Premieres to be Presented
American Composers Orchestra announces the winners of its seventeenth annual Underwood New Music Readings, one of this country's most coveted opportunities for emerging composers. The Readings will be held Tuesday, May 6th and Wednesday, May 7th from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at New York University's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. Six of the nation's most promising composers in the early stages of their professional careers have been selected from over one hundred fifty submissions received from around the country. This year's winners are Ruby Fulton, Takuma Itoh, Andrew McKenna Lee, Leanna Primiani, Conrad Winslow, and Roger Zare.
The Readings are under the direction of ACO Artistic Director Robert Beaser. Guest conductors are Brad Lubman and Anne Manson; mentor composers are Derek Bermel, Chen Yi, Christopher Rouse and Christopher Theofanidis. The conductors, mentor composers, and principal players from ACO serve as liaisons and provide critical feedback to each of the participants during and after the reading sessions. Following the Readings, one of the young composers will receive a $15,000 commission to write a new work to be performed by ACO.
Last year's winner, Clint Needham, won the top prize with his work Earth and Green. He will hear the premiere of his commissioned work in November 2008, performed by ACO's Orchestra Underground at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall. The 2006 winner, Fang Man, will hear her Underwood-commissioned work, Resurrection, premiered by Orchestra Underground at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall in February 2009.
Since 1991, the
New Music Readings have provided invaluable career-development
opportunities for emerging composers, and served as a vital resource
to the music field, by identifying a new generation of American
composers. To date, more than 100 composers have participated in the
Readings, including such award-winning composers as Melinda Wagner,
Pierre Jalbert, Augusta Read Thomas, Randall Woolf, Jennifer Higdon,
Daniel Bernard Roumain, and ACO's Music Alive Composer in
Residence, Derek Bermel. Since participating in ACO's readings, these
composers have held important residencies and had scores of works
commissioned, premiered, and performed by many of the country's
prominent symphony orchestras.
Composers Selected & Works to be Performed
Ruby Fulton was born in 1981 and grew up in Northwest Iowa. She studied at Boston University and the San Francisco Conservatory before moving to Baltimore, where she is currently working towards a doctorate at the Peabody Conservatory. Along with composer George Lam, she is co-artistic director of Rhymes With Opera, a new opera company committed to bringing new works of opera and music-theater out of the opera house and into unconventional spaces. Her music has been performed recently at the 2007 Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA and the 2007 ADevantgarde Festival in Munich. She has collaborated with the Peabody Opera Department, the West End String Quartet, and soprano Bonnie Lander. Upcoming projects include pieces for SONAR New Music Ensemble, marimba player Michael Compitello, and the Bay Area bass clarinet duo, Sqwonk. Also a performer and teacher, she plays viola in the Baltimore band The Greatest City in America and teaches music theory for Peabody Preparatory. She has studied with composers Julia Wolfe, Christopher Theofanidis, Moritz Eggert, Elinor Armer, Dan Becker, Charles Fussell, Tison Street, and Martin Amlin.
Takuma Itoh, born in 1984, spent his early childhood in Japan before moving to Northern California, where he grew up. Currently finishing his Master's degree at the University of Michigan, he has studied with Bright Sheng and William Bolcom, and he has been called a "very promising, extremely talented" composer. He received a B.M at Rice University where he studied with Shih-Hui Chen, Anthony Brandt, Pierre Jalbert, and Karim Al-Zand. His music has been performed by the New York Youth Symphony and the Shanghai Quartet at Carnegie Hall, Haddonfield Symphony, University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, and Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, among others. He has received two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards (2004, 2007), won the Haddonfield Young Composer Competition, been awarded the New York Youth Symphony First Music Commission, the Pioneer Valley Symphony Young Composers Competition, and the Russell Horn Voice of Change Young Composer Award. He has also been a fellow at Pacific Music Festival and Aspen Music Festival and an associate artist at Atlantic Center for the Arts. He has had the opportunity to work with composers Detlev Glanert, Christopher Rouse, Marc André-Dalbavie, Sydney Hodkinson, and Stephen Jaffe. He enjoys playing jazz piano and currently studies with Geri Allen.
A native of Charleston, SC, and born in 1974, Andrew McKenna Lee began his musical studies on the guitar at age twelve and pursued composition in his late teens. His music has been performed by such ensembles as the Brentano String Quartet, ensemble ereprijs, the New Jersey Symphony, Kroumata, and eighth blackbird. His works have also been presented at many festivals, including the International Music Festival of Toroella de Montgrí, Spain; International Gaudeamus Week of the Netherlands; the Stockholm Arts and Sciences Festival; the Aspen Music Festival, and Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. He has performed in venues such as New York's Symphony Space, Princeton University's Richardson Auditorium, the Royal University College of Music in Stockholm, and in conjunction with the Aspen Music Festival. In 2007, he performed his own works at BAM Café, The Annenberg Center in Philadelphia, and Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall as part of the ACO's Composers Out Front! program. An upcoming CD release on New Amsterdam Records will feature Lee's own performances of solo and chamber works for nylon-string guitar.
Composer-conductor Leanna Primiani is a native of California, born in 1976. She has just completed a DMA in composition at USC and has studied with such noted musicians as Leonard Slatkin, Peter Eötvös, and Steven Stucky. Upcoming performances of her works include Sirens for Orchestra, to be premiered by Leonard Slatkin and the Nashville Symphony in February 2009, In Memoriam for cello and piano, to be premiered by Nathaniel Rosen and Mary Au in 2009, and scenes from her opera Truman, to be staged by the Virginia Arts Festival in May 2008. Other recent performances include Chaconne for Orchestra by the USC Thornton Symphony, sound installations for Pure: A Multi & Mixed Media Exhibition in Brighton, MA, Parada at the Herrenhaus Edenkoben (Germany) and recorded for the SWR (German radio), Variations for solo piano at the June In Buffalo New Music Festival, Parada at the Aspen Music Festival, and Searching for M for Large Orchestra at the Cabrillo Music Festival. Ms. Primiani has served as associate conductor under Maestro James Conlon at the Los Angeles Opera's performance of Judas Maccabeus, conductor for Los Angeles Opera's Demonstration Tour of Figaro's American Adventure, conductor of the California Opera Association, and music director for the Central California Ballet. She has conducted the National Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Aventure Freiburg (Germany), Fort Worth Symphony, Dallas Opera Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, Fresno Philharmonic, among many others.
Born in 1985 and raised in Homer, AK, Conrad Winslow is a composer whose music has been characterized as fun, clever, and quirky. He began composing and playing piano at age 6, performing several solo recitals in his youth. He holds an Honors A.B. degree in music from Rollins College, where he studied composition with Daniel Crozier. He composed the annual commencement music for the college and wrote music for theater, including a production of Henry V and a staged reading of letters between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Fitzgerald. In addition, he studied piano performance with Dr. Gloria Cook, participated in master classes with André Watts and Dr. Gary Wolf. Winslow has co-authored a music theory and piano instruction book with Gloria Cook entitled Keyboard Theory, currently used in introductory theory courses at Rollins. His honors thesis explored listening modes for concert music and included several original compositions. Winslow has also composed music for student films and The Last Romantic (2006), which went to several film festivals, including SXSW and the Independent Film Festival Boston. Conrad is currently pursuing an M.M. degree in composition and film scoring at NYU, where he is a student of Justin Dello Joio.
Roger Zare was born in Sarasota, FL in 1985. He began playing piano at age 5 and violin at age 11; he started composing at age 14. He completed a Bachelor of Music degree in [lower case c]composition at USC and is pursuing his Master of Music at the Peabody Conservatory. In 2003, Roger won the National Federation of Music Clubs Composition Competition with his Frolic for violin and piano. In 2007, he received a BMI student composer award for his orchestral work, Green Flash. In early 2005, the New York Youth Symphony commissioned Zare to write an orchestral piece for them as part of their First Music competition. The 65th composer to win this commission, he wrote an orchestral composition entitled The Other Rainbow, which was premiered in Carnegie Hall in February 2006. During that same month, the Florida West Coast Symphony performed his orchestral composition Fog in concerts in Sarasota and North Port. In addition, Roger has had his compositions performed by the Pine View Chamber Orchestra and Chorus, by ensembles at the Sarasota Music Festival, by the Santa Monica Symphony Wind Quintet, by the USC Thornton Symphony and Concert Orchestra, and by the Starving Composers' Ensemble at USC. During his years at USC's Thornton School of Music, Zare has studied with Donald Crockett, Tamar Diesendruck, Frederick Lesemann, and Morten Lauridsen. At Peabody, he is currently studying with Chris Theofanidis.
American conductor and composer Brad Lubman enjoys a multi-faceted
career. Having been Assistant Conductor to Oliver Knussen at the
Tanglewood Music Center from 1989-94, he has since emerged as an
unusually versatile conductor of orchestras and ensembles all over
the world. His has worked with a great variety of illustrious musical
figures including John Adams, Pierre Boulez, Luciano Berio, Elliott
Carter, Steve Reich, Elvis Costello, Michael Tilson Thomas, Charles
Wuorinen, DJ Spooky, and John Zorn.
Anne Manson has achieved a series of historic milestones. She was
the first woman to conduct at the Salzburg Festival, where she led
the Vienna Philharmonic and a cast that included Samuel Ramey and
Philip Langridge in a production of Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov,
which met with great critical acclaim. Ms. Manson is one of only
three women to have been appointed music director of a leading
American symphony orchestra (the Kansas City Symphony), which she
directed from 1999 to 2003. She launched her career in 1988 as Music
Director of the London-based Mecklenburgh Opera, where, over a span
of eight years, she programmed operas ranging from Mozart to
20th-century rarities, while commissioning world premieres from
Reservations and Info
The Underwood New Music Reading Sessions are presented by New York University's Skirball Center for the Performing arts, and take place on Tuesday, May 6 and Wednesday, May 7, 2008 from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM. The Skirball Center is located at 566 LaGuardia Place (Washington Square South) in Manhattan. The Readings are open to the public at no charge; no ticket is required. For further information, please call (212) 977-8495, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lead support for the Underwood New Music Readings comes from Mr. Paul Underwood, with additional support from The Helen F. Whitaker Fund, Fromm Music Foundation, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and Aaron Copland Fund for Music. ACO's emerging composers program is supported by The Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, The Greenwall Foundation, Jerome Foundation and with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Major support of American Composers Orchestra is provided by ACOs Inner Circle, Amphion Foundation, Argosy Contemporary Music Fund, Arlington Associates, ASCAP, ASCAP Foundation, Bay and Paul Foundations, BMI, BMI Foundation, NY City Council Member Gale A. Brewer, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Citigroup Foundation, Edward T. Cone Foundation, Consolidated Edison, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, The Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, EMCArts, Fidelity Foundation, Fromm Music Foundation, GAP Foundation, Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Greenwall Foundation, The Irving Harris Foundation, The Henfield Foundation, Victor Herbert Foundation, Jephson Educational Trust, Jerome Foundation, The J.M. Kaplan Fund, John and Evelyn Kossak Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Neil Family Fund, The New York Community Trust, The Rodgers Family Foundation, Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, The Susan and Ford Schumann Foundation, Virgil Thomson Foundation, Paul Underwood, The Sonata and Watchdog Charitable Trusts, The Isak and Rose Weinman Foundation and The Helen F. Whitaker Fund.
ACO programs are also made possible with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
Derek Bermel is the Music Alive Composer-in-Residence with American Composers Orchestra. Music Alive is a national program of the American Symphony Orchestra League and Meet The Composer.