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Tuckwell awarded Peabody Medal

May 16, 1997

By GUY FLETCHER

Staff Writer

The long list of honors for Barry Tuckwell is growing, as the Maryland Symphony Orchestra maestro and French horn virtuoso has been named to receive the prestigious George Peabody Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Music in America.

Tuckwell, a Hagerstown resident, will receive the award next Thursday during graduation ceremonies at the renowned Peabody Institute music conservatory in Baltimore.

"I'm very excited, indeed. All these things seem to be coming my way at the moment," said Tuckwell, 66.

Tuckwell retired from playing the horn this year, ending a career that spanned six decades - from performing as a teenager in his native Australia to his farewell performances with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in January. In between he played all over the world, was recorded on numerous albums and was considered by many to the greatest living French horn player.

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Tuckwell has received numerous honors in connection with his performing farewell, including a letter of congratulations from President Bill Clinton and recognition by the Maryland General Assembly.

The Peabody award was instituted in 1980 to honor individuals who have made exceptional contributions to American music. Past honorees include Leonard Bernstein, Marian Anderson, Ella Fitzgerald and Benny Goodman.

The award is the highest honor bestowed by the Peabody, said institute spokeswoman Anne Garside.

"We usually give only one or two a year," she said.

Tuckwell's award notes his many musical contributions, including his 15-year tenure leading the Hagerstown-based MSO. "French hornist, conductor, and teacher, you have given music a most civilized, noble, and profound expression to the delight of audiences around the world," part of the citation reads.

In addition to receiving the award, Tuckwell also will be delivering the school's commencement address.

"Altogether, I feel really deeply moved," he said.

Tuckwell is still the conductor and music director of the MSO, but already has announced his resignation, which will take effect at the end of the orchestra's 1997-98 season. He also serves as guest conductor for symphonies throughout the world.

"I haven't retired. I've just stopped playing the horn," he said.

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