Vimbayi Kaziboni Wins Prestigious Ditson Conductor’s Award

The Boston Conservatory faculty member joins a group of legendary conductors who have received the esteemed honor.

January 31, 2024

Columbia University has announced that Boston Conservatory at Berklee faculty member Vimbayi Kaziboni has won the 2024 Alice M. Ditson Fund Conductor’s Award, a prestigious honor recognizing conductors who have a distinguished record of performing and championing contemporary American music.

The Zimbabwean-born conductor becomes the 79th recipient of what is the oldest continuing award of its kind, joining an impressive list of past winners that includes Leonard Bernstein,  Leopold Stokowski, Michael Tilson Thomas, Gunther Schuller, Marin Alsop, Alan Gilbert, and many more. Upon selection, Kaziboni received $5,000 and a citation from Columbia’s president Minouche Shafik.

“This comes as a delightful surprise. I am honored and thankful for this recognition of my work, and above all, ever-grateful to those who have helped get me here,” said Kaziboni. “Indeed, I am truly humbled to be on a list of honorees that includes many of my personal artistic heroes: James de Priest, Leonard Bernstein, Marin Alsop, and Michael Tilson Thomas among others. I am deeply moved with so much gratitude.”

Noted by critics as one of the foremost interpreters of modern classical music, Kaziboni has led performances at some of the most renowned venues in the world such as Carnegie Hall, Berlin Philharmonie, Philharmonie de Paris, and Lincoln Center. His résumé includes recent collaborations with many leading orchestras such as Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Intercontemporain and Ensemble Modern, as well as with prominent composers Helmut Lachenmann, Georg Friedrich Haas, Steve Reich, Augusta Read Thomas, Rebecca Saunders, Felipe Lara, Liza Lim, and Jacob TV.

“The Conservatory is delighted for Vimbayi Kaziboni who has earned his rightful place alongside the many legendary Ditson Award winners,” said Michael Shinn, interim executive director of the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. “There aren’t enough superlatives to describe Vimbayi and his immense talent, but his ability to connect with students, to inspire them to take risks and push the boundaries of their creativity, is just as rare a gift. We congratulate Vimbayi on this incredible achievement and we thank him for the positive impact he continues to have on our community.”

Kaziboni joined the Conservatory in 2018 as an assistant professor of orchestral studies and contemporary music, and was recognized as Teacher of the Year in 2019. He conducts multiple student ensembles at the Conservatory, engaging closely with the classical music world’s next generation of aspiring conductors and classical musicians. He is also an artistic advisor of the Boston Lyric Opera, music director of the Composers Conference, artist-in-residence with the International Contemporary Ensemble, and conductor-in-residence of Klangforum Wien.

A former Fulbright fellow (2013–2014), Kaziboni holds degrees from the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles and the University of Music and Performing Arts Frankfurt (HfMDK) in Germany.