The Solti Foundation has announced Gemma New as the recipient of the 2021 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, a major prize given to conductors aged 38 or younger. The award’s namesake, Sir Georg Solti, enjoyed a highly successful 22-year run as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as part of a celebrated conducting career.
New is currently music director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra in Ontario; resident conductor of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and music director of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra; and principal guest conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
New made her Chicago debut at the 2017 Grant Park Music Festival, filling in for Simone Young on short notice to conduct Richard Strauss’s Symphonia domestica. She was invited back in her own right the following year, including Douglas Lilburn’s Aotearoa Overture in her program.
Originally from New Zealand, Gemma New began conducting in her teens. She trained at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch — where she led that city’s youth orchestra as a student — and at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore. She previously held posts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and received Solti Foundation Career Assistance Awards in 2017 and 2019.
Other than her posts in Hamilton, St. Louis, and Dallas, upcoming engagements in 2021 include the Basque National Orchestra in Bilbao; the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic; the World Youth Symphony Orchestra in Interlochen; the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in Wellington and Auckland; the Sydney Symphony Orchestra; and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.
The Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award provides career guidance, industry connections, and a cash prize of $30,000. The award is given by the Solti Foundation US, which is based in Evanston. Previous Conducting Fellows include Roderick Cox, Christopher Allen, Karina Canellakis, Vladimir Kulenovic, and James Feddeck.