Composition Faculty Yotam Haber Wins 2021 American Academy of Arts and Letters Prize

The UMKC Conservatory is very pleased to announce that Yotam Haber, Associate Professor of Music Composition, has been awarded the 2021 Benjamin Danks Award in Music by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. This award of $20,000 is given in rotation to a composer of ensemble works, a playwright, and a writer, and is made possible through a gift from Roy Linden Danks to encourage young talent.

Dr. Haber’s music is hailed by New Yorker critic Alex Ross as “deeply haunting,” and chosen as one of the “30 composers under 40” by Orpheus Chamber Orchestra’s Project 440. Haber was born in Holland and grew up in Israel, Nigeria, and Milwaukee. He is the recipient of a 2017 Koussevitsky Commission, a 2013 Fromm Music Foundation commission, a 2013 NYFA award, the 2007 Rome Prize and a 2005 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. Haber’s first monographic album of chamber music, Torus, was hailed by New York’s WQXR as “a snapshot of a soul in flux—moving from life to the afterlife...” Recent commissions include works for architect Peter Zumthor; New York-based Contemporaneous; the Venice Biennale; and the Tel Aviv-based Meitar Ensemble. Haber was Assistant Professor of Music at the University of New Orleans and Artistic Director Emeritus of MATA, the non-profit organization founded by Philip Glass.

The American Academy of Arts and Letters was founded in 1898 as an honor society of the country’s leading architects, artists, composers, and writers. Early members include William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, Julia Ward Howe, Henry James, Edward MacDowell, Theodore Roosevelt, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, John Singer Sargent, Mark Twain, and Edith Wharton. The Academy’s 300 members are elected for life and pay no dues.

Congratulations to Dr. Haber.