Seven Emerging Composers Chosen for 2009 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute

Composers will travel to Minneapolis for Orchestra’s acclaimed professional training program; Institute runs from November 17-22, 2009, highlighted by November 21 Future Classics concert

Seven emerging composers have been selected as participants in the Minnesota Orchestra’s ninth annual Composer Institute, Institute Director Aaron Jay Kernis announced today. Chosen from a pool of 143 candidates through a competitive process, the composers hail from locations throughout the U.S. as well as Spain and Hong Kong , and their works represent a variety of musical styles. They will travel to Minneapolis from November 17 to 22, 2009, for six days of rehearsals, seminars and tutoring sessions, as well as a public concert of their works on Saturday, November 21, led by Music Director Osmo Vänskä.

The participants are Fernando Buide of Santiago , Spain ; Geoff Knorr of Baltimore , Maryland ; Hong Kong native Angel Lam of New Haven , Connecticut ; Kathryn Salfelder of Boston , Massachusetts ; Carl Schimmel of Grinnell , Iowa ; Spencer Topel of Hanover , New Hampshire ; and Roger Zare of Sarasota , Florida .

“We received dozens of exceptionally-crafted scores, which made the final choices difficult,” says Mr. Kernis, who chaired the selection panel. “The high quality of submissions confirms what we know from past Composer Institutes: the future of new orchestral music is vibrant and strong.” Other panel members included composers Derek Bermel, Donald Crockett and Steven Stucky, as well as Orchestra violist Kenneth Freed.

Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute: Acclaimed program enters ninth year The Orchestra’s Composer Institute, co-presented with the American Composers Forum in cooperation with the American Music Center , is widely recognized as one of the leading professional training programs for emerging symphonic composers. The Institute, directed by Kernis, is an outgrowth of the Orchestra’s Perfect Pitch program, an annual series of new music reading sessions for Minnesota composers launched during the 1995-96 season. Many of the 86 composers who have previously taken part in Perfect Pitch and the Composer Institute have gone on to receive major commissions, awards, grants and additional performances of their works.

More on the 2009 Composer Institute participants
Fernando Buide’s compositions have been performed by such ensembles as the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Latin American String Quartet and Real Filharmonía de Galicia in his native Spain . In addition to orchestral and chamber music, he writes for choral and wind ensembles. He earned degrees at Carnegie Mellon University and the Yale School of Music. The Orchestra will perform his Antiphonies.

Geoff Knorr is a recent graduate of the Peabody Conservatory, where he earned degrees in music composition and recording arts and sciences. His music has been honored with numerous awards including the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award. He works as a composer and sound designer at the computer game developer Firaxis Games. The Orchestra will perform his Shadows of the Infinite.

Angel Lam’s music has been heard throughout the U.S. and in many major cities around the world. In recent years her composition Empty Mountain, Spirit Rain was included in the touring repertoire of the Silk Road Ensemble. In fall 2009 her new work for cello and orchestra will be premiered by Yo-Yo Ma and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. The Orchestra will perform her In Search of Seasons.

Kathryn Salfelder has recently won several major composition awards including the ASCAP/CBDNA Frederick Fennell Prize and the U.S. Air Force Band’s Colonel Arnald D. Gabriel Award. In addition to her work as a composer, she is also active as a pianist. She earned a bachelor’s degree at the New England Conservatory and will begin studies at Yale in fall 2009. The Orchestra will perform her Dessin No. 1.

Carl Schimmel is assistant professor of composition and theory at Illinois State University. His music has been heard across North America, Europe and Asia, and has been recognized with many awards. In 2008 he was interviewed on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered about his Elemental Homunculi for piano, saxophone and squeaky toy. The Orchestra will perform his Woolgatherer’s Chapbook.

Spencer Topel is currently pursuing a doctor of musical arts degree at Cornell University, and serves as lecturer and technical director at Dartmouth College in the Digital Musics Program. In addition, he holds degrees from the Juilliard School. His compositions have been performed at venues ranging from New York ’s Carnegie Hall to the Tokyo City Opera Hall. The Orchestra will perform his Incendio.

Roger Zare has earned composition degrees from the University of Southern California and Peabody Conservatory of music, and is now pursuing a doctorate at the University of Michigan . He has won such major awards as the prestigious ASCAP Rudolf Nissim Prize and two BMI Student Composer Awards. In addition to composing he plays piano and violin. The Orchestra will perform his Aerodynamics.

In addition to the seven composers chosen to participate in the Composer Institute, the panel designated the following applicants as alternates: Wang Jie, Ching-Mei Lin and Alex Miller. Named as runners-up are: Jean Ahn, Armando Bayolo, Ted Goldman and David Weaver. Cited for honorable mention are: Christopher Cerrone, Peter Fahey, Matthew Hough, Chia-Yi Hsu, Sally Lamb, Xinyan Li, Arthur McCaffrey, Andrew McPherson, Andreia Pinto-Correia, Gity Razaz and Vladamir Smirnov.

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