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SFSU Public Affairs Press Release

Published by the Public Affairs Office at San Francisco State University, Diag Center.


Contact: Matt Itelson
phone: (415) 338-1665

SFSU professor honored by national music publisher for 16th straight year

Richard Festinger wins award for his 'highly valued' compositions

SAN FRANCISCO, November 28, 2001 - For the 16th year in a row, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) has honored San Francisco State University music Professor Richard Festinger for his outstanding compositions with a prestigious award, granted to musicians who focus primarily on performance and instruction.

ASCAP Director of Awards Ken Cicerale said that earning the award for so many consecutive years is "not an everyday occurrence."

"We strive to recognize composers like Festinger who produce a highly valued catalog of work, but who might otherwise go unsurveyed," Cicerale said.

ASCAP granted the ASCAPLU$ Standard Award to Festinger because of his large body of work, a result of some 30 years in music performance that began in small jazz clubs across the country and led to international recognition.

"You begin to wonder where the time went," said Festinger, who has been a member of the SFSU composition faculty since 1990 and is surprised that he has received the award 16 times. "It's very generous of them to keep this up."

Each year ASCAP grants a broad range of awards to a handful of its 115,000 members. Festinger's award is granted to musicians who work primarily outside of broadcasting and receive less than $20,000 in royalties annually.

"He is an absolute gem of a colleague whose depth and insight is invaluable," said Dee Spencer, professor of music and co-director of the Jazz and World Music Studies Program. "We are excited about his continuing recognition."

After a successful tour in China last year, Festinger was invited to teach a master class at the renowned Central Beijing Conservatory in October. Shortly before he left for China, French group Aprodu-Miroglio Duo premiered his latest piano and percussion composition "Abstraction in Metal and Wood" at SFSU.

"A Dream Foretold," another of Festinger's works, recently debuted in New York City with a performance by the New York New Music Ensemble. The ensemble also performed the work in November at the Festival of New American Music in Sacramento, where Festinger served as composer in residence.

Festinger, a Parkmerced resident, teaches music theory and composition and directs the electronic music studio. He is also a research affiliate of the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics at Stanford University.

Festinger is also a founding director of Earplay, an SFSU-based contemporary music ensemble that has received national recognition for its performances of new American music. He has taught at University of California, Berkeley, UC Davis, and Dartmouth College.

Festinger cites the Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters as his most prestigious award. He has also received commissions from the Fromm Foundation at Harvard University, the Jerome Foundation and Koussevitzky Foundation.

One of the largest campuses in the 23-campus California State University system, SFSU was founded in 1899 and today is a highly diverse, comprehensive, public and urban university.


This release was written by student writer Anastasia Thrift.

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