Gold Baton Award

Previous Awardees

2011
 
Fred Zenone
We mourn the passing of Fred Zenone, whom we lost last fall. Fred Zenone was an iconic figure in the orchestra field. While he served as a cellist in the National Symphony Orchestra for three decades, his activities and influence as an activist and advocate were widely felt throughout the field. As chair of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) from 1980 to 1986, he led the effort to gain rights and voice for symphony musicians as he contributed to crafting several landmark national labor agreements and practices. He was also renowned for his work as a mediator and facilitator working alongside orchestra managers to resolve complex disputes at orchestras in crisis. Fred Zenone served on the board of the League of American Orchestras from 1983 to 1989, and later on the board of the Symphony Orchestra Institute, of which he was also president. In 1992, on the occasion of the League’s 50th anniversary, Symphony magazine named Zenone one of the 50 distinguished leaders whose work “touched the lives of American orchestras.”

American Public Media and Minnesota Public Radio
Minnesota Public Radio was founded in 1967 by visionary leader Bill Kling as a single station in rural Minnesota. Its first broadcast was a concert by the Cleveland Orchestra. Though early staffers recall that the broadcast was perhaps heard by more pine trees than people, word spread quickly about the station’s dedication to classical music. Over the next four decades, MPR grew into a 42-station network serving Minnesota and surrounding states. As demand for programming grew, Kling founded Public Radio International and eventually American Public Media, as MPR distribution wings. Today, American Public Media is one of the largest producers of public radio programming in the world. Its programs include Classical 24, the nation’s largest around-the-clock classical music service; Performance Today, a daily two-hour celebration of live classical music performances; and SymphonyCast, a weekly broadcast spotlighting the world’s best orchestras in performance. These and other APM and MPR programs enrich the lives of more than four million Americans each week.

2010
We recognize Ford Motor Company Fund for its extraordinary support of and commitment to Ford Made in America, a grassroots initiative that led to the formation of he largest orchestra commissioning consortium in American history and brought the vibrant energy of new orchestral music to communities in all 50 states.

We also recognize the Nation’s Smaller-Budget Orchestras for their vision and leadership in creating Ford Made in America, which inspired America’s orchestras to collaborate in commissioning extraordinary new works by composers Joan Tower and Joseph Schwantner. With performances of Tower’s Made in America and Schwantner’s Chasing Light… in all 50 states, these orchestras have engaged audiences, sparked interest in, and connected their communities to new music.

2009
Henry Fogel, former president and CEO of the League, and  current dean and distinguished professor of the arts at Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts. 

2008
America’s youth orchestras, for the critical role they play in sustaining arts education, and for continually developing the musicians, audience members, and orchestra supporters of tomorrow. (The Gold Baton was accepted by Louis Scaglione, Chairman, League of American Orchestras Youth Orchestra Division, on behalf of America’s youth orchestras.)

2007
Kenneth Schermerhorn, Whose vibrant musical leadership of the New Jersey, Milwaukee, and Nashville Symphony Orchestras inspired extraordinary artistic quality and established their national stature

2006
John Williams, Composer and conductor, whose orchestral music for film, television and concert hall is an indelible part of America’s cultural fabric, inspiring millions of listeners worldwide 

2005
Leonard Slatkin, Whose imaginative musical leadership has served America’s orchestras, composers and young conductors with unparalleled vision and passion

The National Arts Caucus, For steadfast leadership, advocacy, and unfailing commitment to national policies that improve access to the arts for all Americans

2004
Walter Anderson, Whose leadership as artist, educator, and visionary compelled us to consider endless possibilities

Seymour Rosen, Musician, Manager, Presenter, Educator, Mentor.  For serving music and orchestras with vision, passion, integrity, and courage

2003
Michael Tilson Thomas, Consummate musical leader: setting new standards, crossing boundaries, embracing all listeners

Gordon Getty, Visionary patron of orchestras large and small and peerless philanthropic leader

2002
Paul R. Judy, (Symphony Orchestra Institute)

2001
Adolph Herseth, Principal trumpet, CSO (1948-2001; principal trumpet emeritus 2001-)

2000
Pierre Boulez, Composer, Conductor, Teacher, and Lifelong Pioneer for Orchestras and Their Music 

1999
Peter Pastreich, who brought intelligence, imagination, and intense dedication to the leadership of individual orchestras and to the community of orchestras throughout a brilliant career

1998
Ernest Fleischmann, musician, leader, impresario – whose vision inspires orchestras around the world 

1997
Catherine French, friend and advocate, whose distinguished leadership of the American Symphony Orchestra League strengthened orchestras everywhere

1996
Audrey Baird, First lady of volunteer ticket sales, whose unmatched skills and irresistible enthusiasm have multiplied audiences for orchestras everywhere

1995
Corporation for Public Broadcasting, for a generation of access to high quality concert broadcasts and cultural news that has fostered a climate of public support for America’s symphony orchestras

1994
Josef Gingold, Soloist, Orchestra Violinist, Concertmaster, Professor of Violin, who by his inspiration and example has enriched orchestras everywhere.

1993
New York Philharmonic, in celebration of its 150 years of artistic excellence, leadership and service

1992
Meet the Composer

1991
Robert Ward

1990
Carnegie Hall, for one hundred years of celebrating America’s orchestras and the music they play

1989
Ralph Black (posthumous) 

1988
Robert Shaw

1987
Isaac Stern, Musician, Humanitarian, and Guardian of the Arts

Betty Freeman, patron of new music, for distinguished service to America’s music

1986
Margaret Lee Crofts, Paul Fromm, and Francis Goelet, patrons of new music, for distinguished service to America’s music

1985
William Schuman, Composer, Educator, Leader, ever distinguished by his music and a life dedicated to his art

1984
Danny Newman, arts consultant, whose enthusiasm for subscription has helped orchestras bring their music to millions of listeners in the United States and Canada

Merrill Lynch, securities and investment banking firm, for making a sound investment in American symphony orchestras

1983
Morton Gould, Composer, conductor, and friend whose music enriches the lives of millions and helps build our American musical heritage

1982
The Honorable Sidney R. Yates, U.S. Congressman from Illinois, whose dedicated leadership in Congress has helped build and preserve the Federal government’s commitment to the arts

1981
Maurice Abravanel, Music Director Laureate of the Utah Symphony, orchestra builder, orchestra advocate – for a lifetime of singular devotion to the advancement of all orchestras

1980
Beverly Sills, for her cultivation and captivation of new audiences for the arts for over 30 years

The Minnesota Five Percent Club, for setting a standard of excellence among businesses in support of the arts

1979
Eugene Ormandy, Conductor Laureate of the Philadelphia Orchestra, for setting a standard of excellence for nearly half a century

The Bell System, for bringing fine concert performances to millions of Americans through the American Orchestras on Tour program

1978
Aaron Copland, Composer and conductor, a musician sensitive to the sounds of America

Exxon Corporation, for outstanding leadership and vision in support of the arts, especially the Exxon/Arts Endowment Conductors Program

1977
Avery Fisher, Friends of Music, Musicians, and Music lovers

Alcoa Foundation, for the distinguished television series “Previn and the Pittsburgh”

1976
Arthur Fiedler, Musician, Conductor, Friend, who has enriched all our lives as Ambassador of Music to America

1975
John S. Edwards, Manager of the Chicago Symphony, for 40 distinguished years of leadership to symphony orchestras.  A Patron of the Arts.  A Man for All Seasons

1974
Nancy Hanks and the National Council on the Arts, who have opened the doors to the Golden Age in music and the arts in America

1973
Danny Kaye, who waves a magic wand over the symphony orchestras of America and turns them into happier, healthier organizations

1972
Amyas Ames, a true citizen-soldier in the tradition of Cincinnatus, he has rallied the hopes of all musical organizations through the Partnership of the Arts

1971
Martha Baird Rockefeller, for a lifetime of generous support of the world of symphony orchestras which she underscored in her final bequests

1970
Helen M. Thompson, for leadership and guidance of the American Symphony Orchestra League from a small organization to the most representative professional group in the performing arts field in the United States

1969
The New York State Council on the Arts, for successfully encouraging local participation in the support of the arts and for increased state financial support of the arts

1968
Leopold Stokowski, for the imaginative leadership he has given to symphony orchestra development in America, and his initiation and direction of the American Symphony Orchestra’s program of study and career opportunities for young conductors and orchestra players

Mrs. Jouett Shouse, for her cultural leadership and gifts of lands and facilities for the establishment of the Filene Center and the Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts, America’s first National Park devoted to the performing arts

1967
American Telephone & Telegraph Company, in recognition of its exploration of the world of music through the televised Bell Telephone Hour documentaries

1966
The Ford Foundation, in recognition of its development of the Endowment Program for symphony orchestras

1965
American Federation of Musicians, in recognition of its development and sponsorship of the String Congress

1964
Dr. Richard Lert, Music Director, Pasadena Symphony, for his extensive work in training, teaching and coaching young musicians and conductors

Paul Mellon, A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trusts, Richard King Mellon Charitable Trust, Howard Heinz Endowment, for setting up an endowment for the Pittsburgh Symphony

1963
John D. Rockefeller, III, for his leadership in establishing Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Officers and Directors of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

1962
The Women’s Associations of Symphony Orchestras in the in the United States and Canada, for their extensive work in support of symphony orchestras

1961
Arthur Judson, former manager, New York Philharmonic, for his many years of pioneer work on behalf of arts organizations throughout the nation

1960
Charles Farnsley, former Mayor Louisville, for development of the Commissioning Project of the Louisville Orchestra

Association of Junior Leagues of America, for their extensive and valuable work on behalf of arts organizations throughout the United States and Canada

1959
Leonard Bernstein, conductor, New York Philharmonic, for his televised concerts for young people

1958
The Study Committee on Orchestra Legal Documents: Samuel Rosenbaum, Henry B. Cabot, Dudley T. Easby, Jr., Charles Garside, and Henry Allen Moe

1956
Mrs. Marjorie Merriweather Post, Vice President of the Washington National Symphony, for her unique series of youth concerts in Washington, D.C., “Music for Young America”

1952
John B. Ford, President of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, for his development of a unique program of corporate support for orchestras

1948
Ernest La Prade, for promotion of symphony orchestras through the NBC “Orchestras of the Nations” radio program