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Kurt Weill Prize – 1995

Because the first award covered two years of publications and the field of nominees was impressive, the Kurt Weill Book Prize Committee decided to award two winners, each with a cash award of $1,500.00. They are:

Stephen Banfield, Sondheim’s Broadway Musicals (University of Michigan Press, 1993)

Armond Fields and L. Marc Fields, From the Bowery to Broadway: Lew Fields and the Roots of American Popular Theater (Oxford University Press, 1993).

The panel deemed them exemplary of two different, but equally valid, approaches to the study of musical theater. While Sondheim’s Broadway Musicals successfully addresses the composer’s creative process and provides the reader with in-depth analysis of the musical-poetic dimension of his modernist musicals, From the Bowery to Broadway paints a vivid portrait of Lew Fields and the milieu at the turn of the century, illuminating a new domain of American cultural, social and theatrical history.

Gunther Diehl, Der junge Kurt Weill und seine Oper Der Protagonist (Bärenreiter Verlag, 1994), and J. Bradford Robinson, “Jazz reception in the Weimar Republic: In search of a shimmy figure” (in Music and Performance during the Weimar Republic, ed. Bryan Gilliam) (Cambridge University Press, 1994) were also selected as finalists.

Biographies of the winners

Stephen Banfield was educated at Clare College, Cambridge, St. John’s College, Oxford, and Harvard University. From 1978 to 1992 he was lecturer in music, then senior lecturer, at Keele University, well-known for its Centre for American Music founded by Peter Dickinson. Since 1992 he has held the position of Elgar Professor of Music and Head of the School of Performance Studies, the University of Birmingham, where he is furthering the College’s traditions of integration between drama, dance and music and between theory and practice by the development of teaching, research, and performance of popular musical theatre. He is well known as an authority on British music of the late 19th and 20th centuries and the author of Sensibility and English Song (1985) and The Twentieth Century (The Blackwell History of Music in Britain, vol. VI) (1995, forthcoming), in addition to Sondheim’s Broadway Musicals (1993).

Armond Fields is an author, artist and business consultant. He has written two previous biographies. His oil paintings, drawing and prints have been exhibited in the United States and Europe. He has co-curated and written catalogues for various museum exhibitions. Fields has served as a consultant for national and international companies in the areas of market strategy and consumer behavior. Fields began researching his family’s involvement with early musical theater in New York. His fascination with Lew Fields’ career and with the history of popular theater led him to write From the Bowery to Broadway. Mr. Fields currently resides in Culver City, California.

Marc Fields is currently Producer/Director for State of the Arts, a weekly arts magazine produced by New Jersey Public Television, where one of his recent stories received an Emmy for “outstanding programming feature.” He is also a recipient of a development grant from the New York Council for the Humanities for his documentary film, The Bowery: A Social History. From 1990 to 1993, Marc was a full-time faculty member in the Graduate Film Program at New York University, where he taught screenwriting and production. He supervised the writing and production of over 250 student films, including several short films selected for Lincoln Center’s New Director Series and the Sundance Festival. Marc Fields graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University, with an independent major in the Visual Arts. He holds an MFA in Film Production from NYU, where one of his short films won a Mobil Award.

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