Kristin Kuster has been named winner of American Composers
Orchestra's 2004 Underwood Emerging Composers Commission, an honor
that includes a $15,000 prize and world premiere performance by
American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. Chosen from among
eight finalists in one of this country's most coveted opportunities
for emerging composers, Ms. Kuster won the top prize at ACO's annual
Whitaker New Music Readings with her work, The Narrows. Ms.
Kuster has been praised as a "wonderfully gifted composer
reaching deep for meaning and expressive breadth." Carl St.
Clair, guest conductor for the Readings stated, "All the
composers participating were extremely gifted, but Kristin's musical
voice was distinguished."
winning composer, Manly Romero, is currently working on Symphony:
roja claro azul, which will be premiered by ACO at Carnegie Hall
on February 23, 2005. Another Whitaker
Readings-commissioned work, Ballade No. 1 by Paul Yeon Lee,
is scheduled for premiere during ACO's 2005-2006 season.
is a 30-year-old composer who has studied at the University of San
Diego, University of Colorado at Boulder, and University of Michigan
at Ann Arbor. Her principal composition teachers have included
William Albright, William Bolcom, Evan Chambers, and Michael
Daugherty. In addition to ACO's Underwood Commission, Ms. 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.
works often feature collaboration with instrumentalists, vocalists,
poets, and visual artists. Her work is often focused on the
connections between architecture and music, exploring the
architectural relationships between public and private spaces. Her
piece Ando: light against shade, for mixed chamber ensemble,
examines the architecture of Tadao Ando. Premiered in 2003 at the
Composers Conference and Chamber Music Center at Wellesley College,
the work explores Ando's concept of the "changing of man's
confrontation with nature through architecture," and
expressivity within his minimalist designs. Ms. Kuster also works
within the medium of electronic music, as in her works The Journey,
which combines electronic music and audio editing with dance, and
close listening: sound, art, science and the imagination, the audio
editing of three sound installations containing interviews with
scientists and the sounds of their research, featured in
collaboration with an art exhibition at the Jean Paul Slusser Gallery
in Ann Arbor.
Ms. Kuster is
the composer-in-residence for the Vox Early Music Ensemble, and has
recently received commissions from the Prism Saxophone Quartet and
the Colby College Chorale. In addition to The Narrows, she
recently completed Rorate caeli for mixed chorus and is
currently working on Crows' Nests,
for orchestra, a work being created through the examination of the
architecture of I.M. Pei.
in New York this past May under the direction of ACO's artistic
director, composer Robert Beaser, the 13th
annual Whitaker New Music Readings attracted more than 250
submissions from emerging composers around the country. Also
participating were mentor-composers Michael Daugherty and Stephen
Hartke, and conductors Carl St. Clair and Jeffrey Milarsky. Finalists
this year include Anthony Cheung, who completed composition studies
with Bernard Rands at Harvard in 2004 and will continue his studies
at Columbia in the fall; Daniel Bradshaw, currently pursuing a
doctoral degree in composition at Indiana University; Jonathan
Newman, who was recently commissioned by the New York Youth Symphony
with a premiere in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall; Christopher
Trapani, who is currently in residence at Paris's Citi Internationale
des Arts; Thomas Osborne, currently pursuing a DMA degree in
composition at the University of Southern California; Ralf Gawlick,
who earned a DMA from the New England Conservatory of Music and who's
work will represent the U.S. at the 2005 ISCM World Music Days in
Zagreb; and Robert Paterson, who has earned a DMA degree from Cornell University.
years the Whitaker 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 important American composers. To date, some 75
composers have participated in the Reading Sessions, experiencing a
full orchestral rendering of their work, receiving critical
professional feedback and mentoring from conductors, composers and
performers, and obtaining a professional quality recording to assist
in their advancement. Past participants have included such
award-winning composers as Melinda Wagner, Derek Bermel, Pierre
Jalbert, Randall Woolf, and Jennifer Higdon. Since its inception in
1977, ACO has helped launch the careers of many of today's top
composers, including Ellen Taaffe Zwilich and Joseph Schwantner, who
both received Pulitzer Prizes for ACO commissions; Robert Beaser,
Ingram Marshall, Joan Tower, Aaron Jay Kernis, Christopher Rouse, and
Tobias Picker were all championed by the orchestra when they were
beginning their careers.
annual New Music Readings are scheduled for May 5 & 6, 2005 at
Columbia University in New York City. The submission deadline for
composers interested in applying is Wednesday, November 10, 2004.
Complete submission guidelines and application will be available in
print and online this August by contacting www.americancomposers.org/nmr,
or telephone 212-977-8495.
support for the Whitaker New Music Readings comes from The Helen F.
Whitaker Fund, The Jerome Foundation, and Mr. Paul Underwood.
Additional public funds provided by the National Endowment for the
Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York City
Department of Cultural Affairs.