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American Music Center Honors 6 in the Field

April 25, 2001

The American Music Center has awarded Los Angeles Times music critic Mark Swed a 2001 Letter of Distinction. The award, one of five Letters of Distinction that the organization will present on May 7, honors "substantial contributions to advancing the field of contemporary American music in the United States and abroad."

Swed joined The Times in 1996 as chief music critic. Previously he was music critic for the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, and in 1994 received an ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for his coverage of music.

The New York-based American Music Center, founded by Aaron Copland and others in 1939, calls itself the nation's oldest service organization and information center for new music. In addition to Letters of Distinction, which have been won in the past by Philip Glass, Elliott Carter, Yo-Yo Ma and Ornette Coleman, among others, the American Music Center also confers a lifetime achievement award. This year that award goes to composer John Duffy, who founded the Meet the Composer program, which places composers in residencies across the country.

Other winners of the American Music Center's 2001 Letter of Distinction are composer Hale Smith, of Freeport, N.Y.; Teresa Sterne (in memoriam), who was director of Nonesuch Records from 1965 to 1979; Lyn Austin (in memoriam), founder and producing director of Music-Theatre Group in New York; and Cleveland composer Donald Erb.

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