Monday, April 3, 2000, 9:30am – 2:30pm & 2pm – 5pm
Masonic Hall, 71 West 23rd Street, New York City
Whitaker New Music Reading Sessions
Dennis Russell Davies & Paul Lustig Dunkel, Conductors; Robert Beaser, Artistic Advisor
Admission is free. Call 212-977-8495 for info/reservations.
American Composers Orchestra Selects Nation’s Top Emerging Composers for Whitaker New Music Reading Sessions April 3, 2000
The American Composers Orchestra announces the winners of what has become one of this country’s most coveted opportunities for emerging composers, its ninth annual Whitaker New Music Reading Sessions. This event, made possible by a grant from the Helen F. Whitaker Fund, will be held on Monday, April 3 from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM and 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM at Masonic Hall (71 West 23d St., NYC). 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, and obtain a professional quality tape to assist in their advancement.
Seven of the nation’s most promising composers in the early stages of their professional careers were selected out of nearly 150 submissions received from around the country. This season’s winners are: Rafael Hernandez III, John Kline, Jason Freeman, James Matheson, Matthew Lima, Brian Robison, and Juan Cuellar.
One of these composers will receive the ACO’s Whitaker Commission, which carries with it a $15,000 purse and a Carnegie Hall premiere. Hsueh-Yung Shen, 1999 Whitaker Commission recipient, received accolades from ACO President Francis Thorne for his piece “Changing Hues and Cries”. Mr. Shen, an Associate Professor at Southwestern University, Texas, is in the early stages of composition of his new work, though promises that it will be a different style composition from the work that he won with.
To date, the Whitaker Reading Sessions have offered a vital resource to the industry by providing essential career development opportunities to some thirty-nine composers. Melinda Wagner, the 1999 recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, participated in the Reading Sessions, as did Derek Bermel, who received a 1999 Guggenheim Fellowship. Augusta Read Thomas is another past participant whose career has taken off. Over the years, ACO has helped launch the careers of many of today’s top composers, including Ellen Taffe Zwilich and Joseph Schwanter, who both 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 launching their careers.
This year’s proceedings will be under the direction of Music Director Dennis Russell Davies, Resident Conductor Paul Lustig Dunkel, and Artistic Advisor Robert Beaser. Participating composers meet with Davies and Dunkel before the Reading to discus their composition, and afterward in a group session that includes selected players from the orchestra. Senior advisors, the judges who initially reviewed all submissions, are on hand to serve as mentors throughout the proceedings.
The reading sessions are open to the public at no charge. Reservations are required, please call (212) 977-8495.
American Composers Orchestra’s 9th Annual Whitaker New Music Reading Sessions Composer-Participants
Jason Freeman graduated summa cum laude from Yale University and is currently pursuing an MA/DMA degree at Columbia University, where he studies composition with Fred Lerdahl. Mr. Freeman has received the Louis Sudler Prize, Yale’s highest honor to a graduating senior in the creative or performing arts, and twice has been a finalist for the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers award. His trumpet concerto, “Sestina”, was awarded Yale’s Friends of Music Prize and was one of six compositions given special recognition in the New York Youth Symphony’s First Music 16 competition.
Composer Rafael Hernandez III, a native of Virginia Beach, Virginia, is currently a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, where he studies with Dan Welcher. He previously studied at Virginia Commonwealth University with Dr. Peter Knell, Jonathan Romeo, and Allan Blank. In 1999, he was chosen by Mr. Welcher to be an associate at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and in 1997 was a recipient of a BMI Student Composer Award for his piece, “PASTICHE”.
Following studies in humanities at Indiana University, composer John Kline entered Florida International University initially as a classical guitarist, where he studied with the eminent Cuban guitarist Carlos Molina, and later shifted to composition studies with Orlando Garcia, Jon Christopher Nelson, and Fredrick Kaufman. Mr. Kline recently completed graduate studies at the Yale School of Music with composers Martin Bresnick, Evan Ziporyn, Ezra Laderman, Jack Vees, Anthony Davis, Eleanor Hovda, and David Lang. Among the awards and prizes that Mr. Kline has recieved, are the Ezra Laderman Prize, the ASCAP/Morton Gould Young Composers Award, the John Day Jackson Award, and two commissions from the Colorado Young Artists Orchestra.
Following undergraduate studies in composition with Burt Fenner at Pennsylvania State University, Brian Robison earned his DMA and MFA from Cornell where his composition teachers included Steven Stucky, Karel Husa, and Roberto Sierra. Mr. Robison has received many prizes and fellowships, such as the Donald Jay Grout Memorial Prize, the Blackmore Prize, a Summer Fellowship from Cornell University, the Andrew D. White Fellowship, the Tuition Fellowship, and the Prix Maurice Ravel de la ville d’Avon Award. Current projects include “Studies” for electric guitar and electronics, and “Neo-Meta” for violin and marimba.
Matthew Lima is completing graduate studies in composition with Michael Finnissy and Steve Martland at the Royal Academy of Music. Attending as a British Marshall Scholar Mr. Lima is one of forty Americans, from all academic fields, selected annually by the British Government to conduct two years of postgraduate study in the United Kingdom. Mr. Lima received his A.B. Summa cum laude in music composition from Harvard University, where his teachers were Mario Davidovsky, Bernard Rands, and Michael Gandolfi. Awards include the Hugh F. MacColl Prize, the John Green Fellowship, and the ASCAP/Morton Gould Young Composer Award, in addition to commissions from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Manhattan Wind Quintet
James Matheson graduated from Cornell University with an MFA and a DMA, where he studied composition with Roberto Sierra and Steven Stucky. Mr. Matheson pursued undergraduate studies at Swarthmore College, where he studied composition with Gerald Levinson and Thomas Whitman. He has been a recipient of a composition Fellowship from the Aspen Music Festival, received awards from ASCAP, and has been commissioned to write new works by members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Juan Cuellar completed graduate studies, on a Fulbright Scholarship, and is currently a doctoral candidate at Indiana University where he studies composition with David Dzubay. Originally from Bogota, Columbia, he attended the Pontificia Universidad Jaeriana, where he received his BM in composition and later served on its faculty. Mr. Cuellar has been commissioned by the Fundacion Arte de la Musica and the Instituto Colombiano de Cultura, has published several of his works for chamber ensemble, and had his work “Ficción” for orchestra recorded by the National Symphonic Orchestra of Colombia.
The Whitaker New Music Reading Sessions are made possible with the generous support of the Helen F. Whitaker Fund. ACO programs are also made possible with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.