Yale composers win New Music USA grants

 

More than two dozen student, alumni, and faculty composers from the Yale School of Music have received grants from New Music USA for a variety of commissions, projects, and performances. This year, New Music USA has helped fund 114 projects with grants totaling more than $500,000. Please join us in congratulating the following members of our composition community.

Students

Gabrielle Herbst ’20MM is a part of a project titled “The Female Gaze” through which works featuring the female voice are commissioned and performed. A twist on the trope of the “male gaze,” the project’s composers, performers, and intended audience members are all women. Herbst’s First Lady of the Air was inspired by the life of Amelia Earhart.

Joel Thompson ’20MMA received a commission from the Grant Park Music Festival’s FestivalNext initiative, part of Chicago’s Night Out in the Parks program, which brings classical performances into Chicago neighborhoods. Thompson’s string quartet will be performed by fellows from the festival’s Project Inclusionprofessional development program, which serves young musicians of historically underrepresented identities.

Liliya Ugay ’16MM ’22DMA was a Fellow at the CULTIVATE 2018 Emerging Composers’ Institute, which was created by the Music from Copland House ensemble. The program commissioned Ugay and other fellows to write pieces that were later workshopped, performed, and recorded.

Alumni

The Los Angeles-based Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra will commission 20 composers, with commissioned works to be performed in the 2020 season as part of the organization’s 20×2020 series. Of those composers, eight are YSM alumni or faculty: Andy Akiho ’11MM, Krists Auznieks ’16MM ’22DMA, Christopher Cerrone ’09MM ’10MMA ’14DMA, Natalie Dietterich ’16MM ’17MMA, Ted Hearne ’08MM ’09MMA ’14DMA, Hannah Lash ’12AD, Peter Shin ’20MMA, and Sarah Kirkland Snider ’05MM ’06AD.

Works by Reena Esmail ’11MM and Caroline Shaw ’07MM will be performed by the multi-genre string quartet Brooklyn Rider as part of the ensemble’s “Healing Modes” program in April 2020 at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland. “Healing Modes” was inspired by the idea that music is a force for healing.

The composing-performing group Invisible Anatomy, including Ian Gottlieb ’15MM, Paul Kerekes ’12MM ’14MMA ’19DMA, Brendon Randall-Myers ’14MM, Ben Wallace ’14MM ’21DMA, and Fay Wang ’10MM ’12AD, presented Illumination as part of the 2019 Tribeca New Music Festival. The performance combined music and performance art and was based on the role of light in human life.

Molly Joyce ’17MM was one of the composers commissioned in 2016 by Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble as part of its celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Parks System. A CD of the commissioned works will be released on Innova Recordings. Joyce also received a grant for her project “Breaking and Entering,” which examines physical immobility in dance and music.

Works by Molly Joyce ’17MM, Loren Loiacono ’10BA ’12MM, and Tanner Porter ’19MM were performed as part of “Sing Out, Justice!” a program presented by the Albany Symphony’s 2019 American Music Festival. The festival commemorated the anniversaries of the passage of the 19th Amendment and the Stonewall riots.

Caroline Mallonee ’00MM will have her String Tunes recorded by the Buffalo Chamber Players, for whom she is the composer-in-residence. String Tunes  consists of 12 solos, two trios, one duo, and one quartet.

Marc Mellits ’91MM will be commissioned to write for the Chicago Opera Theater as part of Ear Taxi 2020, the second Chicago Festival of New Music put on by New Music Chicago. The festival’s mission is to support Chicago-based composers, artists, and performers by connecting them with cultural institutions.

Matthew Welch ’13MMA ’17DMA collaborated with five other composers to create the opera Chunky in Heat, which premiered this summer as part of Experiments in Opera’s 2018-2019 residency at the Flea Theater in New York City. Welch is a co-founder of Experiments in Opera.

Faculty

Faculty composer Martin Bresnick will be commissioned by the PRISM Quartet for its performance and recording project “Mending Wall,” which explores the role of walls in today’s society. Bresnick’s piece is based on the 1914 Robert Frost poem of the same name.

Faculty composer Christopher Theofanidis ’94MMA ’97DMA will write a piece for the Allentown Symphony Orchestra for its celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, in 2020. The work, for strings and harpsichord, will examine themes of conservation and environmentalism.

Published July 11, 2019
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Ascendant composers prepare new works for Yale Philharmonia performance

Left to right: Alishan Gezgin, Krists Auznieks, Eli Greenhoe, Fjola Evans, Liliya Ugay

On Thursday, Dec. 7, conducting fellow David Yi will lead the Yale Philharmonia in a program of new orchestral works by several of YSM’s graduate-student composers. We spoke recently with composers Alishan Gezgin (The Passage), Krists Auznieks (Grace), Eli Greenhoe (Wrest), Fjola Evans (Lung), and Liliya Ugay (To the Lost World) about composing and preparing their pieces for performance.

Q: What does it mean to you that the orchestra performing your piece is an ensemble of your peers? 

Gezgin: For me, being a composer is most meaningful when I can connect sounds and ideas to real human beings I know and care about. It’s a gift, how deeply embedded this piece feels in the Yale community. Everything in the piece emerges from my time here, the conversations and experiences I’ve shared with friends and teachers, and the countless new ideas those exchanges have brought me.

Auznieks: It is always a pleasure working with people who share your life experience; they are the ones who are most likely to understand the cultural context of where the piece is coming from, and in that sense they are also the best judges of the music.

Greenhoe: I already feel so lucky to have the opportunity to attend YSM and study among friends and colleagues who are some of the finest musicians I know of. To have the opportunity to write a piece specifically for them to play, and knowing the profound depth of musicality among the student body here, is a rare opportunity and (to borrow a cliché) a total dream-come-true.

Evans: I’m really excited to have written this piece for an orchestra of my classmates. Getting to attend the Yale Philharmonia concerts in Woolsey Hall while writing my piece was great. It’s rare that you get to see the ensemble you are writing for perform in the same hall your piece will be premiered — being there helped me to viscerally imagine what I wanted my piece to sound and feel like.

Ugay: It means that the musicians of the orchestra are able to connect to my music in a personal way, as many of them know me as a person and/or have already worked with me/played my music before. It deepens the mutual understanding and eases communication between the orchestra and the composer, something a composer can (usually) achieve only by working with one orchestra for years. MORE

Published November 30, 2017
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Hilary Purrington receives American Composers Orchestra commission

Hilary Purrington

Composer Hilary Purrington ’17MMA has been awarded the American Composers Orchestra’s 2017 Underwood Emerging Composer Commission, “bringing her a $15,000 commission for a work to be premiered by ACO in a future season,” according to a press release issued by the organization. Purrington was one of six finalists to participate, in late June, in the ACO’s Underwood New Music Readings, during which the orchestra played her 2016 piece Likely Pictures in a Haphazard Sky. More than 250 composers submitted work to the annual program.

Derek Bermel, the ACO’s artistic director, was quoted in the press release as saying, “Hilary Purrington’s music spoke in a highly personal voice … Her work unfolded assuredly, revealing an orchestral palette at once austere and lyrical.”

“The Underwood New Music Readings were beyond anything I expected or anticipated,” Purrington was quoted as saying. “I learned so much from our mentor composers, conductor George Manahan, and the extraordinary musicians of the American Composers Orchestra. I’m honored and thrilled to receive the Underwood Commission, and I’m very excited to compose for these incredible and fearless musicians!”

The mentor composers who participated are Libby Larsen, David Rakowski, and Trevor Weston.

“Founded in 1977,” the press release reads, “American Composers Orchestra is the only orchestra in the world dedicated to the creation, performance, preservation, and promulgation of music by American composers. ACO makes the creation of new opportunities for American composers and new American orchestral music its central purpose.”

School of Music alumnus Andy Akiho ’11MM was awarded the ACO’s 2014 Underwood Commission.

PRESS RELEASE
HILARY PURRINGTON

Published July 11, 2017
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Acclaimed chamber ensembles A Far Cry and Roomful of Teeth to perform works by Caroline Shaw and Ted Hearne

Caroline Shaw ’07MM

The Michigan Daily | Dayton Hare

At its heart, public music making is about the way in which we exist in the same time and place as other people. It’s about how we communicate with and relate to one another. The playing of music is a conversation of sorts, an interaction undertaken between the musicians and the listeners, each member of the dialogue giving something and taking something away. It’s not a coincidence, then, that some of the most interesting and engaging music composed both throughout history and today comes from a wellspring of mutually supportive and inspiring relationships between musicians. On Wednesday night, concert goers at Rackham Auditorium will have the chance to witness the fruits of some of these relationships in a joint concert by the contemporary music ensembles A Far Cry and Roomful of Teeth.

READ FULL ARTICLE

Published April 11, 2017
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Augusta Read Thomas to launch Ear Taxi Festival

Augusta Read Thomas | Photo by Anthony Barlich

Conceived in 2013 by composer Augusta Read Thomas MM, the inaugural Ear Taxi Festival, scheduled to take place October 5-10, will celebrate Chicago’s flourishing and dynamic contemporary music scene with concerts, lectures, sound installations, webcasts, and artist receptions.

“The open collaborative nature of Chicago’s new music community is home to an extraordinary crop of ensembles and a vibrant landscape of composers,” Thomas has said. “The scene for new music in Chicago is exceptional and I dedicate myself to supporting and encouraging its sustainability and growth.” MORE

Published August 26, 2016
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[ concerts ]

New Music New Haven features Kernis and Lang

LangKernis

David Lang, Aaron Jay Kernis

The New Music New Haven concert series at the Yale School of Music continues on Thursday, April 14 at 7:30pm, with the music of faculty members Aaron Jay Kernis and David Lang, along with new works by graduate student composers. MORE

Published April 6, 2016
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[ concerts ]

New Music New Haven features Theofanidis and Vees March 10

Christopher Theofanidis Photo by Matt Fried

The New Music New Haven concert series at the Yale School of Music presents a concert on Thursday, March 10 at 7:30 pm. The concert will feature the music of Christopher Theofanidis and Jack Vees along with new works by graduate student composers.

The program will include selections from two of Theofanidis’ operas: “Juliet’s Aria” from Heart of a Soldier, written in 2011 for the San Francisco Opera, and “El Salvador” from The Refuge, which Theofanidis wrote for the Houston Grand Opera in 2007. Both arias will be sung by Jazimina MacNeil, mezzo-soprano, with pianist David Fung.

Jack Vees’ Piano Trio (Hulk Smash!), written for three performers on two pianos, will be played by composition alumni Benjamin Wallace, Paul Kerekes, and Fay Wang. Vees’ Ambulant Music, for brass sextet, earned its title “for the simple reason that the performers do walk (on and off) as part of the performance,” says the composer. MORE

Published February 25, 2016
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[ students & alumni ]

YSM faculty and alumni receive grants from New Music USA

Harold Meltzer | Photo by Emily Greta Tabourin

Harold Meltzer | Photo by Emily Greta Tabourin

Several YSM faculty and alumni composers and performers have been selected to receive grants from New Music USA for its Fall 2015 Project Grants Awards. Totaling $276,770 in funding, the awards support artistic work involving a wide range of new American music. The 53 awarded projects include concerts and recordings as well as dance, theater, opera, and more, all involving contemporary music as an essential element. The public can explore awarded projects from all five rounds via media-rich project pages.

Harold Meltzer ’97 MMA, ’00 DMA was recognized as part of the American Notes commissioning initiative by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Along with composer Jessie Montgomery, Meltzer has been commissioned to create an original orchestral work for Orpheus to be premiered at Carnegie Hall and on tour to audiences across America in 2016.

The Music Mondays series in New York City was awarded a grant for the first-ever full-length portrait concert in New York City for Judd Greenstein ’04 MM. Titled City Boy: Music of Judd Greenstein, the concert featured the Claremont Trio, NOW Ensemble, and Roomful of Teeth, and was held on February 15, 2016 on the Upper West Side. MORE

Published February 23, 2016
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[ in the press ]

Vivid Sections: Invisible Anatomy Take a Bold Stance on Classical Performance

Invisible Anatomy | Photo by Henry Chan

Invisible Anatomy | Photo by Henry Chan

Village Voice |

It begins much like any show at any small club in New York. Under glowing lights, the musicians, in casual clothing, take up their instruments. They smile at one another with a relaxed warmth; they acknowledge their audience. They begin to play.

It sounds like indie rock, familiar and pleasant. The singer’s voice is sweet and smooth. And then you notice: She’s not singing words, but making sounds that mimic actual lyrics. What started as a melody line is lasting too long and becoming strange. One of the players moves his body in a way that looks painful, then does something to his instrument that makes it sound like it’s breaking. It is otherworldly and uncanny. It is definitely not a rock concert.

This is Invisible Anatomy, a contemporary classical chamber ensemble. On January 28 they premiere a new evening-length work, Dissections, at National Sawdust, Brooklyn’s recently opened hub for experimental music. Like the venue, Invisible Anatomy aim to break down the barrier between pop and so-called New Music — and they want it to be fun. MORE

Published January 27, 2016
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[ concerts ]

Hannah Lash offers three new works Feb. 9

Hannah Lash, composition facultyThe Faculty Artist Series at the Yale School of Music a concert of music by prize-winning composer Hannah Lash on Tuesday, February 9 at 7:30 pm.

Performing Lash’s music will be The City of Tomorrow wind quintet as well as YSM students and alumni: Molly Netter, soprano; Jeff Stern, percussion; Samuel Suggs, bass; Jacob Ashworth, violin; and Lee Dionne, piano.

The program will feature the world premieres of three new works by Lash. The City of Tomorrow will present a wind quintet, Hero and Leander. The Sonata for Violin and Piano will be performed by Jacob Ashworth and Lee Dionne. Four Songs will feature the composer on harp along with Molly Netter, soprano; Samuel Suggs, double bass; and Jeff Stern, percussion. MORE

Published January 20, 2016
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