Bassoonist Peter Kolkay, a member of the West Virginia University music faculty, is one of four musicians in the nation selected to receive a Career Grant from the Avery Fisher Artist Program at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in 2004.
p. The announcement was made May 18 during festivities at Lincoln Centers Clark Studio Theater. At that time, performances by the four recipients, along with interviews, were taped for nationwide broadcast Sunday, July 4, at 8 a.m. on the Arts&Entertainment channels”Breakfast with the Arts.”

Avery Fisher Career Grants are designed to give professional assistance and recognition to talented instrumentalists who have potential for solo careers. Up to five grants are given each year, and the winners must be citizens of the United States or permanent residents. The winners receive $15,000 to use in furthering their careers.

“I actually found out about the award in February when they called me at my office,”Kolkay said.”They asked me to keep it a secret until the announcement, so I couldnt tell anyone but my parents. Its one of these things where someone nominates you and you dont even know youve been nominated. Winning it was completely unexpected.”

“We are thrilled that Professor Kolkay has been honored with this most prestigious award,”said Dean Bernie Schultz of the College of Creative Arts.”As an educator and a performer, he is a wonderful addition to our music faculty and brings the highest professional standard to our students.”

Musicians are nominated by the programs Recommendation Board, comprised of nationally known instrumentalists, conductors, composers, music educators, managers and presenters. Final selections are made by the Executive Committee, which includes pianists Emanuel Ax and Claude Frank; cellist Yo-Yo Ma; Henry Fogel, president of the American Symphony Orchestra League; Ara Guzelimian, senior director of Carnegie Hall; Jeffrey Kahane, music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; Reynold Levy, president of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; Zarin Mehta, executive director of the New York Philharmonic; and Joseph Polisi, president of The Juilliard School, among others.

Kolkay is the first bassoonist to win the award. The Avery Fisher Artist Program describes him as”a gifted performer who consistently displays both extraordinary musicality and virtuosic artistry.”A native of Naperville, Ill., he is a graduate of Yale University and earned a masters degree from the Eastman School of Music and a bachelors from Lawrence University.

Shortly before joining the WVU music faculty in 2002, he was the first solo bassoonist to win first prize at the Concert Artists Guild International Competition in New York. Other prizes awarded in connection with the CAG Competition included the Victor and Sono Elmaleh Award of $5,000, a concerto engagement at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, a concerto appearance with the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra, a recital engagement from the Brooklyn Friends of Chamber Music and an engagement with the Cooperstown Chamber Music Festival.

His competition awards include top prizes from the William C. Byrd and WAMSO Competitions.

Kolkay opened the 2003-2004 season in New York City as a member of the”Zankel Band,”a select group of musicians chosen to work with John Adams for the opening of Carnegie Halls new performance space, Zankel Hall. Future concerts include return engagements in summer 2004 at both the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival and the Newport Chamber Music Festival. In 2004-2005 he will be featured in a special quintet version of”Peter and the Wolf”at New Yorks 92nd Street”Y,”as well as a tour of the west coast with the chamber ensemble Concertante. Next year, he also will give the world premiere performances of a new Concerto for Two Bassoons and Orchestra, written by noted American composer Harold Meltzer, with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra.

He is an avid performer of contemporary music and chamber music and has recently appeared as a collaborative artist as part of the Stefan Wolpe Centennial celebration, on the American Composers Alliance series at Christ&St. Stephens Church in New York City. He also performed with pianist Ursula Oppens at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall in a performance of Elliott Carters Quintet for Piano and Winds as part of a special concert celebrating Carters distinguished career. He is currently a member of the Harrisburg Symphony and the IRIS Chamber Orchestra, and is a founding member of Trio Encantar, an oboe/bassoon/piano ensemble. He has been a featured soloist with the Flint Symphony, the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra, the Musica Nova Ensemble at Eastman, and the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra. His performances have been broadcast on National Public Radios”Performance Today”and on New Yorks WQXR -FM.

Other winners of the 2004 Avery Fisher Artist Program Awards include harpist Bridget Kibbey; violinist Tai Murray; and cellist Clancy Newman, all of New York City.