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Musical America names IU Jacobs School of Music alumnus instrumentalist of the year


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Concert pianist Jeremy Denk, an Indiana University Jacobs School of Music alumnus who also served on the school's faculty, has been named 2014 instrumentalist of the year by Musical America.

Founded in 1898 as a weekly newspaper covering drama, music and the arts, Musical America now publishes an online magazine and an annual musical directory. It is the leading source of information for international performing arts professionals.

The publication called Denk a "man of many talents -- the epitome of the well-rounded musician for the 21st century," referring to his musical talent; his 2013 MacArthur Fellowship; his widely read blog, Think Denk; and the fact that he's writing his first opera libretto with composer Steven Stucky, which will premiere at the 2014 Ojai Festival, where Denk will also serve as music director.

Other Musical America award winners include soprano and actress Audra McDonald, who was named musician of the year; British composer George Benjamin, composer of the year; Spanish conductor Pablo Heras-Casado, conductor of the year; and the International Contemporary Ensemble, ensemble of the year.

The awards, which Musical America has given since 1960, will be presented at a ceremony at Lincoln Center on Dec. 17.

Denk received a master's degree in music from the Jacobs School of Music in 1993. He was appointed as visiting assistant professor at the Jacobs School in August 1996 and then served as an assistant professor from August 1997 through May 2003.

He has appeared as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and London. He has toured frequently with fellow Jacobs School of Music alumnus and faculty member, violinist Joshua Bell. Their album "French Impressions" won the 2012 Echo Klassik Award.

Bell was named Musical America's 2010 instrumentalist of the year.