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Students, Faculty + Alumni

Two YSM alumni are among Copland House's CULTIVATE Fellows for 2015


Copland House recently announced the fellows chosen to participate this June in CULTIVATE, its acclaimed, annual emerging composers institute. Two YSM alumni are among the six composers selected: Michael Gilbertson and Polina Nazaykinskaya. They were chosen out of nearly 85 applicants from 25 states by a distinguished composer panel comprised of CULTIVATE director Derek Bermel; BBC Masterprize winner Pierre Jalbert, a two-time Copland House resident; and Fulbright Scholar Dalit Warshaw.

CULTIVATE, an all-scholarship intensive creative workshop and mentoring program, will take place June 1–7 in northern Westchester County, N.Y., at Aaron Copland’s National Historic Landmark home in Cortlandt Manor and at the Merestead estate in nearby Mount Kisco. Launched in 2012, it has quickly become a coveted destination for highly gifted composers on the threshold of their professional careers.


“CULTIVATE offers the chance for artists to think about process, and to ensure that these new compositions come alive throughout the week,” said CULTIVATE director Derek Bermel (a YSM alumnus) as quoted in the press release. “The program combines the notion of community — a value of great importance to Aaron Copland — with an intense week of analysis, inspiration, vision, revision, deconstruction, re-revision, contemplation, and perspiration.”

Each of the six fellows will create a new composition that will be the focus of an intensive week of collective and individual daily rehearsals and workshops with Bermel and artists from the widely-praised Music from Copland House ensemble. Evening discussion sessions focus on practical and professional career matters, and feature prominent, forward-looking arts leaders. CULTIVATE will conclude with a public concert by the ensemble on Sunday afternoon, June 7 on Copland House's mainstage performance series at Merestead, featuring the world premieres of all the new works.

CULTIVATE offers a period of concentrated, reflective work within the kind of collegial, nurturing environment that Copland himself always fostered. Fellows also benefit from pre- and post-CULTIVATE creative and professional guidance. All costs of composer participation, working sessions and rehearsals, travel, accommodations, and meals are covered by Copland House.