Paula Peace Receives Arts and Humanities Award
By Robin Loving
Local pianist, advocate, and innovator Paula Peace received the 2016 Governor’s Award for Arts and Humanities recently in Atlanta, Georgia, for her contributions to civic and cultural vitality. Peace was lauded alongside other arts and cultural leaders in the state for her decades of work founding and sustaining the Atlanta Chamber Players (ACP) since its inception in 1976. She currently holds the title artistic director emeritus.
During her tenure at ACP, Peace produced concerts and performed in more than 250 cities; produced, edited, and performed on six recordings and CDs; and designed and performed in hundreds of concert programs, educational lectures, and master classes through the South.
In particular, her work founding and leading the Rapido! 14-Day Composition Contest was highlighted as something that brought national attention to Georgia. Under her direction, the Rapido! contest grew from a regional competition to one that encompasses all 50 of the United States and includes five chamber ensemble organizations in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Detroit, and San Francisco.
“Because of Paula’s pioneering artistic leadership of almost 40 years, Georgia can celebrate its first nationally recognized chamber music ensemble,” said ACP Vice President Jim Throckmorton. His remarks were followed by a musical tribute to Peace.
“Paula Peace is truly the Grand Dame of chamber music in Atlanta,” said new ACP Artistic Director Elizabeth Pridgen.
Peace served as visiting assistant professor of piano and coordinator of chamber music at Georgia State University and was an artist in residence at Kennesaw State University. As soloist, she appeared with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, DeKalb Symphony, and the Lanier Symphony. “Paula is undoubtedly a pioneer of professional chamber music in Atlanta with her leadership, artistry, and determination,” said Rachel Ciprotti, ACP executive director.
Peace’s piano mastery is most frequently heard in San Miguel at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, which meets Sundays at 10:30 at Hotel Aldea, Ancha de San Antonio 15. Her ACP played at the SMA Chamber Music Festival in 2012. She retired here last year, but her legacy continues in Georgia.
“I am truly honored by this Governor’s Award, particularly as it shines a light on my life’s work—the Atlanta Chamber Players,” said Peace. “How fortunate I am that the state of Georgia recognizes the importance of the poetic power and intimacy of chamber music. It has certainly been a great blessing to me to spend four decades performing the glorious repertoire and experiencing the music’s power to speak to other’s hearts.”