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Billy Childs Named President of Chamber Music America

Jazzed Magazine • News • June 30, 2016

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BillyChildsChamber Music America (CMA) today announced the appointment of pianist and composer Billy Childs as president of its board of directors, effective July 1. Childs is the organization’s ninth board president, and the first jazz musician elected to the position. The CMA board of directors unanimously approved his first three-year term at its June 6th meeting.

Childs’s large and varied body of work defies easy categorization. Though principally a jazz artist, he holds a degree in classical composition and has composed extensively for classical chamber ensembles and orchestras. His widely acclaimed Jazz-Chamber Ensemble—for which he received a commissioning grant from CMA in 2006—influentially merged contemporary jazz idioms with the instrumentation and orchestration of a traditional chamber ensemble.

As a pianist, Childs has performed with Yo-Yo Ma, Renee Fleming, Chick Corea, the Kronos Quartet, Wynton Marsalis, Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland, and Ron Carter, among many others. His commissions include works for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Kronos Quartet, Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, American Brass Quintet, Ying Quartet, and Dorian Wind Quintet.

 Over his career, Childs has received numerous accolades, including four Grammy Awards (and a total of 13 nominations), a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, and an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award.

“We’re so pleased to welcome Billy to this important leadership role at CMA,” said CEO Margaret M. Lioi. “His vision for the chamber music field reflects the breadth of his own creative work as well as his experience and awareness of the challenges that face touring artists and ensembles. He epitomizes the vitality and innovation that characterize the art form, and his commitment to CMA and its work will help us to lead as well as to serve the field.”

Childs succeeds outgoing board president Andrew S. Appel, who began his term in 2010, and has served on CMA’s board in various capacities over the course of the last 16 years. Appel is a harpsichordist, fortepianist, and artistic director of The Four Nations Ensemble.

Also joining CMA’s Board of Directors on July 1 are: Aloysia Friedmann, violinist/violist and artistic director of the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival; violinist and composer Jessie Montgomery; pianist and composer Michele Rosewoman; Kathie Lynne Stewart, principal flutist of Apollo’s Fire; Ruth Waalkes, executive director of Virginia Tech’s Moss Arts Center; and John Zion, managing director of Melvin Kaplan, Inc.

Read an interview with Billy Childs from Chamber Music magazine here.

Read profiles of CMA’s other incoming board members here.

Chamber Music America, the national network for ensemble music professionals, was founded in 1977 to develop, support, and strengthen the chamber music field. With a membership of nearly 6,000, including musicians, ensembles, presenters, artist managers, educators, music businesses, and advocates of ensemble music, CMA welcomes members representing a wide range of musical styles and traditions. CMA provides its members with grant programs, consulting services, a national conference, professional development seminars, access to instrument and other insurances, and several publications, including Chamber Music magazine; the weekly Accent e-newsletter; and a member-driven website,

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