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Paul Lustig Dunkel
Helps Launch "Orchestra Tech";
Says Farewell to Orchestra He Co-Founded

Paul Lustig DunkelThe American Composers Orchestra (ACO) concert in Carnegie Hall on October 14 at 8 pm, the first orchestral concert of its twenty-fifth season, is also the first appearance of Paul Lustig Dunkel since he stepped down as Resident Conductor in July of 2000. Under Dunkel's baton, "Orchestra Tech" culminates its week of activities in Carnegie Hall with a performance exploring technology and the orchestra. The concert features updates of two pioneering works by leaders in the early development of electronic music: Edgard Varèse's Déserts; and Morton Subotnick's Before the Butterfly. Tod Machover's Sparkler, newly commissioned by ACO, will receive its world premiere, and Tristan Murail's Le Partage des Eaux receives its U.S. premiere.

Dunkel, along with conductor Dennis Russell Davies, and composers Francis Thorne and Nicolas Roussakis, founded the orchestra in 1978. At its founding, Dunkel selected the players for the orchestra and served as Orchestra Manager and Principal Flutist until he was appointed Resident Conductor in 1989. Until he stepped down in 2000, Mr. Dunkel has been instrumental in elevating the ensemble to its position as a leader in American music. Dunkel assembled an orchestra with breath-taking facility and sight-reading ability praised for its brilliance and precision, often called the best orchestra in town, while breaking new ground for the time by recommending a woman concertmaster (Jeanne Ingraham, who served until 2000) to Music Director Davies and appointing many women to the ensemble. In addition to conducting the ACO in performance on a regular basis, he was often called upon to direct complex programs on short notice for ailing or stranded conductors, earning critical kudos for his quick mastery of new scores. He was actively involved with Music Director Dennis Davies, Latin American Advisor Tania Léon, Francis Thorne and others in the program development and performance of ACO's acclaimed series, Sonidos de los Américas, which presented the rich and varied music of our hemisphere; and in the orchestra's Whitaker New Music Reading Program, which discovers and encourages young composers.

Paul Lustig DunkelDuring his tenure at ACO he had the honor to premiere or perform the works of some of the leading composers of our time with the most accomplished performers of our day, conducting hundreds of new works in the reading program and regular concert series. He shared the podium with Leonard Bernstein on ACO'S 10th anniversary concert, premiered African Portraits by and with Hannibal Peterson, Schnittke's Second Cello Concerto and had led performances with such distinguished soloists as Elmar Oliveira, Itzhak Perlman, Rolf Schulte, Ursula Oppens, Michael Boriskin, Benita Valente and Frederick Rzewski.

On one program in 1998 Dunkel appeared as conductor in three premieres and as flute soloist in Concerto for Flute, Strings and Percussion, a commission by his own Westchester Philharmonic orchestra in honor of his fifteenth season. The work won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for its composer, Melinda Wagner and was released by Bridge Records in 2000. His many recordings with ACO for CRI and New World Records have received wide critical acclaim, including the most recent, Ingram Marshall's Kingdom Come, which he also premiered. His recording with ACO of The Early Music of Elliott Carter was selected as one of the Top 10 recordings of the year by Time and Newsweek.

The October 14 concert will include a tribute to Dunkel. In reflecting upon his 25-year association with ACO, Dunkel said, "The four of us set out on a mission to promote new American music and we succeeded in changing the orchestral landscape. I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished. Half of my life has been devoted to building ACO. However, after 25 years, I want more time to pursue my personal vision for promoting American music. I particularly look forward to working with Copland House on new projects." He serves as Co-Director with pianist Michael Boriskin of Music from Copland House, a chamber music ensemble dedicated to the advocacy of American music based at the long-time home of Aaron Copland in Westchester, which is also home to the Westchester Philharmonic where he has served as Music Director and Conductor since its founding in 1983. Dunkel and the orchestra were the recipients of the 2000 Leonard Bernstein Award for Educational Programming from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and the American Symphony Orchestra League for excellence and innovation in music education. "Exploring New Worlds: Music of the Americas" and its ground-breaking program of student commissioning of a new work by a young composer (David Mallamud) was featured on "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" on PBS and recognized by the Westchester Arts Council with a 2001 Award. It celebrates its twentieth year next season with a new commission by Derek Bermel and a focus on Westchester composers and performers.

Paul Lustig Dunkel at the Whitkaker New Music Reading SessionsThe son of a Viennese pianist, Johanna Lustig, and a Russian and scenic designer, Eugene Dunkel, Paul Dunkel grew up in New York City, attending the High School of Music and Art, and has been a part of the American contemporary music scene since his student days. His first flute teacher, Robert DiDomenica, also a composer, introduced him to contemporary composers early; by age twelve he was playing works by Milton Babbitt. He later studied with William Kincaid, Samuel Baron and Jean Pierre Rampal. In 1966 Leopold Stokowski named him Principal Flutist of the American Symphony Orchestra, a post he held with the Brooklyn Philharmonic and several other orchestras. A founding member of Speculum Musicae and a long-time member of the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, he has performed at Aspen, Casals, Lucerne, Spoleto, Stratford (Canada) and Estival (Paris) music festivals, as well as Marlboro and on tour with Music from Marlboro and others, and continues to perform as a chamber musicians and soloist. He has commissioned and/or premiered many new works for flute including the first commission of Francis Thorne. In the early seventies he launched a series called "Paul Dunkel and Friends" in which he commissioned works for programs that included standards of the repertoire. Of that series, Donal Henahan, writing in The New York Times, observed, "While the ultimate effect on the repertory can only be guessed at the moment, no guessing is necessary about Mr. Dunkel's stature as a musician or an instrumentalist. Playing of his deft and stylistically impeccable kind is rare, whether the music is new or old."

His interest in contemporary music led him to conducting. Mr. Dunkel began his conducting career as a fellow with the National Orchestral Association under Leon Barzin, and continued his studies with Erich Leinsdorf and Kresimir Sipusch at the Aspen Music Festival, and is the 1981 recipient of the American Symphony Orchestra's Leopold Stokowski Conducting Award. Since the inception of his career, Mr. Dunkel has been active in all aspects of classical music. The depth and range of his talents and experience have taken him around the world. He has been Music Director of the Denver Chamber Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Vermont Mozart Festival, and has appeared as guest conductor with the Denver, Baltimore, Buffalo, New Jersey, Oakland, Syracuse, Richmond, and American Symphonies, Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Orchestra of St.Luke's, and at the Kremlin and in Taiwan. He conducted the Washington Opera premiere of The Postman Always Rings Twice by Stephen Paulus and, at the invitation of Virgil Thomson, a New York City revival of his Four Saints in Three Acts. He has been involved extensively in the dance world, appearing with many companies here and abroad and, at the request of George Balanchine, with the New York City Ballet Orchestra.

Asked to reflect upon his experience in contemporary music, Dunkel said, "Imagine what it would be like to work with Mozart or Beethoven. Working with composers has been a privilege and an honor. I was born mid-century and got into music early, so I have worked with several generations of composers, starting with the leading American composers of the 20th century - Stravinsky, Copland, Bernstein, Gould, Thomson and William Schuman, as well as Carter, Foss, Perle, Glass, Zwillich, Picker, Wagner, Tower and many others who have carried their work into the 21st. When you get a well-done from any of these figures, it really means something. But the biggest thrill for me is discovering new talent and helping a new voice find an audience. The most encouraging development in music is seeing women and men from every group and every part of the country seeking and finding a place in classical music. I plan to continue to do my part to present the music of our time."


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