Release (2006/05/18)

15th Annual Underwood
New Music Readings

Seven of the Nation’s Top Emerging
Composers Selected for Premieres
May 18 & 19 in NYC

Miller Theater
Columbia University, Broadway & 116th Street

Robert Beaser, artistic director
George Mnahan, conductor
Jeffrey Milarsky, conductor
Paul Moravec & Stephen Paulus, mentor composers

Thursday, May 18
10 am – 12:30pm

ANDREA REINKEMEYER: Lured By the Horizon
FANG MAN: Black and White

Friday, May 19
10 am – 12:30pm

PAUL RICHARDS: Music for Midsummer
JEFF MYERS: Metamorphosis III
MATTHEW TOMMASINI: Songs Lost and Forgotten

American Composers Orchestra announces the winners of its fifteenth annual Underwood New Music Readings, one of this country’s most coveted opportunities for emerging composers. The Readings will run Thursday, May 18th and Friday, May 19th from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm at Miller Theater at Columbia University. Seven of the nation’s most promising composers in the early stages of their professional careers have been selected from over two hundred submissions received from around the country. This year’s winners are Anna Clyne, Fang ManRobert Gates, Jeff Myers, Andrea Reinkemeyer, Paul Richards, and Matthew Tommasini.

The Readings are under the direction of ACO Artistic Director Robert Beaser. This year’s conductors are George Manahan and Jeffrey Milarsky; mentor composers are Paul Moravec and Stephen Paulus. 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.

Last year’s winner, Michael Gatonska, won the top prize with his work An Expedition Aboard the Third Mind. Mr. Gatonska’s texture-oriented work has been described as “highly original” with a “unique ability to thread together finely-carved, diverse ‘glimpses’ of music into a convincing, organic whole–a kind of temporal kaleidoscope of style and color.” The 2004 winner, Kristin Kuster, praised as a “wonderfully ambitious” composer, “reaching deep for meaning and expressive breadth,” will hear her Underwood-commissioned work, Myrrhapremiered by ACO at Carnegie Hall on May 3.

Since 1991, the 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 American composers. To date, 75 composers have participated in the Readings, including such award-winning composers as Melinda Wagner, Pierre Jalbert, Augusta Read Thomas, Randall Woolf, Jennifer Higdon, Daniel Bernard Roumain, and ACO’s Music Alive Composer in Residence, Derek Bermel. 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. The New Music Readings continue ACO’s emphasis on helping to launch composers careers, a tradition that includes 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.

Composers Selected and Works to be Performed

Robert GatesRobert Gates: Aerials

Robert Gates received a Masters Degree from The Juilliard School, where he studied with John Corigliano, and a Bachelors Degree from UCLA, where he studied with Ian Krouse. He also studied piano with Johana Harris and Eduardo Delgado. He won a BMI Student Composer Award and an ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award for his orchestral music. His music has been commissioned by Piano Spheres, the Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company, Zoom, Elyrica, The Juilliard Drama Department, Lincoln Center Directors’ Lab, The Polyannas, the Neurotic Young Urbanites, and various theatrical productions in Los Angeles and New York City. He is also active as a pianist and accompanist. Mr. Gates has been described as “a very gifted young composer with a fine craft” and a “large talent.”

Andrea ReinkemeyerAndrea Reinkemeyer: Lured by the Horizon

Andrea Reinkemeyer earned Doctorate and Masters degrees in composition from the Univ. of Michigan, where she was the recipient of a Rackham Pre-doctoral and Regent’s Fellowships, and served as Graduate Student Instructor in electronic music. She also won the Ruth Lorraine Close Musical Fellows Award and the Outstanding Creativity in Composition Award from the Univ. of Oregon. Her composition teachers include Michael Daugherty, Bright Sheng, Susan Botti, James Aikman, and Harold Owen. Her music has been performed at the conference of the Society of Electro-Acoustic Music in the U.S., and the Threshold Electronic Music Festival, by such groups as Sonic New Music Ensemble, Susquehanna Univ. New Music Ensemble, Univ. of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, and Pacific Rim Gamelan. Dr. Reinkemeyer is currently Associate Professor of Composition at Bowling Green State University. Her Lured by the Horizon has already earned praise as “compelling and adventurous” an important and fascinating work for orchestra.”

Fang ManFang Man: Black and White

Fang Man studies composition with Steven Stucky and Roberto Sierra at Cornell, where she is completing her Doctorate. She is a graduate of the Central Conservatory of Music Beijing, with additional studies with composers Samuel Adler, Qigang Chen, George Crumb, Marc-Andre Dalbavie, Pascal Dusapin, David Felder, Aaron Jay Kernis, and Wolfgang Rihm. Her credits include invitations to the Gaudeamus Music Week, June in Buffalo, Bowdoin Festival, Minnesota Orchestra Reading, and Aspen Music Festival. She is the recipient of the Bank of America Commission, Yan Huang Cup Composition Prize, the Music From China Award, the Sumner Redstone/Viacom Scholarship, Cecil Effinger Fellowship, and the Sage and Olin Fellowships from Cornell. Her music has been performed by the Orchestre National de Lorraine (France), Minnesota Orchestra, Festival Chamber Orchestra, Music From China Ensemble, and Cassatt String Quartet. She is among ten composers chosen by IRCAM for a year-long residency to compose a piece employing new technology to be premiered at Centre Pompidou Paris in October 2007. ACO has selected Ms. Fang, recognizing her as “a major force in orchestral music over the next few years.”

Anna ClyneAnna Clyne: Rewind

Anna Clyne received her Bachelor of Music with Honors from Edinburgh University and a Master of Music from the Manhattan School of Music. This past year, she participated in a master class with Pierre Boulez; served as a fellow at the Bang on a Can Summer Institute with guest composer Steve Reich; and was the recipient of the TACTUS contemporary music ensemble student composer commission. Her principal teachers include Julia Wolfe, Marina Adamia and Marjan Mozetich. Born in London in 1980, Clyne currently resides in New York, where her music has been performed at Symphony Space, Manhattan School of Music, Columbia University, MoMA, The Flea Theater, Dance Now Festival, Cooper Union, New York Musical Theatre Festival, d.u.m.b.o dance festival, and PS122. Upcoming projects include new works for Hysterica Dance Company, and Bang on a Can. She will also participate in a composer/choreographer series at the Joyce SoHo. Ms. Clyne has been described as “a composer with serious ambitions” willing to experiment with non-traditional ideas.”

Paul RichardsPaul Richards: Music for Midsummer

Paul Richards’s music has won several important awards including the Jacksonville Symphony’s Fresh Ink Competition, ASCAP’s Rudolph Nissim Prize, the Metropolitan Wind Symphony Commission Competition, International Horn Society Composition Competition, and the Music Teachers’ National Association Composition Competition. His Snake in the Garden for clarinet and orchestra was recently recorded by Richard Stoltzman and the Slovak Radio Orchestra. Richards is currently Associate Professor of Composition and Theory at the Univ. of Florida. He previously taught at Baylor University. He holds degrees from the Univ. of Texas at Austin and the Univ. of Arizona, where his teachers included Dan Welcher, Don Grantham and Dan Asia. Dr. Richard’s music has been hailed as “exciting” and “rhythmically inventive.”

Jeff MyersJeff Myers:
Metamorphosis III

Jeff Myers writes “complex and compelling music where every detail is carefully considered.” Born in 1977, Mr. Myers began composing in 1995, studying at San Jose State University. He continues his studies at the Univ. of Michigan, where he is pursuing his Doctorate, and where his teachers have included Bright Sheng, William Bolcom, and Michael Daugherty. Myers’s awards and commissions include ASCAP Leonard Bernstein Award, a Fromm Music Foundation Commission, several BMI Student Composer Awards, a New York Youth Symphony First Music Commission, and the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Myers’s work includes Metamorphosis for violin and orchestra, premiered in 2002 by the Eastman Philharmonia under David Gilbert; Tidtu, premiered by the PRISM saxophone quartet at Symphony Space, and Regeneration premiered by the New York Youth Symphony at Carnegie Hall under Paul Haas.

Matthew TommasiniMatthew Tommasini:
Songs Lost and Forgotten

Matthew Tommasini has been commissioned by the New York Youth Symphony, the Milwaukee Ballet, and the University of Michigan Symphony Band. In addition, his music has been performed by the Riverside Symphony, Ann Arbor Symphony, and the Brave New Works Ensemble. Recently, Mr. Tommasini was awarded the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and first prize in the SCI/ASCAP Commission Competition. He studied at UCLA with composers Paul Chihara, Ian Krouse, and Jerry Goldsmith. He received Masters and Doctorate degrees from the Univ. of Michigan, where he studied with Michael Daugherty, William Bolcom, Bright Sheng, Leslie Bassett, and Evan Chambers. Currently, Mr. Tommasini is working on commissions from SCI/ASCAP and percussionist Anthony Cirone. Tommasini’s Songs Lost and Forgotten, selected for this year’s New Music Readings, has been described as “attractive,” with “three greatly contrasting movements with lots of variety.”

Jeffrey MilarskyJeffrey Milarsky, conductor

Jeffrey Milarsky is the leading conductor of contemporary music in New York City. In the United States and abroad, he has premiered and recorded works contemporary composers, including Charles Wuorinen, Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, Lasse Thoresen, Gerard Grisey, Ralph Shapey, Luigi Nono, Mario Davidovsky and Wolfgang Rihm. His wide ranging repertoire, which spans from Bach to Xenakis, has brought him to lead such accomplished groups as the New York New Music Ensemble, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Columbia Sinfonietta, Speculum Musicae, Cygnus Ensemble, The Fromm Players at Harvard University, the Composers’ Ensemble at Princeton University, and the New York Philharmonic chamber music series. Increasingly in demand as a Music Director, he has been named to that position for New Jersey’s Musica Viva Festival. Most recently, he has joined the faculty of The Manhattan School of Music as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Percussion Ensemble.
A much-in-demand percussionist who has performed and recorded with the New York Philharmonic among many ensembles, Mr. Milarsky is Professor in Music at Columbia University, where he is the Music Director/Conductor of the Columbia University Orchestra.

Mr. Milarsky received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School. Upon graduation, he was awarded the Peter Mennin Prize for outstanding leadership and achievement in the arts. He regularly conducts The Juilliard Orchestra, with whom he has premiered over 70 works of Juilliard student composers over the past fifteen years. He is also on the Faculty at Juilliard, where has been, until recently, Director of the Composition Forum and of the Pre-College Percussion Ensemble.

George Manahan, conductor

Music Director of the New York City Opera, George Manahan is currently in his tenth season with the Company. Mr. Manahan is especially well known for his leadership of diverse productions such as Mourning Become Electra (Levy), Daphne (Strauss), Ermione (Rossini), Dialogues of the Carmelites (Poulenc), and also for three “Live from Lincoln Center” telecasts: La Bohème, Lizzie Borden and Tosca. He has been a frequent guest conductor with the Seattle Opera, Glimmerglass Opera and Santa Fe Opera companies, and was principal conductor with the Minnesota Opera from 1988-1996. Other opera engagements include Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Opera National du Paris, Opera Australia, Teatro de Communale de Bologna, and the Verona Filarmonico. He has conducted world premieres of operas by Charles Wuorinen, Judith Weir, Krzysztof Penderecki, Hans Werner Henze, David Lang, Tobias Picker and Wolfgang Rihm.

Mr. Manahan also enjoys a long-established relationship with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, having served as acting Music Director from 1982 to 1985 and appearing every season since 1997 as guest conductor. He has made regular appearances with the Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard Orchestra and has conducted and taught conducting master classes at the Aspen Music Festival since the summer of 2004. Other orchestral engagements include appearances with the Atlanta Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Columbus Symphony, Charlotte Symphony and the National Symphony.

His formal musical training includes studies in conducting with Anton Coppola and George Schick at the Manhattan School of Music, where he served on the faculty following his graduation, and a fellowship as Assistant Conductor with the American Opera Center, awarded by The Juilliard School.

Reservations and Info

The Underwood New Music Reading Sessions take place on Thursday, May 18 and Friday, May 19, 2006 from 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM at Miller Theater at Columbia University, 116th 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 or email

Lead support for the Underwood New Music Readings comes from Mr. Paul Underwood, the Fromm Music Foundation and The Helen F. Whitaker Fund.

ACOs emerging composers programs are made possible with the support of Jerome Foundation, The Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University and with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Major support of American Composers Orchestra is provided by ACO Inner Circle, American Symphony Orchestra League, Amphion Foundation, Anncox Foundation, The Argosy Foundation Contemporary Music Fund, Arlington Associates, ASCAP, ASCAP Foundation, 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, Eleanor Naylor Dana Charitable Trust, The Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, Fidelity Foundation, Fromm Music Foundation, Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, The Estate of Francis Goelet, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Irving Harris Foundation, Henfield Foundation, Victor Herbert Foundation, Christian Humann Foundation, Jephson Educational Trust, John and Evelyn Kossak Foundation, Helen Sperry Lea Foundation, Neil Family Fund, The New York Community Trust, Bay and Paul Foundations, PricewaterhouseCoopers, The Rodgers Family Foundation, The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, The Susan and Ford Schumann Foundation, Smith Barney, the Virgil Thomson Foundation, The Isak and Rose Weinman Foundation, Paul Underwood Charitable Trust, The Watchdog and Sonata Charitable Trust and The Helen F. Whitaker Fund. ACO programs are also made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs