"It's rewarding, but also humbling, to be part of this quartet of recipients, the other three of whom are icons in the world of opera. The job of an impresario differs so much from that of composers, conductors, and singers. In my case it is the magnificent work of the Santa Fe Opera family -- staff, performers and technicians -- that is being recognized with me. I am indeed grateful to the National Endowment for the Arts for this honor."
Richard Gaddes has spent most of his professional life guiding and raising the profile of two important regional American companies, the Santa Fe Opera, from which he recently retired as general director, and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Born in Wallsend, England, in 1942 and now a permanent resident of the United States, Gaddes studied at London's Trinity College of Music. In the Sixties, he launched a program of lunchtime concerts by young musicians at Wigmore Hall, an initiative that is emblematic of his work since: in both Santa Fe and Saint Louis, he has championed young singers. In 1969, at the invitation of Santa Fe Opera founder John Crosby, he became the company's artistic administrator. He founded the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in 1976 and ran it until 1985, but remained a consultant to Santa Fe. He returned there fulltime in 1994, and later succeeded John Crosby as general director. He will retire this September.
Throughout his tenure at both companies, Gaddes made a reputation for programming much adventurous repertoire, both old and new, imaginative casting and productions, building audiences and spotting young stars before others did. A former vice president of OPERA America, he has served on many arts boards and is, at present, a member of the board of directors of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts. His list of honors includes the National Institute for Music Theatre Award and the Young Audiences' Cultural Achievement Award.
See expanded biography of Mr. Gaddes.
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