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13th Annual

Whitaker New Music Readings

Thursday, May 20, 2004 10:00 am - 3:30 pm
Friday May 21, 2004 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Miller Theatre at Columbia University, 116th Street and Broadway

Robert Beaser, artistic director
Jeffrey Milarsky & Carl St. Clair, conductors
Stephen Hartke and Michael Daugherty, mentor composers

ANTHONY CHEUNG: 1st Movement, from Symphony No. 1
RALF GAWLICK: …De La Mas Sabrosa Y Agradable Vida…
THOMAS OSBORNE: The Burning Music

Admission is free.
Reservations suggested. Call (212) 977-8495 x260
or make a online reservation for the Readings.

American Composers Orchestra Selects Top Emerging Composers for 13th Annual Whitaker New Music Readings

Eight premieres to be presented on May 20 and 21, 2004 in NYC

American Composers Orchestra announces the winners of what has become one of this country’s most coveted opportunities for emerging composers, its thirteenth annual Whitaker New Music Readings. The Readings will run Thursday, May 20th, from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm, and Friday, May 21st from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at Miller Theatre at Columbia University. Thursday’s session concludes with a panel discussion, beginning at 2pm, focusing on emerging composers’ access to the American orchestral field. The Readings provide an invaluable opportunity for up-and-coming composers to experience a full orchestral rendering of their work, receive the reactions of other composers and performers. The Readings are made possible by leadership grants from The Helen F. Whitaker Fund, The Jerome Foundation, and Mr. Paul Underwood, and are open to the public free of charge.

Eight of the nation’s most promising composers in the early stages of their professional careers have been selected out hundreds of submissions received from around the country. This year’s winners are Daniel Bradshaw, Anthony Cheung, Ralf Gawlick, Kristin Kuster, Jonathan Newman, Thomas Osborne, Robert Paterson, and Christopher Trapani.

One of these composers will receive a $15,000 commission to write a new work to be performed by ACO at Carnegie Hall. Last year’s winner, Manly Romero won the top prize with his work, Merengue. Mr. Romero’s work, predominantly concerned with spirituality, self-knowledge, and with his paternal roots in Mexico and Spain, impressed ACO’s judges as “lively, rhythmic, and punchy,” with a “personal voice” that is “quirky and decidedly effective.” In February 2004, ACO gave the world premiere of Lisa Bielawa’s Whitaker-commissioned The Right Weather as part of the debut of Orchestra Underground, ACO’s adventurous new series at Zankel Hall. Ms. Bielawa won the top prize at ACO's 2002 Whitaker New Music Readings with the first movement of that work, Roam, which was called “gripping, evocative...highly effective.”

To date, the Whitaker New Music Readings have offered a vital resource to the industry by providing essential career development opportunities to more than 50 composers, including such award-winning composers as Melinda Wagner, Derek Bermel, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Sebastian Currier, Pierre Jalbert, Randall Woolf, Jennifer Higdon, and Augusta Read Thomas. 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. ACO has placed particular emphasis on its role in helping to launch composers careers, including many of today’s top composers, such as Ellen Taaffe Zwilich and Joseph Schwantner, both of whom received Pulitzer Prizes for ACO commissions; and Robert Beaser, Ingram Marshall, Joan Tower, Aaron Jay Kernis, Christopher Rouse, and Tobias Picker, whom the orchestra championed when they were beginning their careers.

The reading sessions are under the direction of ACO Artistic Director Robert Beaser, and conductors Jeffrey Milarsky and Carl St. Clair. Mentor composers for this year’s reading sessions are Stephen Hartke and Michael Daugherty. The conductors, mentor composers and principal players from ACO who serve as liaisons, provide critical feedback to the each of the participants during and after the reading sessions.

Composer-Participants & Works to be Performed

Daniel Bradshaw: Jubilus
Daniel Bradshaw currently pursues a doctoral degree in Music Composition at Indiana University where he has studied with Claude Baker, Sven-David Sandström and David Dzubay. He won the 2003 Dean’s Prize for Orchestral Composition and the 2002 Contemporary Vocal Ensemble Choral Competition at Indiana U. He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1999 with a Bachelors degree in Music composition, where his teachers were Murray Boren, Steve Jones and David Sargent. Mr. Bradshaw’s most recent inspiration comes from his daughter, Jane (3½ years), whose uncontainable energy and experiments at the piano provided the impetus and much of the musical material for his recent orchestra piece, Jubilus. His work has been described as “simply beautiful,” “stunning,” and “flashy, with enough risky stuff to give it some heft.”

Anthony Cheung: 1st Movement from Symphony No. 1
Anthony Cheung, a native of San Francisco, is a senior at Harvard University, where he studies composition with Bernard Rands and piano with Robert Levin. Last summer he studied at the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, and in July he will attend the Centre Acanthes festival, where he will work with Jonathan Harvey, Philippe Manoury, and the Ensemble InterContemporain. His orchestral works have been performed by the Haddonfield Symphony, Marin Symphony, New York Youth Symphony, and San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. Last year he received a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Morton Gould award from ASCAP. He continues his studies at Columbia University in the fall.

Ralf Gawlick: …De La Mas Sabrosa Y Agradable Vida…
Ralf Gawlick studied composition at the University of California in Santa Barbara, University of Texas at Austin, and the New England Conservatory of Music, where he earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree. Principal teachers include Carolyn Bremer, Dan Welcher, and Malcom Peyton. He has received grants and awards from the American Music Center and ASCAP among others. Mr. Gawlick’s music has been performed by the Slovak State Philharmonic, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Civic Symphony Orchestra of Boston, New England Conservatory Classical Orchestra, Music at the Anthology, and Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra, among others. Recently, Mr. Gawlick’s At the still point of the turning world for cello was chosen to represent the U.S. at the 2005 ISCM World Music Days in Zagreb. His work “captures the listener’s ear and imagination… melodic, romantic, grand, and exuberant.”

Kristin Kuster: The Narrows
Composer Kristin Kuster collaborates with instrumentalists, vocalists, poets, and visual artists. Her current pieces are influenced by the architectural relationships between public and private spaces. She recently completed Rorate caeli for mixed chorus, The Narrows for orchestra, and Ando: light against shade for chamber ensemble. She is the composer-in-residence for the 12-voice Vox Early Music Ensemble, and has recently received commissions from Quorum and the Colby College Chorale. Dr. Kuster is a recipient of a 2004 Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is currently an Adjunct Lecturer of Composition, Theory, and Performing Arts Technology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Ms. Kuster has been praised as a “wonderfully ambitious” composer “reaching deep for meaning and expressive breadth.”

Jonathan Newman: Hip + Now
Jonathan Newman’s recent performances his first string quartet, Wapwallopen, premiered in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and written on commission from the New York Youth Symphony, and Ohanashi for chamber orchestra, written for the New Juilliard Ensemble and premiered in Alice Tully Hall. His works for winds have been performed and recorded by the UNLV Wind Orchestra, the UNC Greensboro Wind Ensemble, Rutgers Wind Ensemble, AND the Tokyo Symphonic Band. His dance compositions have enjoyed multiple performances at The Juilliard Theater, Alice Tully Hall, and P.S. 122 in NY. In 2003 he won the biannual NBA/Merrill Jones Composition Award for Moon by Night, and in 2001 he received the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Newman holds degrees from The Juilliard School and Boston University's School for the Arts. His principal teachers have been John Corigliano, Richard Cornell, David Del Tredici, and George Tsontakis. Mr. Newman has been described as “an outstanding composer… with a quirky and intellectually provocative bent.”

Thomas Osborne: The Burning Music
Thomas Osborne received a BM degree in composition from Indiana University and an MM degree in composition from Rice University. He is currently pursuing a DMA degree in composition at the University of Southern California. His primary composition teachers have been Don Freund, Claude Baker, Edward Applebaum, Stephen Hartke, and Donald Crockett. Osborne’s music has been performed by the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, the USC Thornton Symphony Orchestra and Contemporary Music Ensemble, and Rice University’s Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra, and featured at the American Composer Alliance’s Festival of American Music, the Music03 festival, the Chamber Music Festival of the East, and the Imagine Festival. His music has received awards from BMI and the Indiana Music Teacher’s Association. He has recently received commissions from Singapore’s T’ang Quartet and the New York Youth Symphony. The Burning Music has been selected for its “brilliantly colored score… showing exemplary skill and artistry.”

Robert Paterson: Electric Lines for Orchestra
Robert Paterson’s music has been performed by the New York New Music Ensemble, The Chicago Ensemble, Ensemble Aleph (Paris), the Intergalactic Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and at the June in Buffalo New Music Festival. His awards include two ASCAP Morton Gould Awards, the Minnesota Orchestra Reading Session, the Brian M. Israel Prize, the Tampa Bay Composers’ Forum First Prize and the 2001 Minnesota Music Teachers Association’s Composer of the Year. He has received additional grants and awards from Meet the Composer, ASCAP, the American Music Center and the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts. In 2003 he was a fellow at the MacDowell Colony and has also been a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and an associate composer at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Paterson studied at Indiana University and the Eastman School of Music before earning a DMA degree from Cornell University. Mr. Paterson has been called “a highly gifted composer,” who is “one of the major contenders in American music.”

Christopher Trapani: North
Christopher Trapani was born in New Orleans in 1980. He holds a Bachelors degree in Music and English and American Literature and Language from Harvard College, where he studied composition with Bernard Rands. In 2002 he traveled to London to pursue a Masters of Music degree at the Royal College of Music with Julian Anderson. Christopher’s recent works include Songs from the Plays, a cycle for singers and chamber orchestra on poems by Kenneth Koch; and The Sea is Awash with Roses for men’s choir, a staple in the Harvard Glee Club performing repertoire. His recent Sunflower Suite for sextet, was written in response to an invitation from the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Music of Today series, and premiered in London at the Royal Festival Hall and National Gallery in June 2003. Mr. Trapani is now in residence at Paris’s Citi Internationale des Arts. North has been praised as both “striking and imaginative,” and “especially beautiful writing.”

Conductors: Carl St. Clair & Jeffrey Milarsky

Carl St. Clair’s conducting appearances include such American orchestras as the Boston Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the San Francisco, Seattle, Detroit, Atlanta, Houston and Indianapolis Symphonies. In Europe, St. Clair is the principal guest conductor of the Stuttgart Radio Orchestra, and a frequent guest conductor with orchestras in Berlin, Bonn, Frankfurt, Hannover, Hamburg, and Bamberg. He has also conducted orchestras in Jerusalem, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and South America. Mr. St. Clair is Music Director of the Pacific Symphony, a post he has held for 14 years, guiding the Symphony to national prominence through acclaimed recording projects, commissions of new works, world premieres, live broadcasts, and innovative music education programs. St. Clair was the assistant conductor at the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1986 to 1990, and served as music director of the Ann Arbor Symphony and the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra.

Wherever Mr. St. Clair conducts, he nourishes audiences with an eclectic mix of respected classics and new works by modern composers. He has commissioned and performed many world premieres, including works by Richard Danielpour, Frank Ticheli, and William Bolcom. Mr. St. Clair’s recording of two piano concerti by Lukas Foss, released in 2000, was nominated for a Grammy Award. Other premiere recordings including music of Toru Takemitsu, John Corigliano’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, and Elliot Goldenthal’s Fire Water Paper: A Vietnam Oratorio, with Yo-Yo Ma as cello soloist.

Mr. St. Clair studied with several conducting legends of the 20th Century, including Felix Weingartner, Walter Ducloux, Wilhelm Furtwangler and Arturo Toscanini. He has enjoyed mentor relationships with several great conductors, including Seiji Ozawa, Kurt Masur and Leonard Bernstein. His long mentorship with Bernstein culminated when he was invited by Mr. Bernstein to conduct the premiere of his Arias and Barcarolles on what was to become his final concert. In 1990, Mr. St. Clair’s accomplishments and potential were recognized with the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts/Seaver Conductors Award.

Jeffrey Milarsky is a leading conductor of contemporary music, currently serving as Assistant Conductor of American Composers Orchestra. He has premiered and recorded works by many contemporary composers, including Charles Wuorinen, Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, Gerard Grisey, Ralph Shapey, Luigi Nono, Mario Davidovsky, and Wolfgang Rihm. He has lead such accomplished groups as the New York New Music Ensemble, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Speculum Musicae, Cygnus Ensemble, and the Fromm Players. Recently, Mr. Milarsky made his European debut conducting the BIT20 Ensemble. Next season Milarsky will perform at the ULTIMA Festival in Oslo, where he will lead the world premiere of Lasse Thoresen’s Folksongs, as well as conducting performances in Norway, Italy and Austria.

Mr. Milarsky received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Juilliard School, where he was awarded the Peter Mennin Prize for outstanding leadership and achievement in the arts. He now serves on the faculty at Juilliard, where he regularly conducts the Juilliard Orchestra, with which he has premiered more than 70 works by Juilliard student composers over the past 15 years. Mr. Milarsky is Professor in Music at Columbia University and Director of the Columbia University Orchestra. He is also Artistic Director of the Manhattan School of Music Percussion Ensemble, and Music Director of New Jersey’s Musica Viva Festival. Mr. Milarsky has recorded extensively for Angel, Teldec, Telarc, New World, CRI, MusicMasters, EMI, Koch, and London Records.

Reservations and Info

The Whitaker New Music Reading Sessions take place on Thursday, May 20, 2004 from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm, with a panel discussion from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm; and Friday, May 21, 2004 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at Miller Theatre at Columbia University, 116th Street and Broadway in Manhattan. The Readings and symposia are open to the public at no charge, but reservations are suggested. For reservations or further information, please call (212) 977-8495, ext. 260 or email ACO.

About ACO

Founded in 1977, American Composers Orchestra is the only orchestra in the world dedicated to the creation, performance, preservation, and promulgation of music by American composers. [find out more...]

Lead support for the Whitaker New Music Readings comes from The Helen F. Whitaker Fund, The Jerome Foundation, and Mr. Paul Underwood.


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