May 5, 2005 9:30 am - 1:00 pm
Lerner Hall, Roone Arledge Auditorium
Admission is free.
Lead support for the Underwood New Music Readings comes from Mr. Paul Underwood, The Fromm Music Foundation and The Helen F. Whitaker Fund. ACO's emerging composers programs are made possible with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and with the support of Jerome Foundation and the Eleanor Naylor Dana Charitable Trust.
Ten premieres to be presented on May 5 and 6, 2005 in NYC
American Composers Orchestra announces the winners of what has become one of this country's most coveted opportunities for emerging composers, its fourteenth annual Underwood New Music Readings. The Readings will run Thursday, May 5th and Friday, May 6th from 9:30 am to 1:00 pm at Roone Arledge Auditorium, Alfred Lerner Hall, Columbia University.
Ten of the nation's most promising composers in the early stages of their professional careers have been selected out of hundreds of submissions received from around the country. This year's winners are Jennifer Fitzgerald, Kenneth Froelich, Michael Gatonska, Spencer Lambright, Carlos Rivera, Joseph Sheehan, Zhou Tian, Daniel Visconti, Stefan Weisman, and Gregg Wramage.
One of these composers will receive a $15,000 commission to write a new work to be performed by ACO. Last year's winner, Kristin Kuster, won the top prize with her work The Narrows. Ms. Kuster's work is often focused on the connections between architecture and music, exploring the architectural relationships between public and private spaces. Her works often feature collaboration with instrumentalists, vocalists, poets, and visual artists. Ms. Kuster has been praised as a "wonderfully ambitious" composer "reaching deep for meaning and expressive breadth." In February 2005, ACO gave the world premiere of Manly Romero's Readings-commissioned work Blanco, Azul, Rojo, which opened an ACO concert of all world premieres at Carnegie Hall. Mr. Romero won the top prize at ACO's 2003 Whitaker New Music Readings with his work Merengue, which was praised as "lively, rhythmic, and punchy," with a "personal voice" that is "quirky and decidedly effective."
To date, the 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 Underwood New Music Readings are under the direction of ACO Artistic Director Robert Beaser, ACO Music Director Steven Sloane and Assistant Conductor Jeffrey Milarsky. Mentor composers for this year's reading sessions are Steve Mackey and Melinda Wagner. 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.
Composers Selected & Works to be Performed
Jennifer Fitzgerald studied composition with John McDonald and Anthony Brandt at Tufts University and later with Stephen Jaffe, Scott Lindroth and Anthony Kelley at Duke University. She has received fellowships from Duke University and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and is the recipient of Duke University's William Klenz Prize in composition. Ms. Fitzgerald has been commissioned by Anima Dance, the Governor's School Women's Chorus of North Carolina, pulsoptional and The Vassar Mahagonny Ensemble. Her work has been programmed on the Duke/UNC Milestones Festival and the Eastman School of Music Women in Music Festival, and choreographed by M'liss Dorrance, Rachel Brooker and Jessi Knight Walker, and performed at the American Dance Festival. Jennifer Fitzgerald is the co-founder/co-artistic director and pianist for pulsoptional, a Durham, NC-based composers' collective and performing ensemble. Born in Queens, NY, she is currently residing in Durham, NC and holds a Ph.D. in Composition and a Women's Studies Certificate from Duke University. Ms. Fitzgerald's music has been praised for it's original voice, and "many lovely sonorities."
Kenneth D. Froelich was born in Chester, PA and raised in San Diego, CA. He received a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Southern California in 1999, Masters in Music degree from Indiana University in 2001, and Doctorate in Music degree from Indiana University in 2004. His principal composition teachers include Claude Baker, Eugene O'Brien, Sven-David Sandström, Don Freund, and Donald Crocket. Mr. Froelich's music has been performed by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the California E.A.R. Unit., the University of Southern California Symphony Orchestra, and the Indiana University New Music Ensemble. He has received awards and recognitions from ASCAP, NACUSA, SCI, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and IDEAS (Interactive Digital Environments Arts and Storytelling). He has also presented works at conferences hosted by SEAMUS, Electronic Music Midwest, and SCI. Mr. Froelich has been faculty at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Composition at Ball State University. His work has been praised as "imaginative," and possessing "effective, muscular rhythms and gesture."
Michael Gatonska studied composition with Krzystof Penderecki, Marek Stachowski, and Zbigniew Bujarski at the Academy of Music in Krakow, Poland, as well as with Elias Tanenbaum at the Manhattan School of Music. He has received the Morton Gould Young Composer Award from ASCAP, as well as awards from the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, the Pacific Symphony Composer Competition, and the Chicago Symphony First Hearing Award. His most recent commission is from the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, and past commissions include SONYC (String Orchestra of New York City), the Music At The Anthology Festival 2003, the electric cellist Jeffrey Krieger (2003), and the Connecticut Commission on the Arts. This past year he received a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship, and grants from Meet the Composer and the American Music Center. Mr. Gatonska has also been the recipient of two post-graduate research grants from the Kosciuszko Foundation for music composition studies in Poland, and a fellowship from the MacDowell Colony. His texture-oriented work has been described as "very original."
Spencer Lambright's music has been performed in the United States, Canada, and Russia by a growing number of ensembles, including the Blue Elm Trio, the Festival Chamber Orchestra in Ithaca, the Philharmonia Orchestra of Yale, and the Cornell University Chamber Orchestra. His ballet The Unsilvered Glass, inspired by the poetry of André Breton, was performed in 2002 by l'Ensemble Synapse, a Montréal-based chamber orchestra. Clever Mixture of Little Lies was commissioned by violinist Jeanine Wynton for a concert of American solo violin works performed in St. Petersburg, Russia. Mr. Lambright's music has also been performed at the Aspen Music Festival. In 2002 he was awarded the John James Blackmore Prize for excellence in composition. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Mr. Lambright is currently completing his doctoral studies at Cornell University. He also holds degrees from the Yale School of Music and the University of Oregon. His principle teachers have been Steven Stucky, Roberto Sierra, Joseph Schwantner, and Ezra Laderman. Mr. Lambright's music has been described as "brilliantly striking" and "colorful and evocative" with textures that create a "persuasive and involving tapestry."
A composer of Cuban/Guatemalan descent, Carlos Rafael Rivera was born in Washington, DC, and grew up in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, and Miami. While studying guitar with Carlos Molina, his compositional studies began in Miami with Fred Kaufman and Orlando Garcia, continuing in Los Angeles with Stephen Hartke, and Donald Crockett. Mr. Rivera's work is an amalgamation of his passion for cross-cultural folk music. Mr. Rivera's eclectic works have been performed by ensembles such as the LA Guitar Quartet, the Cavatina Duo, and Chanticleer. As a guitarist, Carlos is a second prize winner at the D'Addario International Guitar Concerto Competition. He has performed with Grammy Award winning Jazz Trumpet Soloist Arturo Sandoval, and with singer/songwriter Randy Coleman, recently opening for "The Who" at the Hollywood Bowl. Mr. Rivera is currently pursuing a Doctoral in Musical Arts degree at the USC Thornton School of Music, where he holds a teaching assistantship. He also teaches guitar at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music. Mr. Rivera's work has been praised as "colorful, evocative, ambitious, skillful."
Joseph Sheehan, a native of the Pittsburgh area, received a BM from Duquesne University in 2002 and a MM from Indiana University in 2004. He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in music composition at Indiana University, where he has studied with Don Freund, Sven-David Sandstrvm and Claude Baker. His musical interests include electronica/techno, popular music, and jazz. Inspiration for Sheehan's recent music has come from such sources as sailing, the poetry of Ogden Nash, and the piano work of Keith Jarrett and Herbie Hancock. In 2002, he won a BMI Student Composer Award and was a finalist in the 2003 Alea III International Composition Competition in Boston. In the summer of 2002, he attended the Brevard Music Festival in North Carolina. Mr. Sheehan's work has being recognized for its "personal voice," and he has been praised as a composer who is "mature beyond his years."
Zhou Tian was born in 1981 in the city of Hangzhou, China. He graduated from the Shanghai Conservatory, where he studied composition and piano, and in 2001, came to the U.S. to pursue a bachelors degree at the Curtis Institute of Music, studying with composers Richard Danielpour and Jennifer Higdon. Zhou Tian's music has been performed by the New Fromm String Quartet, Tanglewood Festival Chorus, Shanghai Conservatory Ensemble, Curtis Symphony Orchestra and Guangzhou Symphony. His recent premieres include Iris and Butterfly, performed by Tanglewood Festival Chorus conducted by Steven Mackey. Zhou has won awards including first prize in the Kathryn Thomas International Composition Competition, Julius Hemphill International Composers Awards, Presser Foundation Music Award, ASCAP/Morton Gould Young Composer Awards and a composition fellowship at Tanglewood Music Festival, where he studied with composer Bright Sheng. As a pianist, recently performed his Three Songs (commissioned by Curtis Institute) with soprano Rachael Garcia in the opening night concert of the Chamber Music Now! series. His work has generated the expectation of a "melodic, fun listen," from a composer with "great promise."
Daniel Visconti is currently pursuing a masters of music at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studies with Margaret Brouwer, Orianna Webb, and Zhou Long. Raised in Chicago, he came to music at a late age, starting the violin at age 14 and beginning to compose three years later. Mr. Visconti's compositions have won awards and scholarships, including a BMI Student Composer Award, two consecutive first-place awards in the ASCAP/Victor Herbert Young Composers Competition, the NFMC Devora Nadworney Award for Vocal Writing, the 2004 BMI Foundation Boudleaux Bryant Commission, first place in the 2004 NACUSA Young Composers Competition, and a 2005 Copland House residency. His recent commissions include works for the Moore/Better Duo, the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, the Cleveland Museum of Arts's AKI Festival, and Antares. He is currently working on a commission from the Kronos Quartet as a result of being named winner of the most recent Kronos Under 30 Project. Currently, he teaches composition, theory, and popular songwriting through the Cleveland Institute of Music. Mr. Visconti's work has been recognized for its "youthful, inventive energy," as well as its "exciting" and "risky" effectiveness.
Stefan Weisman is a graduate of Bard College and Yale University, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University. His principal composition instructors include David Lang, Joan Tower, Martin Bresnick, Jacob Druckman, Steven Mackey, and Paul Lansky. Among his commissions are works for Sequitur, the Minimum Security Composers Collective, the Gay Gotham Choir with the Cosmopolitan Symphony Orchestra, the Battell Chapel Choir, and the Oregon Bach Festival Composers' Symposium. His works have also been performed by the Miró String Quartet, So Percussion, the Locrian Chamber Players, the New Millennium Ensemble, the Yesaroun' Duo, the Da Capo Chamber Players, pianist Lisa Moore, and the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. Mr. Weisman has received fellowships and residencies from the MacDowell Colony, the Edward Albee Foundation, the Blue Mountain Center, and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. His choral work Light, light, light, light, light was the first-prize winner in the Roger Wagner Center's Choral Composition Competition, and his work From Frankenstein recently won the Chicago Ensemble's Discover America Competition, and will be performed in Chicago and Memphis in 2005. Mr. Weisman has been described as having a "personal vision," with his work displaying "a very nice evanescence."
Gregg Wramage is currently a doctoral candidate at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He received his BM and MM from the Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Richard Danielpour. He has also studied with David Liptak, Steven Stucky, Joan Tower, Michael Daugherty, Christopher Rouse, David Del Tredici and George Tsontakis. Mr. Wramage's work has been premiered by eighth blackbird, Pentasonic Winds, Aspen Sinfonia, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, and Friends and Enemies of New Music in New York. He is a three-time recipient of the ASCAP Young Composer Award and has also been awarded the New Music for Young Ensembles Josef Alexander Award, as well as residencies at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. He also received scholarships from the Bowdoin, Brevard, Aspen, and Norfolk music festivals and the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, France. In 2002, Mr. Wramage received the Michigan Music Teacher's Association Commission, and in October of that year, his song cycle, Mourning Songs, was premiered at the MMTA annual conference. Mr. Wramage was also one of three composers selected to participate in the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music Young Composer's Workshop. Mr. Wramage's work has been described as "on the edge," with "interesting, poetic sounds."
Reservations and Info
The Underwood New Music Reading Sessions take place on Thursday, May 5, 2005 and Friday, May 6, 2005 from 9:30 am to 1:00 pm in Roone Arlege Auditorium at Alfred Lerner Hall at Columbia University, 115th Street and Broadway in Manhattan. The Readings 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.
Lead support for the Underwood New Music Readings comes from Mr. Paul Underwood, the Fromm Music Foundation and The Helen F. Whitaker Fund. ACO's emerging composers programs are made possible with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and with the support of Jerome Foundation and the Eleanor Naylor Dana Charitable Trust.
Major support of American Composers Orchestra is provided by Alliance Capital Management, Amphion Foundation, Anncox Foundation, The Argosy Foundation Contemporary Music Fund, Arlington Associates, ASCAP, The Bagby Foundation for the Musical Arts, Bodman Foundation, Booth Ferris Foundation, BMI, BMI Foundation, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Citigroup Foundation, Edward T. Cone Foundation, Consolidated Edison, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, FerrellCalvillo Communications, Fidelity Foundation, Fromm Music Foundation, Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, The Estate of Francis Goelet, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Irving Harris Foundation, The Hauser Foundation, Henfield Foundation, Victor Herbert Foundation, Christian Humann Foundation, Jephson Educational Trust, John and Evelyn Kossak Foundation, Helen Sperry Lea Foundation, Meet the Composer, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, JPMorganChase Foundation, Neil Family Fund, The New York Community Trust, The New York Times Co. Foundation, Bay and Paul Foundation, The Rodgers Family Foundation, Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, The Susan and Ford Schumann Foundation, Smith Barney, the Virgil Thomson Foundation, Oakleigh L. Thorne Foundation, Paul Underwood Charitable Trust and The Watchdog and Sonata Charitable Trust. ACO programs are also made possible with public funds the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.