EarShot: Sarasota Orchestra

March 12-16, 2019 (Sarasota, FL)

Participant Composers and Works:

Krists Auznieks, Crossing
Nicky Sohn, Bird Up
Sam Wu, Wind Map
Kitty Xiao, Ink and Wash

Concert Open to the Public:

Saturday, March 16, 2019 at 8pm
Holley Hall | 709 N Tamiami Trail | Sarasota, FL

Tickets and more information available at www.sarasotaorchestra.org


EarShot, an initiative of American Composers Orchestra (ACO) in partnership with American Composers Forum, League of American Orchestras, and New Music USA, is the nation’s first ongoing program for identifying and promoting the most promising orchestral composers on the national stage. ACO’s artistic and administrative staff collaborates with participating orchestras, assisting with planning, program design, and execution. EarShot residencies include mentorship from the most accomplished orchestral composers in the country, orchestra readings, and musician and conductor feedback sessions. The program is customized to each host orchestra’s aesthetic, demographic, community, and educational interests.

The Sarasota Orchestra EarShot participant composers will work closely with mentor composers Robert Beaser, Laura Karpman, and Chinary Ung. There will be professional development panels including the mentor composers and guests William J. Lackey of American Composers Forum, Stephen Miles of New College of Florida, and select staff from the Sarasota Orchestra administrative team.



Krists Auznieks

Currently pursuing doctorate at Yale School of Music with Aaron Jay Kernis and David Lang, Krists Auznieks’ (b.1992) most recent recognitions include Jacob Druckman Prize from Aspen Music Festival, Latvian National Grand Music Award for the best new work of the year, The Woods Chandler Memorial Prize from Yale, fellowships from Aspen Music Festival, NEXT Festival of Emerging Artists (NYC), Bennington Chamber Music Conference, and Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, winning works at The Chicago Ensemble’s Discover America XI and Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra competitions. His quintet “Piano” was featured in The New York Times among the week’s best classical music moments. His opera NeoArctic, co-written with British techno producer Andy Stott, won Danish Reumert Prize and will have its US premiere at The Kennedy Center in 2019. 

About Crossing

The title of Auznieks’ work envisages a “crossing” into another state of mind, suggested and catalyzed by rhetorical and musical devices. “I hope Crossing can become a leap from the familiar physical world and how memory operates in it,” says Auznieks, “to some other imaginary, utopian, idealistic world.” The work centers on motivic transformations that function as an analogy to Proustian notions of memory. “The same motifs are heard, re-heard, and misheard,” Auznieks points out. As Feldman once observed, “The whole lesson of Proust is not to look for experiences in the object, but within ourselves.” Auznieks aims for this work to similarly elicit a parallel experience within the listener.

Krists Auznieks Full Bio

The music of Krists Auznieks has been performed at The Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles), The Royal Danish Theatre, Beijing National Arts Centre, Shanghai City Theatre, Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw, The Southbank Center (London), Théâtre Maisonneauve (Montreal), The Kitchen (NYC), National Sawdust (NYC), Chassé Theater (The Netherlands), Cultuurcentrum Hasselt (Belgium), Théâtre De Nîmes (France) and featured in Gaudeamus Muziekweek (Holland), Aspen Music Festival, American Music Festival (Albany, NY), MATA 2017 (NYC), Arctic Arts Festival (Norway), UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers in Finland, European Capital of Culture Aarhus 2017 Festival (Denmark), and Chelsea Music Festival (NYC). He has worked with Sandbox Percussion (NYC), David Kweksilber Big Band (Holland), Antico Moderno (Boston), Yale Philharmonia, Orkest de Ereprijs (Holland), pianists Robert Fleitz and David Fung, and guitarist Jiji. Recent works include Crossing for orchestra, commissioned by Aspen Music Festival and Robert Spano, premiered by Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra and Patrick Summers, as well as works for Capella Amsterdam, Latvian Radio Choir, Albany Symphony musicians (NY), Yale Percussion Group, and two massive concert-length works for Contemporaneous (NYC) and Sinfonietta Riga (Latvia).


Nicky Sohn

From ballet to opera to Korean traditional-orchestra, the wide-ranging talent of composer Nicky Sohn (b. 1992) is sought after across the United States, Europe, and Asia. Characterized by her jazz-inspired, rhythmically driven themes, Sohn’s work has received praise from international press for being “dynamic and full of vitality” (The Korea Defense Daily), having “colorful orchestration” (NewsBrite), and for its “elegant wonder” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), among many others. As a result, Sohn has enjoyed commissions from the world’s preeminent performing arts institutions, including sold-out performances at the Stuttgart Ballet in Germany, The National Orchestra of Korea, and the New York Choreographic Institute at New York City Ballet.

About Bird Up

Bird Up encapsulates the composer’s perspective on the erratic nature of New York City, as seen through the lens of the bizarre and chaotic humor in the Eric Andre Show. Throughout several years of living in the absurd and unpredictable environment that is New York, the composer found that his skits were a clever match to the everyday unpredictability of the city. The skit that inspires this piece reflects the extreme end of the chaos that New Yorkers often encounter with a humorous twist, Eric Andre dresses up as a bird and confronts strangers on the street. The composer develops the piece around direct inspiration from the show, the primary motivic material of the piece is derived from the opening chords of the tv show. Incorporating this motive in several modes, the piece gradually transforms, reflecting the humor of the ever changing yet constantly absurd reality of the show and New York City.

Nicky Sohn’s Full Bio

In 2019, Sohn will attend the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy as Gerald Fischer Fellow, where she will work with Grammy-winning soprano Jessica Rivera. Other projects include commissions from the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra as the sole winner of the Jacob Druckman Prize, as well as the Chelsea Music Festival. Festival appearances include the Aspen Music Festival and School, Les Ecoles d’Art Américaines de Fontainebleau, Ars Nova with Unsuk Chin and the Seoul Philharmonic, and the Summer Festival of the Moscow Conservatory of Music, among others. Residencies have included the Avalon Music Consort in Sweden, Washington Square Winds in New York City, and Project: 音 Sound 음 in Korea. Nicky Sohn currently shares her time between Berlin, New York City, and her hometown of Seoul, and holds a Master of Music Diploma from The Juilliard School. Her early years are marked by a voracious eagerness to learn. Already a student of piano at the age of two, she began seriously studying composition at the age of seven. At fourteen, Sohn completed her high school diploma, and would go on to receive both a Bachelor of Music degree and a Diploma of Piano Performance from the Mannes College of Music. She is grateful to her pedagogues, which include Robert Beaser, Chris Theofanidis, Derek Bermel, and Richard Danielpour.


Sam Wu

The music of Sam Wu (b. 1995) deals with the beauty in blurred boundaries. From Shanghai, China, Wu attends The Juilliard School for his M.M., after receiving an A.B., with honors, from Harvard University. His teachers include Tan Dun, Robert Beaser, Chaya Czernowin, Richard Beaudoin, and Derek Bermel. Wu also has been featured on the National Geographic Channel, Business Insider, Harvard Crimson, Yale Daily, Asahi Shimbun, People’s Daily, China Daily USA, SinoVision, CCTV, and ICS, among others.

About Wind Map

Wind Map was composed with inspiration from a graphic visualization of global wind patterns. Wu notes, “Massive amounts of weather data are fed into a supercomputer that then produces a live (or pseudo-live) ‘wind map.’ The swirls and swoops are color-coded: areas of blue and green are relatively calm, while red and purple usually imply devastating conditions in a tropical system. There is something particularly poetic about seeing our atmosphere on such a macro scale; the same colors that are converted from numerical data also suggest Van Gogh-esque brushstrokes. The confluence of the empirical and the aesthetic in the ‘wind map’ has proved wildly inspiring for the composition of this piece.”

Sam Wu’s Full Bio

Winner of Harvard’s Robert Levin, Francis Boott, Bach Society, Wister Prizes, Artist Development Fellowship, Oklahoma City University’s Project21 Prize (Second Place), and the Interlochen Fine Arts Award. Sam was also a finalist for the Cortona Prize and ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. Wu’s music has been performed across North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. His collaborators include the Melbourne, China National, Shenzhen, Xi’an, Suzhou Symphonies, Shanghai, Moscow, Boston Youth Philharmonics, National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, Shanghai International Arts Festival, Sydney University Confucius Institute, Asia Society, members of the Parker and Ansonia Quartets, Princeton Pianists’ Ensemble, Radcliffe Choral Society, Harvard Ballet Company, and pipa master Wu Man.


Kitty Xiao

Kitty Xiao (b. 1989) ​is an Australian composer, pianist, and collaborative artist based in Rochester, New York. She is currently completing a Master of Music (Composition) at the Eastman School of Music as a graduate award recipient, studying composition with Robert Morris and piano with Tony Caramia. Xiao is founder, composer and pianist of Nimbus Trio and released her first album ​Novum​ in 2016 as a represented artist of Move Records label. In 2017 Kitty formed the Six Piano Collective and is Artistic Director of the ​Six Piano Project​. The same year she launched a new concert series ​NoiseSense​. 

About Ink and Wash

Ink and Wash is influenced by Chinese calligraphy, in particular the work of contemporary Chinese, New York based artist Gu Wenda. His works, Negative and Positive Characters and Tranquility Comes from Meditation, liberate themselves from traditional technical and aesthetic structures. For me, the works confront repression and the power of the human spirit. These ideas are expressed sonically in various strokes and lines of light and shade, attack and decay, from singular gestures to the mass.

Kitty Xiao’s Full Bio

Commissions include Arts Centre Melbourne’s 5x5x5, Plexus, Elysium Dance, Brighton Fashion Week London, Six Piano Project, Nimbus Trio, Tilde New Music Festival, Gamelan DanAnda, the Augmented Trumpet, Orlando Contemporary Chamber Orchestra, Panoramic Voices, Australian Art Orchestra CMI, Clan Analogue; her work being featured on their recent album ​Coordinates​ and Australian short/feature films. Her works have been part of the Adelaide Fringe, Melbourne Festival, Mapping Melbourne Festival, performed at Deakin Edge, Melbourne Recital Centre, Elder Hall University of Adelaide, broadcast on 3MBS, 4MBS, ABC Classic FM, PBS, KUTX 98.9 (U.S). She has performed in the UK, US and Europe as a soloist, with Kirolian Piano Trio, Trinity Laban’s new music ensemble, her work recorded at Cacophony Records by Grammy award winner Erik Wofford and her music performed at Kilbourn Hall, The Museum of Human Achievement, The Blanton Museum of Art. Kitty was resident composer of 2017 Tilde New Music Academy, 2016 Keep Composer’s Weird in Austin, and 2016 Australian Art Orchestra CMI. Xiao holds a Master of Music (Performance) from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London as a full recipient of the Alfred Kitchin Scholarship, Master of Teaching (Music Education) from The University of Melbourne, Bachelor of Music from The University of Melbourne and was a scholarship recipient at Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School.