21 & Saturday, May 22
Come hear the rising stars of the composition world as they show their stuff and compete for a $15,000 commission.
American Composers Orchestra (ACO) is pleased to announce the seven winners of its 19th annual Underwood New Music Readings. The Readings are one of the country’s most coveted honors for up-and-coming artists. This year, the Readings will be held on Friday, May 21 at 10am and Saturday, May 22 at 8pm at Columbia University’s Miller Theatre (2960 Broadway, NYC) and, as always, are free and open to the public. Seven of the nation’s most promising composers in the early stages of their professional careers have been selected from more than 100 submissions received from around the country. This year’s winners are Matti Kovler, Hannah Lash, Eric Lindsay, Tamar Muskal, Ricardo Romaneiro, Christopher Stark, and Xi Wang, representing a broad range of sound worlds and life experiences.
The Readings are under the direction of ACO Artistic Director Robert Beaser. The conductors are music director designate George Manahan and José Serebrier; mentor composers are Derek Bermel, ACO’s Creative Advisor, Robert Beaser, ACO's Artistic Director, and George Tsontakis. 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.
This year the audience will play a role as we present the first-ever Audience Choice Award. Audience members will be invited to vote for their favorite work of the evening, awarding the winner a commission to compose an original ringtone. This ringtone will be available for free to everyone who voiced their opinion. In addition, composers, conductors, and orchestra members will be blogging about their Readings experience on NewMusicBox and SoundAdvice, and Jeremy Robins, filmmaker, will be on hand to record a video diary of the Readings.
Kovler: Unsung Serenade
Hear an excerpt from Kovler's COKBOY for actor and orchestra
Matti Kovler (b. 1980) is a doctoral candidate at the New England Conservatory, and a recipient of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation scholarship for study in the US. Born in Moscow and educated in Israel and the US, Kovler wrote his first opera at the age of 17. Among his awards are fellowships at the Tanglewood and the Aspen Music Festivals, first prize in the Dorfman International Composers Competition (Germany), and the Theodore Presser Award. His music has been described as “graceful” (New York Times), and “notable for its pacing and bold orchestral colors” (The Boston Globe). Recent projects have included a monodrama commissioned by Carnegie Hall for the Upshaw/Golijov Professional Training Workshop,
Here Comes Messiah! for soprano and chamber ensemble, premiered in 2009.
Hear an excerpt from Lash's Matter of Truth
(b. 1981) completed her undergraduate degree in composition from the Eastman School of Music. Currently she is a candidate for a Ph.D. in composition at Harvard University and will be enrolled in the Artist Diploma program at Yale School of Music in composition in the fall. Her composition teachers have included Augusta Read Thomas, Robert Morris, Steven Stucky, Bernard Rands, and Martin Bresnick. Her music has been performed throughout the USA, including at Tanglewood Music Center and on the American Opera Project’s stage in New York City. She has written pieces for such ensembles as the Arditti Quartet, the JACK Quartet, and Alarm Will Sound. Lash’s honors and prizes include the Barnard Rogers Prize in Composition, the Bernard and Rose Sernoffsky Prize in Composition, and Honorable Mention in BMI’s International Women’s Music Commission. In April 2008, her string quartet
Four Still was performed in Kiev in the Ukraine’s largest international new music festival, Musical Premieres of the Season, curated by Carson Cooman.
Lindsay (b. 1980) is a composer, pianist, and teacher. His scores are published and distributed through Peermusic Ltd. and the Theodore Presser Company, making him the youngest composer to be published in Peermusic’s New Voices Series. Lindsay holds composition degrees from Indiana University-Bloomington and the University of Southern California, and also studied at King’s College in London. He is the recipient of several national honors, including a 2009 commissioning grant from the Serge Koussevitsky Music Foundation, as well as awards from ASCAP, The Society of Composers Inc., the Aspen Music Festival, Volti’s Choral Arts Laboratory, and the Truman State/MACRO Competition.
Tamar Muskal: Water Colors
Hear an excerpt from Muskal's Bevet Cafe
Educated both in Israel and the United States,
Tamar Muskal’s music harmonizes the unique cultural aspects of both places. Her music is always in a counterpoint style, carefully structured, and with great attention for details. She was born in Jerusalem, Israel, in 1965, and is a 2009 Guggenheim Foundation fellow. She studied viola, music theory, and composition at the Rubin Academy for Music and Dance in Jerusalem and earned her B.A. in 1991, having studied with Mark Kopytman. Muskal came to the United States in 1994 and subsequently earned her Master’s degree from Yale University, where she studied with Jacob Druckman and Martin Bresnick. She continued her studies at the City University of New York, where she studied with David Del Tredici and Tania León. She has written music for eighth blackbird, cellist Maya Beiser, oud player Bassam Saba, 2009 GRAMMY-winning soprano Hila Plitmann, soprano Lucy Shelton and the Colorado String Quartet, pianist Lisa Moore, among others. Muskal has been the recipient of many awards and fellowships, from institutions such as ASCAP, Meet The Composer, the Jerome Foundation, American Music Center, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and the Academy of Arts and Letters.
Ricardo Romaneiro: Sombras
Hear an excerpt from Romaneiro's Blue Steel
Composer Ricardo Romaneiro was born in 1979, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and currently lives in New York City. He earned his undergraduate degree in composition at the Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Richard Danielpour. Following private studies with Mexican composer Samuel Zyman, he completed his Master of Music degree at the Juilliard School, studying with Pulitzer Prize composer Christopher Rouse. His music has been commissioned and performed from such ensembles and institutions as Museum of Modern Art’s Summergarden Series, Wordless Music, Metropolis Ensemble, Alvin Ailey, Maya, New Juilliard Ensemble, Quintet of the Americas, Colorado Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, and New York Miniaturist Ensemble.
Christopher Stark: Ignatian Exercises
Hear an excerpt from Stark's Augenblick
(b. 1980) is a composer deeply rooted in the American West. Having spent his formative years in rural western Montana, his music is always seeking to capture the expansive energy of this quintessential American landscape. He currently studies music composition as a doctoral student at Cornell University with Roberto Sierra and Steven Stucky. Stark has previously studied at the Freie Universität Berlin, the Cincinnati Conservatory, and the University of Montana. At these institutions and abroad in Vienna, he studied with notable composers Samuel Adler, Michael Fiday, Joel Hoffman, David Maslanka, Charles Nichols, Wolfram Wagner, and Patrick Williams.
Xi Wang: Symphony No. 1
Listen to an excerpt from Xi's Music for
Piano, Percussion, and Wind Ensemble
Wang (b. 1978) received a B.M. from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music
and a M.M. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She finished her
doctoral degree in Music at Cornell University in 2009. Currently, she is an
Assistant Professor at the Meadow School of Arts at Southern Methodist
University. Her music has been widely performed in the United States and abroad.
Her orchestral music has been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, the Atlanta
Symphony, the Shanghai Philharmonic, and the Spokane Symphony, to name a few. Xi
Wang has received five prizes from ASCAP, and her music has been spotlighted on
Minnesota Public Radio, Aspen Public Radio, and Radio-China. Xi Wang was also
one of the eight young composers featured in the project New Voices from China
at Bard College. She is also a conductor as well as a pianist.
George Manahan, Conductor
George Manahan,currently the Music Director of New York City Opera, has had an unusually wide-ranging career, embracing everything from opera to the concert stage, the traditional to the contemporary. His most recent appearance with ACO was in February 2009 at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall. Mr. Manahan led a concert of world premieres, which included the much-praised multimedia works BREAKDOWN! by Margaret Brouwer and Kasumi, Rand Steiger’s Cryosphere, and Fang Man’s Resurrection. In 2006, he workshopped and led performances of music by emerging composers Anna Clyne, Fang Man, Robert Gates, and Paul Richards during ACO’s Underwood New Music Readings. In addition to his work with ACO, in fall 2010, he furthers his commitment to working with young musicians by joining the Manhattan School of Music faculty as Director of Orchestral Studies.
At New York City Opera, Mr. Manahan helped envision the organization’s groundbreaking VOX program, a series of workshops and readings that have provided unique opportunities for numerous composers to hear their new concepts realized, and introduced audiences to exciting new compositional voices. Manahan’s passion for the music of our time was ignited in 1980 when he was chosen as the Exxon Arts Endowment Conductor of the New Jersey Symphony. He made his mark on the opera world in his debut with the Santa Fe Opera, conducting the American premiere of Arnold Schoenberg’s Von Heute Auf Morgen. His wide-ranging recording activities include the premiere recording of Steve Reich’s Tehillim for ECM; recordings of Edward Thomas’s Desire Under the Elms, which was nominated for a Grammy; Joe Jackson’s Will Power; and Tobias Picker’s Emmeline. His enthusiasm for contemporary music continues today; he has conducted numerous world premieres, including Charles Wuorinen’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories, David Lang’s Modern Painters, and the New York premiere of Richard Danielpour’s Margaret Garner. In 2009, Mr. Manahan conducted the sold-out world premiere of Ask Your Mama! at Carnegie Hall.
Manahan has conducted the symphonies of Atlanta, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Columbus, and New Jersey, as well as the National Symphony Orchestra, The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music symphonies, the Warsaw Philharmonic, and at Music Academy of the West and the Aspen Music Festival. He appears regularly with the opera companies of Santa Fe and Portland, and Glimmerglass Opera. He has led the opera companies of Seattle, Chicago, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Opera National du Paris, Teatro de Communale de Bologna, the Bergen Festival (Norway), the Casals Festival (Puerto Rico), and Minnesota Opera, where he served as principal conductor. As music director of the Richmond Symphony (VA) for twelve years, where he also appeared as piano soloist, he was honored four times by the American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP) for his commitment to 20th century music. motivic/melodic material, undergoing various transformations and extensions.”
José Serebrier, conductor
No stranger to ACO, GRAMMY-winning conductor and composer José Serebrier returns to conduct at this year’s Readings. He is one of most recorded classical artists in history and has received thirty-two GRAMMY nominations in recent years.
When he was 21 years old, Leopold Stokowski hailed Serebrier as “the greatest master of orchestral balance.” After five years as Stokowski’s Associate Conductor at New York’s Carnegie Hall, he accepted an invitation from George Szell to become the Composer-in-Residence of the Cleveland Orchestra for Szell’s last two seasons. Szell discovered Serebrier when he won the Ford Foundation American Conductors Competition (together with James Levine). He was music director of America’s oldest music festival, in Worcester, Massachusetts, until he organized Festival Miami and served as its artistic director for many years. In that capacity, he commissioned many composers, including Elliott Carter’s String Quartet No. 4, and conducted many American and world premieres.
Serebrier has toured internationally with the Juilliard Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Toulouse Chamber Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Spain, and others.
Serebrier’s recording of the Mendelssohn symphonies won the UK Music Retailers Association Award for Best Orchestral Recording, and his series of Shostakovich’s Film Suites won the Deutsche Schallplatten Award for Best Orchestral Recording. Soundstage magazine selected Serebrier’s recording of Scheherazade with the LPO as the Best Audiophile Recording. He has recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia, Bournemouth Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Bamberg Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Barcelona Symphony, Czech State Philharmonic Brno, Weimar Staatskapelle, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide symphony orchestras and many others. “Serebrier Conducts Prokofiev, Beethoven and Tchaikowsky” filmed at the Sydney Opera, has been shown over 50 times on U.S. television. He presently records for Naxos, BIS, Warner Classics, RPO Records, and Sony/B.M.G.
Born in Uruguay of Russian and Polish parents, he has composed more than 100 works, published by Peer Music, Universal Edition Vienna, Kalmus, Warner Music, and Peters Corporation. In 2005, ACO premiered his Symphony No. 3, Symphonie Mystique, for string orchestra.
Tickets & Info
Miller Theatre is located at 116th Street and Broadway.
The readings are free and open to the public. No ticket is required.