click here for a complete list of winners.

Posted June 23, 2009