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American Guild of Organists Names David Conte as Distinguished Composer of the Year

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Conte will also be honored at the American Guild of Organists's convention this summer.

June 26, 2024 by Mark Taylor

One composer at SFCM has struck a chord with a national music organization. The) has named David Conte as its 2024 Distinguished Composer.

Given biennially to recognize outstanding composers of organ and choral music in the United States, the prestigious award, established in 1986 by the AGO Committee on New Music, seeks to make members of the AGO aware of the outstanding composers in the United States who write for organ and chorus.

The American Guild of Organists has about 14,000 members. This represents both concert organists from around the world and choral conductors for church and synagogue choirs of all kinds. Previous award recipients include Virgil Thomson, Ned Rorem, Daniel Pinkham, Samuel Adler, Dominick Argento, William Albright, Conrad Susa, Emma Lou Diemer, Dan Locklair, William Bolcom, Alice Parker, Carl Schalk, Margaret ߲ݴýdresky, Richard Proulx, Stephen Paulus, David Hurd, Craig Phillips, and Libby Larsen. 

 "I am especially honored to be in a list that includes a composer like Virgil Thomson, born in 1896, and whom I knew, and friends of the Conservatory such as William Bolcom and the late Ned Rorem, and our former composition chair, Conrad Susa," Conte said of the honor. 

Conte will also be honored at the AGO National Convention this summer (June 30-July 4) in ߲ݴý Francisco. "Because— beginning with Gregorian chant in the ninth century—choral music is at the heart of the classical music repertory in the West, this remains an important part of our pedagogy in composition at the Conservatory." Conte said. "Having founded the Conservatory Chorus in 1999, conducted it for 14 years, and overseen its inclusion as a requirement for all undergraduates, the activities of an organization like the AGO have played an important part in my professional life." 

The mission of the American Guild of Organists is to foster a thriving community of musicians who share their knowledge and inspire passion for the organ.

Learn more about studying composition at SFCM.