For Immediate Release 

Contact: Nichole L. Knight,

New York, NY (October 3, 2019)—Chamber Music America (CMA), the national network for ensemble music professionals, has named the 2020 recipients of two of its annual awards. Composer Joan Tower will receive the Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award, which recognizes an individual or entity that has made a significant contribution to the ensemble music field on a national level and spanning an entire career. Jazz pianist and composer Samora Pinderhughes will receive the Visionary Award, which recognizes ensemble music professionals who are leading the field in creative thinking and innovation. CMA will honor the recipients as part of its 2020 Conference, Music, Equity, and Our Future at the Westin New York at Times Square.

Joan Tower is widely regarded as one of the most important American composers living today. During a career spanning more than fifty years, she has made lasting contributions to musical life in the United States as composer, performer, conductor, and educator. Her works have been commissioned by major ensembles, soloists, and orchestras, including the Emerson, Tokyo, and Muir quartets; soloists Evelyn Glennie, Carol Wincenc, David Shifrin, Paul Neubauer, and John Browning; and the orchestras of Chicago, New York, St. Louis, and Washington DC among others. From 1969 to 1984, she was pianist and founding member of the Naumburg Award-winning Da Capo Chamber Players, which commissioned and premiered many of her most popular works. Other chamber works have been commissioned by the Boston Chamber Music Society, Chamber Music Monterey Bay, St. Timothy’s Summer Music Festival, Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, La Jolla Music Society for SummerFest, Music from Angel Fire, Chamber Music Northwest, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, among many others. She has received honorary doctorates from Smith College, the New England Conservatory, and Illinois State University. She is the Asher Edelman Professor of Music at Bard College, where she has taught since 1972.

Previous recipients of the Award include The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), David Shifrin, Rudolf Serkin, Alice Tully, Billy Taylor, the Juilliard, Emerson, and Kronos string quartets, Chick Corea, Kenneth Fischer, and Paquito D’Rivera.

A discussion with Tower about her life in chamber music will take place on the final day of the CMA Conference, Sunday, January 19 at 10:00 AM, followed by the award presentation. Admission to the event is free with conference registration.


Photo: Lauren Desberg

Samora Abayomi Pinderhughes is a composer/pianist/vocalist known for large multidisciplinary projects and for his use of music to examine sociopolitical issues. Pinderhughes was born mixed-race in the Bay Area, a hotbed of revolutionary organizing as well as music and art that immediately seeped into his soul. Pinderhughes is the director/creator of The Transformations Suite, an acclaimed project combining music, theatre, and poetry to examine the radical history of resistance within the communities of the African Diaspora. This year, Pinderhughes is beginning his PhD at Harvard University in the Creative Practice and Critical Inquiry program under the direction of Vijay Iyer. He works frequently with Common on compositions for music & film, and is a featured member on the new albums August Greene and Let Love with Common, Robert Glasper, Boom Bishop, and Karriem Riggins. A Sundance Composers Lab fellow, Pinderhughes scored the award-winning documentary Whose Streets? and the Field of Vision film Concussion Protocol. He is a member of Blackout for Human Rights, the arts and social justice collective founded by Ryan Coogler and Ava DuVernay, and was musical director for their #MLKNow and #JusticeForFlint events.

Previous recipients of the Visionary Award include the PUBLIQuartet, Jon Batiste, and Eighth Blackbird.

Pinderhughes will be honored on Saturday, January 18 at the annual Saturday Night Soirée. Tickets are currently available through conference registration.

Chamber Music America, the national network for ensemble music professionals, was founded in 1977 to develop, support, and strengthen the chamber music field. With a membership of nearly 6,000, including musicians, ensembles, presenters, artist managers, educators, music businesses, and advocates of ensemble music, CMA welcomes members representing a wide range of musical styles and traditions– including western and non-western classical, contemporary, jazz, and evolving genres. CMA provides its members with grant programs, consulting services, a national conference, professional development seminars, access to instrument and other insurances, and several publications, including Chamber Music magazine; the weekly Accent e-newsletter; and a member-driven website.

For more information on CMA’s 2020 Conference, Music, Equity, and Our Future visit