The DePauw University School of Music announced that composer Aaron Jay Kernis, a member of the Yale School of Music faculty, will begin a residency under the auspices of the “Music of the 2st Century” series on Wednesday, March 2. During his residency, Kernis will participate in classes, sit in on rehearsals, and spend time in studio sessions. His visit will culminate with a final concert on Sunday, March 6 in the Green Center for the Performing Arts.
Kernis is the winner of the coveted 2002 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition and one of the youngest composers ever to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize. The New York Times has cited his “fearless originality [and] powerful voice.”
Music of the 21st Century, an annual event at DePauw, brings some of the world’s most outstanding and recognized composers to work side-by-side with the students at the DePauw School of Music. Previous visitors have included Joan Tower, Samuel Adler, Chen-Yi, Jake Heggie, George Crumb, Augusta Read Thomas, Tania León, Frederic Rzewski and Martin Bresnick.
In preparation for Kernis’ visit as composer-in-residence, students have been studying and practicing many of his works that will be performed in a series of concerts throughout the week.
Performances featuring works by Kernis will be presented March 3 & 4 in Thompson Recital Hall. In Thursday night’s concert, Chamber Music with Aaron Jay Kernis, DePauw School of Music students will perform a variety of solo and small ensemble pieces such as Meditation (in memory of John Lennon), Stein Times Seven; Brilliant Sky, Infinite Sky; Songs of Innocents Book 2; and Valentines. Friday’s concert will be performed by DePauw faculty members, and will feature Kernis’ Superstar Etude No. 3, Ballad for ‘cello and piano, Song of Innocents, and Air.
The final concert on March 6 will include the four major ensembles of DePauw University: the University Orchestra, under the direction of Orcenith Smith; the Chamber Singers and University Chorus, conducted by Jan Harrington; and the University Band, directed by Craig Paré.
Kernis has taught composition at the Yale School of Music since 2003. His music figures prominently on orchestral, chamber, and recital programs worldwide and he has been commissioned by many of America‘s foremost performing artists, including soprano Renee Fleming, violinists Joshua Bell and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, soprano Dawn Upshaw, and guitarist Sharon Isbin, and by institutions including the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Birmingham Bach Choir, Minnesota Orchestra, and Los Angeles and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestras, the Walt Disney Company, James Conlon’s first season at the Ravinia Festival, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and Rose Center for Earth and Space at the Museum of Natural History in New York, among many others. His music is available on Nonesuch, Phoenix, New Albion and Argo and CRI.
Kernis received the Grawemeyer Award for the cello concerto Colored Field and the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for his String Quartet No. 2 (“musica instrumentalis”). He has also been awarded the Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Rome Prize, and received Grammy nominations for Air and the Second Symphony.
He has served as composer-in-residence for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Public Radio, and the American Composers Forum, and, since 1998, as new music adviser to the Minnesota Orchestra. Kernis is also chairman and co-director of the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, a program that gives young composers the opportunity to hear their works played by one of the world’s great orchestras.
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