Category: Ledes

Wadada Leo Smith Receives $25K Mohn Career Achievement Award

Wadada sitting and leaning his head on his left hand. Photo by Maarit Kyto Harju, courtesy Braithwaite & Katz Communications.

Composer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith has received the Hammer Museum’s 2016 Mohn Award for Career Achievement “honoring brilliance and resilience.” The $25,000 Award was announced by the museum on August 16 and presented in conjunction with the exhibition Made in L.A. 2016: a, the, through, only, organized by Hammer curator Adam Moshayedi and Hamza Walker, director of education and associate curator, Renaissance Society.

“The jury wants to acknowledge Wadada Leo Smith’s outstanding achievements as a musician, his influential work as a teacher and a mentor for younger artists in Los Angeles, and the decades-long expansion of an inventive, complex and layered system of notation simultaneously interrogating the pictoral and the performative,” stated Juse Luis Blondet, curator, Special Initiatives, Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

“I’m so honored to have won this award,” said Smith.  “I’m so happy that my scores are being viewed as works of art.  That means the world to me.”

Smith, who turns 75 in December 2016, recently received a 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award and received an honorary doctorate from CalArts, where he was honored as Faculty Emeritus. He maintains an active touring and recording schedule. His latest epic recording America’s National Parks—a six-movement suite inspired by the scenic splendor, historic legacy, and political controversies of our nation’s public landscapes and featuring pianist Anthony Davis, bassist John Lindberg, drummer Pheeroan akLaff, and cellist Ashley Walters—will be released October 14, 2016 on Cuneiform Records.  Later this year, TUM Records will release Wadada Leo Smith: Nagwa featuring Smith with guitarists Michael Gregory Jackson, Henry Kaiser, Brandon Ross and Lamar Smith, plus Bill Laswell on electric bass, Pheeroan akLaff on drums, and Adam Rudolph on percussion. Coming on TUM in early 2017 will be Alone: Reflections and Meditations on Monk, a solo recording by Smith. Smith’s 2016 schedule includes performances at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, Berlin Jazz Festival, Molde Jazz Festival, Pittsburgh International LiveJazz Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Vision Festival, Festival Suoni Per il Pipolo, Summer Stage, NYC and the premiere of his opera /cantata Rosa Parks at the FONT Festival.

In May 2012, an extensive conversation with Wadada Leo Smith was published on NewMusicBox. The entire transcript of the conversation is available here.

A conversation with Frank J. Oteri at the Affinia Gardens Hotel in New York City
December 14, 2011—11:00 a.m.
Video presentation and photography by Molly Sheridan
Transcribed by Julia Lu

In addition to the Mohn Award for Career Achievement, there are two other Mohn awards. Dancer and choreographer Adam Linder also received the Mohn Award for Artistic Excellence and Kenzi Shiokava received the Public Recognition Award. These three awards, which total $150,000, are among the largest art prizes dedicated to recognizing the work of emerging and under-recognized artists from the greater Los Angeles region. A jury of professional curators selected the Artistic Excellence and Career Achievement awards while the award for Public Recognition was determined by on-site voting from June 11 through August 14, 2016. The jury included: Ingrid Schaffner, curator, 57th Carnegie International, 2018, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Mika Yoshitake, associate curator, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; and Jose Luis Blondet, curator, Special Initiatives, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. All three awards were once again funded through the generosity of Los Angeles philanthropists and art collectors Jarl and Pamela Mohn and the Mohn Family Foundation as part of Made in L.A., the Hammer’s biennial exhibition series highlighting emerging and under-recognized artists from the Los Angeles region.

(—from the press release)

Carlos Simon Wins $15,000 ACO Underwood Emerging Composer Commission

American Composers Orchestra (ACO) has awarded composer Carlos Simon its 2016 Underwood Commission, bringing him $15,000 for a work that will be given its world premiere performance by ACO on May 23, 2017 at Symphony Space in New York City. Chosen from seven finalists during ACO’s 25th Underwood New Music Readings on June 13-14, 2016, Simon won the top prize with his work Plagues of Egypt.

Composer, arranger and performer Carlos Simon combines the influences of jazz, gospel, and neo-romanticism in his music. Simon was named the winner of the 2015 Marvin Hamlisch Film Scoring Contest. Serving as music director and keyboardist for GRAMMY Award winner Jennifer Holliday, he has performed with the Boston Pops Symphony, Jackson Symphony, and the St. Louis Symphony. Simon is currently earning his Doctorate Degree at the University of Michigan, where he has studied with Michael Daugherty and Evan Chambers. He received his Master’s Degree at Georgia State University studying with Nickitas Demos and earned his Bachelor’s Degree at Morehouse College studying with Robert Tanner. In 2011, he was on faculty at Morehouse College, teaching music theory. For the 2015-2016 season, Carlos Simon served as the young composer-in-residence for the Detroit Chamber Strings and Winds.

Upon winning the Underwood commission, Carlos Simon said, “I am extremely grateful to be chosen for this prestigious opportunity. As a composer, there is no greater honor than to express my gifts through such amazingly talented musicians. I can’t wait to work with Maestro Manahan and ACO.” ACO Artistic Director Derek Bermel added, “Carlos Simon’s score was rich, colorful, and bold, brimming with dramatic urgency.”

In addition, for the seventh year, audience members at the Underwood New Music Readings had a chance to make their voices heard through the Audience Choice Award. The winner this year was composer Paul Frucht, for his piece Dawn, written for his middle school assistant principal Dawn Hochsprung, who was killed in 2012’s shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. As the winner, Frucht will compose an original mobile phone an original mobile phone ringtone which will be available to everyone who voted, free of charge.

(—from the press release)

Chamber Music America Announces $483,000 in Grants for New Works

Chamber Music America (CMA), the national network for ensemble music professionals, today announced the recipients of its 2016 commissioning programs, supporting the creation of new works for small ensembles. CMA will distribute a total of $483,100 to 21 ensembles through two of its major grant programs: New Jazz Works, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and Classical Commissioning, supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The ensembles selected this year reflect the diverse array of styles performed by small ensembles in the U.S. today, ranging from classical/contemporary keyboard sextet to jazz piano-violin duo to traditional wind, string, vocal, and jazz quartets. Independent peer panels of jazz and classical musicians selected the grantees in their respective programs in the spring. A list of grantees, composers, and instrumentation follows:

New Jazz Works
(Funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation)

A total of $272,000 was awarded to nine jazz ensembles through the New Jazz Works program, which supports the creation of new works by professional U.S.-based jazz artists and helps assure that these compositions will be heard through live performances and recordings.

Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet (Oakland, CA)
Composer: Ambrose Akinmusire
Instrumentation: Trumpet, piano/keyboards, bass, drums

Geof Bradfield Ensemble (Chicago, IL)
Composer: Geof Bradfield
Instrumentation: Tenor saxophone/bass clarinet, flute/tenor saxophone, alto saxophone/clarinet, trumpet, trombone, guitar/live electronics, bass, drums

Sylvie Courvoisier Mark Feldman DUO (Brooklyn, NY)
Composer: Sylvie Courvoisier
Instrumentation: Piano, violin

Musae (Union City, NJ)
Composer: Roman Filiu O’Reilly
Instrumentation: Alto saxophone, tenor saxophone/vocals, piano, guitar, bass, drums, percussion

Ryan Keberle and Catharsis (Brooklyn, NY)
Composer: Ryan Keberle
Instrumentation: Trombone/melodica, voice, trumpet, bass, drums

Chris Lightcap’s Bigmouth (Brooklyn, NY)
Composer: Chris Lightcap
Instrumentation: Bass, saxophones, guitars, keyboards, drums

Todd Marcus Jazz Orchestra (Baltimore, MD)
Composer: Todd Marcus
Instrumentation: Bass clarinet, alto saxophone/flute, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, trumpet, trombone, piano, bass, drums

Adam Rudolph’s Moving Pictures (Maplewood, NJ)
Composer: Adam Rudolph
Instrumentation: Multiple percussion instruments, thumb piano, sintir, cornet/flugelhorn, multiple woodwinds, electronic keyboards, guitar, bass

Wayne Shorter Quartet (Los Angeles, CA)
Composer: Wayne Shorter
Instrumentation: Soprano/tenor saxophone, piano, bass, drums

Classical Commissioning
(Funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation)

Twelve grants totaling $211,100 have been awarded through the Classical Commissioning program, which provides support for U.S.-based professional classical and world music ensembles and presenters for the creation and performance of new chamber works by American composers.

andPlay (New York, NY)
Composer: Ravi Kittappa
Instrumentation: Violin, viola

District5 (College Park, MD)
Composer: Evis Sammoutis
Instrumentation: Flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon

Grand Band (New York, NY)
Composer: Missy Mazzoli
Instrumentation: Six pianos

Horszowski Trio (New York, NY)
Composer: Andreia Pinto-Correia
Instrumentation: Violin, cello, piano

loadbang (New York, NY)
Composer: Mark Applebaum
Instrumentation: Trumpet, trombone, bass clarinet, baritone voice

Mantra Percussion (Woodside, NY)
Composer: Aaron Siegel
Instrumentation: Multiple percussion instruments, plus guest woodwinds

New York Polyphony (Brooklyn, NY)
Composer: Gregory Spears
Instrumentation: Countertenor, tenor, baritone, bass

Projeto Arcomusical (DeKalb, IL)
Composer: Elliot Cole
Instrumentation: Six berimbaus

Quince (Chicago, IL)
Composer: LJ White
Instrumentation: Three sopranos, one mezzo-soprano, electronics

Splinter Reeds (Oakland, CA)
Composer: Sky Macklay
Instrumentation: Clarinet, oboe, alto saxophone, bass clarinet, bassoon

Thalea String Quartet (San Francisco, CA)
Composer: Vincent Calianno
Instrumentation: Two violins, viola, violoncello, video playback with fixed 3-channel soundtrack

thingNY (Astoria, NY)
Composer: Rick Burkhardt
Instrumentation: Soprano, clarinet, saxophone, violin, percussion, double bass, plus speaking and singing by all ensemble members

Chamber Music America’s commissioning programs are also supported by the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the Amphion Foundation, the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, and the Chamber Music America Commissioning Endowment Fund. More information about Chamber Music America’s grant programs, including past grantees and projects, is available on their website.

(–from the press release)

NYFA and EtM Announce Fellowships and Residencies to NY Composers

The New York Foundation for the Arts has announced the recipients and finalists of its Artists’ Fellowship Program. The organization has awarded unrestricted cash grants of $7,000 to artists working in 15 disciplines, totalling $647,000 to 98 artists (including five collaborations) throughout New York State. Finalists, who do not receive a cash award, benefit from a range of other NYFA services.

A list of the fellows and finalists in the area of music/sound includes:


Gordon Beeferman (New York)
Lisa Bielawa (New York)
Anthony G. Coleman (New York)
Joe Diebes (New York)
Du Yun (New York)
Jeffrey Fairbanks (Queens)
Randy Gibson (Kings)
Stephanie Griffin (New York)
Warp Trio – Joshua Henderson/Mikael Darmanie/Ju Young Lee (New York)
Sarah Hennies (Tompkins)
Molly Herron (New York)
Eli Keszler (Kings)
M. Lamar (Kings)
Qasim Ali Naqvi (Kings)
Angélica Negrón (New York)
Sam Newsome (New York)
Jeff Talman (Bronx)
Max Vernon (Kings)


Andrew Drury (Kings)
Anthony Gatto (New York)
Scott Wollschleger (Kings)

Music / Sound Panelists

Laura Andel (Kings)
Christina Campanella (New York)
Daniel Davis (Broome)
Satoshi Kanazawa (Queens)

*Above image clockwise from top left: Du Yun, Lisa Bielawa, Randy Gibson, Molly Herron, Gordon Beeferman, and Angélica Negrón.

(More information available via the New York Foundation for the Arts)

con ed residencies

Clockwise from top left: Tidtaya Sinutoke, Kathleen Tagg, Doug Balliett, Volker Goetze, and Lea Bertucci.

Exploring the Metropolis, Inc. has announced their 2016-17 Con Edison Composers-in-Residence awardees. Five New York-based composers, covering a wide range of styles, have each been selected for a six-month residency in one of EtM’s partnering cultural or community facilities in addition to a $2,500 stipend. The list of recipients and their host facility includes:

Doug Balliett
Residency: Bloomingdale School of Music

Lea Bertucci
Residency: Queens Museum

Volker Goetze
Residency: Turtle Bay Music School

Tidtaya Sinutoke
Residency: Flushing Town Hall

Kathleen Tagg
Residency: Brooklyn Youth Chorus

Panelists were: Eve Beglarian, Domenica Fossati, Mary Kouyoumdjian, and Kamala Sankaram.

(More information available via Exploring the Metropolis)

2017 NEA Jazz Masters Fellows Announced

NEA logo

The National Endowment for the Arts has announced the 2017 NEA Jazz Masters Fellows, which is the United States government’s highest honor in jazz. Five individuals (four musicians and one advocate)—vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, composer/pianist Dick Hyman, composer/bassist Dave Holland, composer/organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, and jazz historian Ira Gitler—will be recognized for their lifetime achievements and exceptional contributions to the advancement of jazz. Each will receive a $25,000 award and be honored at a tribute concert on Monday, April 3, 2017, produced in collaboration with the Kennedy Center, which will be free and open to the public and also available through a live web stream.

NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, “For 35 years, the National Endowment for the Arts has celebrated jazz, one of our nation’s most important cultural contributions, by honoring those who have dedicated their lives to this music. I am pleased to welcome these five individuals with their artistry, energy, and commitment to jazz to the NEA Jazz Masters family.”

A collage of photos of the 2017 NEA Jazz Masters

Bridgewater is a daring performer of great depth whose singing talents have earned her both a Tony and multiple Grammy Awards. In addition, her commanding personality made her a natural for hosting the award-winning National Public Radio syndicated radio show JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater from 2001 to 2014.

Holland is one of the most versatile bassists in jazz, working across different styles seamlessly, from traditional to avant-garde jazz to world and folk music. He is also an accomplished composer and bandleader, bringing together musicians of exceptional talent to perform his intricate compositions. In a career spanning five decades, he has continued to evolve musically with each new project while honing his instantly identifiable sound.

Hyman is a piano virtuoso who has been known for playing in any style he wants. A masterful improviser, he is also a composer of concertos and chamber music, and the soundtrack composer/arranger for more than a dozen Woody Allen films. In addition, he launched the acclaimed Jazz in July series at the 92nd Street Y in New York City and served as its artistic director for 20 years.

Smith is a master Hammond B3 jazz organist and composer who, in a career spanning more than 50 years, has been featured on more than 70 jazz, blues, and rhythm-and-blues recordings. He is considered one of the premier purveyors of funk/soul jazz.

Gitler is an American jazz historian, journalist, educator, and author who has written several books about jazz and hundreds of liner notes for jazz recordings. He has also written for many jazz publications, and served as associate editor of Downbeat during the 1960s. In the 1980s and ’90s he produced concerts for George Wein’s New York jazz festivals. Gitler also taught jazz history at several colleges and is considered one of the great historians and champions of the music.

Each year since 1982, the National Endowment for the Arts has conferred the NEA Jazz Masters award. With this new class, the NEA has awarded 145 fellowships to great figures in jazz. NEA Jazz Master Fellowships are bestowed on living individuals on the basis of nominations from the public including the jazz community. The NEA encourages nominations of a broad range of men and women who have been significant to the field of jazz, through vocals, instrumental performance, creative leadership, and education. The annual award for a non-performing jazz advocate, bestowed upon an individual who has contributed significantly to the appreciation, knowledge, and advancement of the art form of jazz, is named in honor of poet, music critic and historian A.B. Spellman who served as an NEA Administrator from 1975 to 2005. The NEA also supports the Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program, an effort to document the lives and careers of NEA Jazz Masters. In addition to transcriptions of the comprehensive interviews, the website also includes audio clips with interview excerpts. This project has transcribed the oral histories of more than 90 NEA Jazz Masters. The NEA is currently accepting nominations for the 2018 NEA Jazz Masters (deadline: December 31, 2016). Visit for more information and to submit a nomination.

(—from the press release)


2016 Pew Arts Grants Announced

Pew 2016 Grants

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage has announced their 2016 grants in support of the Philadelphia region’s cultural organizations and artists. Fifty three grants totaling more than $10 million will provide funding for twelve new Pew Fellowships for individual artists working in a variety of disciplines; thirty six Project grants for the presentation of exceptional cultural programs offered to a wide range of audiences; and five Advancement grants to support bold organizational initiatives led by exemplary arts and culture organizations.

Grants awarded to those working in the area of new American music include:

2016 Pew Fellows

Andrea Clearfield
Christopher Colucci
Matthew Levy
Jymie Merritt

2016 Pew Project Grants

That Which Is Fundamental

The Anchoress

Composing the Tinnitus Suites: 2016

Philadelphia Real Book Concerts – New Music in Jazz and Blues

Breath Beneath

Symphony for a Broken Orchestra

2016 Pew Advancement Grant


(–From the press release. Read the full announcement here.)

Opera Philadelphia Names Rene Orth 6th Composer in Residence

Rene Orth

Opera Philadelphia, in collaboration with Music-Theatre Group in New York, has announced that composer Rene Orth has been selected as its sixth composer in residence. Funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the position combines an individualized plan of study with a living stipend and health benefits.

Orth’s appointment began on June 1, 2016. She joins composers in residence David T. Little, who was appointed in June 2014, and David Hertzberg, who was appointed in June 2015. Composers Missy Mazzoli, Lembit Beecher, and Andrew Norman have all completed their residencies with Opera Philadelphia.

Originally from Dallas, Orth recently completed her studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she held the Edward B. Garrigues Fellowship and studied with David Ludwig, Jennifer Higdon, and Richard Danielpour. Her chamber opera Empty the House, with a libretto by Mark Campbell, received its world premiere with Curtis Opera Theatre in a sold-out run in January 2016. The piece was also selected to be a part of Fort Worth Opera’s FRONTIERS showcase in May 2016.

Orth is a recipient of a 2016 OPERA America Discovery Grant for Female Composers, which will help provide funding for the development of Machine, a new chamber opera with librettist Jason Kim. In 2014, Washington National Opera commissioned Orth for a chamber opera, An American Man. With a libretto by Jason Kim, the work premiered at the Kennedy Center as part of WNO’s American Opera Initiative.

(–From the press release. Read the full announcement here.)

Music Publishers Association Announces 2016 Paul Revere Awards

A display of the 2016 Paul Revere Award winning scores

The 2016 Paul Revere Awards for Graphic Excellence were announced during the luncheon of the annual meeting of the Music Publishers Association at the Redbury Hotel in New York City on Friday, June 10. Among the award-winning publications were a violin concerto by Steven Mackey, a timpani concerto by William Kraft, a Thelonious Monk-inspired wind band piece by John Harbison, two settings of poems by E. E. Cummings for women’s chorus by Augusta Read Thomas, and a work for flute orchestra by Daniel Dorff. All-in-all, publications in 13 separate award categories, ranging from educational folios to piano and guitar solos to choral and full orchestra scores, were honored. As perhaps a sign of changing times, the award category “Publications for Electronic Distribution” has been eliminated since at this point publishers can submit digital scores for consideration in any of the other categories.  A complete list of award-winning publications appears below.

Full Scores

1st Prize – Steven Mackey: Beautiful Passing, a concerto for violin and orchestra (Hendon Music, Boosey & Hawkes)
2nd Prize – William Bolcom: String Quartets Nos. 1 – 6 (Edward B. Marks)

Chamber Ensembles

1st Prize – Daniel Dorff: Zoe & Xena for piccolo and bass clarinet (Theodore Presser Company)
2nd Prize – Dotzauer: Three Sonatas, op. 103 (International Music Company)
3rd Prize – James Lee III: String Quartet No. 2 (Subito Music Corporation)

Choral Music

1st Prize – Morton Lauridsen: Sure on this Shining Night (Peermusic Classical)
2nd Prize (tie) – Augusta Read Thomas: Two E. E. Cummings Songs (G. Schirmer, Inc.)
2nd Prize (tie) – Psalms for the Church: Advent and Christmas (World Library Publications)
3rd Prize – Mary McDonald (composer) and Rose M. Aspinall (lyricist): My Savior’s Love, a musical for Holy Week (Hope Publishing Co.)

Keyboard Music

1st Prize – Glenn Gould’s Goldberg Variations (Carl Fischer)
2nd Prize – Edward MacDowell: Classics for the Advancing Pianist (Alfred Music)
3rd Prize – Raymond Scott: Powerhouse (Music Sales Corporation)

Guitar Music

1st Prize – John Williams: Rounds (Hall Leonard Corporation)
2nd Prize – Philip W. Groeber, ed.: The Big & Easy Songbook for Guitar with Tablature (The FJH Company Inc.)

Piano-Vocal Music

1st Prize – Christopher Cerrone: I Will Learn to Love a Person (Schott Music Corporation)
2nd Prize – Richard Hundley: Are They Shadows (Schott Music Corporation)
3rd Prize – The Christmas Family Songbook (Alfred Music)

Solos with Accompaniment

1st Prize – William Kraft: Concerto No. 1 for Timpani and Orchestra (Theodore Presser Company)
2nd Prize (tie) – Bottesini: Fantasia Lucia di Lammermoor (International Music Company)
2nd Prize (tie) – Romberg: Sonata in E Minor, op. 38 no. 1 (International Music Company)
3rd Prize– Eccles: Sonata in G Minor (International Music Company)

Solos without Accompaniment

1st Prize – Schradieck: School of Viola Technique, Volume II (International Music Company)
2nd Prize – Elliott Carter: Mnemosyné for solo violin (Hendon Music, Boosey & Hawkes)

Collated Music (Band, Orchestra, or Large Ensemble, Score & Parts)

1st Prize – Daniel Dorff: Fireworks for flute orchestra (Theodore Presser Company)
2nd Prize – John Harbison: Rubies for symphonic band (Associated Music Publishers, G. Schirmer, Inc.)
3rd Prize – Bernhard Heiden: Diversion for alto saxophone and concert band (Keiser Southern Music)

Cover Design Featuring Photography

1st Prize – Todd A. Harris: The Lyric Flutist (Wingert-Jones Publications)
2nd Prize – Sunday Solos for Flute (Hal Leonard Corporation)
3rd Prize – Michael Daugherty: Trail of Tears for flute and chamber orchestra (Hendon Music, Boosey & Hawkes)

Cover Design Featuring Graphic Elements

1st Prize – The Christmas Family Songbook (Alfred Music)
2nd Prize – John Jacobson and John Higgins: Wing It! (Hal Leonard Corporation)
3rd Prize – Kendor Debut Solos (Kendor Music Inc.)

Design in Folios: Popular Music

1st Prize – The Songs of Cole and Johnson Brothers (E. B. Marks)

Design in Folios: Concert & Educational Music

1st Prize – Peanuts Music Activity Book (Hal Leonard Corporation)
2nd Prize – 25 Great Jazz Guitar Solos (Hal Leonard Corporation)
3rd Prize – Alfred’s Kid’s Electric Guitar Course 1 (Alfred Music)

Robert Sutherland, Chief Librarian for The Metropolitan Opera, announced the winners. This year’s Revere Awards were overseen by Sutherland. The engraving judges were Kazue McGregor, Principal Librarian for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Ronald Whitaker, Principal Librarian (retired) for the Cleveland Orchestra. Graphics judges were Nim Ben-Reuven, a freelance designer and graphics editor working primarily in print, and Mallory Grigg, a senior designer at Simon & Schuster.

Dean Kay and I. Fred Koenigsberg

Dean Kay and I. Fred Koenigsberg

Prior to the announcement of all the 2016 Revere winning scores, two additional awards were given out at the luncheon. MPA Counsel and Acting Schott Music Corporation/EAMDLLC President James M. Kendrick presented I. Fred Koenigsberg with the MPA Lifetime Achievement Award. Koenigsberg, who has spent his career as an attorney specializing in copyright and related intellectual property law, has been president of the American Intellectual Property Law Association (the first copyright lawyer to serve in that position) as well as chairman of the American Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property Law. Serving as in-house counsel for the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP) for 18 years, after his retirement Koenigsberg continues to serve as counsel to ASCAP’s Board of Directors. Newly elected MPA President Sean Patrick Flahaven, Senior Vice President of Theatre and Catalog Development for Warner/Chappell Music (WCM), presented Dean Kay with the Arnold Broido Award for Copyright Advocacy. Kay, a songwriter and music publisher who also serves on ASCAP’s board, is the editor of “The Dean’s List,” a daily email digest of news about music, copyright and new technology in the entertainment industry.

Natalie Madaj

Natalie Madaj compared the late 1990s to today during her presentation about the need to update the DMCA.

Natalie Madaj from the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) spoke to the MPA membership about efforts that are underway to work toward updating the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act to better deal with the realities of the current digital landscape. There was an afternoon panel titled “We Don’t Want it Free We Want in NOW” which debated the use of PDFs in orchestras, libraries and schools. Composer Daniel Dorff, who is also the Vice President of the Theodore Presser Company, moderated the discussion. There was also a presentation of videos created by the 2016 Copyright Awareness Scholarship Finalists. As per MPA’s tradition, the annual meeting ended with a cocktail reception which this year was accompanied by live jazz performed by the John Murchison Trio.

Paul Gunther, James Matheson, Elizabeth Davis, Erin Rogers, Susan Bush, and Daniel Dorff

Panelists for the afternoon MPA panel (pictured left to right): Minnesota Orchestra librarian Paul Gunther, composer James Matheson, Columbiua University Chief Music Librarian Elizabeth Davis, composer/saxophonist/Peermusic Production Manager Erin Rogers, Albany Records President Susan Bush, and composer/Theodore Presser VP Daniel Dorff

Thirteen Emerging Composers Will Participate in Two of USA’s Most Prestigious Orchestra Programs

Next week in New York City, a total of seven composers will have their orchestral works read by the American Orchestras Orchestra (ACO) during the 25th season of the ACO’s annual emerging composer reading sessions which, since 2005, have been called the Underwood New Music Readings in honor of Paul Underwood, a frequent commissioner of new music who has served on the ACO board since 1989.  Then, in late January/early February 2017, seven composers will participate in the Minnesota Orchestra’s 14th annual Composer Institute in Minneapolis, a week-long program culminating in performances of their seven orchestral works at the now annual “Future Classics” subscription series concert conducted by Osmo Vänskä. Only one composer, Boston-based Katherine Balch (b. 1991), will participate in both of these programs, and her 2015 nine-minute composition Leaf Catalogue, which was first performed by the Yale Philharmonia under the direction of Heejung Park, is the work of hers that will be featured on both.

“I feel extremely lucky to be able to experience both programs,” said Katherine Balch. “I hope to keep an open mind and digest as much feedback as I can about my music, its presentation, and the orchestral rehearsal process. In Leaf Catalogue, a frenzied outburst of material is contrasted with its sudden placidity. By hearing multiple orchestras work through some of the challenges of this piece, I hope to better shape its pacing, proportions, and treatment of the ensemble. Usually after I finish a piece, it undergoes an infinite processes of chipping away and refining, as I imagine will happen with Leaf Catalogue, but more pressingly, I know these experiences will inspire and inform upcoming orchestral music that I’ll be writing for the 2016-2017 season.”

The other six composers and the works of theirs that will be featured in the 2016 Underwood New Music Readings are:

Lembit Beecher (b. 1980): Chopin’s Ocean
Paul Frucht (b. 1989): Dawn
Sarah Gibson (b. 1986): Talking to the Time
Joel Rust (b. 1989): Beyond the Heart
Carlos Simon (b. 1986): Plagues of Egypt
Michael Small (b. 1988): Eastern Point

Photos of the seven 2016 Underwood Composers

The seven 2016 Underwood Composers (from left to right, top row first then bottom row): Carlos Simon, Paul Frucht, Joel Rust, Katherine Balch, Michael Small, Lembit Beecher, and Sarah Gibson (Photos courtesy Christina Jensen of Jensen Artists).

The other six composers and the works of theirs that will be featured in the 2016 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute are:

Michael Boyman (b. 1989): Tightrope Walker
Judy Bozone (b. 1982): Spilled Orange
Michael-Thomas Foumai (b. 1987): Music from the Castle of Heaven
Tonia Ko (b. 1988): Strange Sounds and Explosions Worldwide
Phil Taylor (b. 1989): Chiaroscuro
Conrad Winslow (b. 1985): Old Motion Parade

participating in the 2017 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute

participating in the 2017 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute (from left to right, top row first then bottom row): Michael Boyman, Conrad Winslow, Phil Taylor, Katherine Balch, Tonia Ko, Michael-Thomas Foumai, and Judy Bozone (but the tiger will not be participating as far as we know).

Boyman’s Tightrope Walker, his first composition for orchestra, was awarded the William Schuman Prize at the 2014 BMI Student Composer Awards, at which time he described the work.

The Underwood New Music Readings and the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute are arguably the two most prestigious opportunities for emerging orchestra composers and both attract a wide range of applicants from all over the United States. According to composer Kevin Puts, who serves as the Director of the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, “The competition was fierce this year, with a record-breaking number of applicants whose work members of the adjudication panel described as ‘an embarrassment of riches and a testament to the potential of this generation of composers.’”

Both programs cover participating out-of-town composers’ transportation and lodging costs and both include a significant amount of face time with members of the orchestra as well as a series of workshops led by music industry professionals—on topics ranging from score preparation and promotion to negotiating commissioning agreements. But there are also some significant differences between these two programs. Underwood concentrates six hours of professional development, individual mentoring, and two reading sessions (the second of which is open to the general public) into two extremely intensive days, while the Institute spreads out the activities across five days. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Puts serves as the sole mentor composer for the Institute participants whereas three prominent composers serve as mentors for Underwood. (This year’s mentor composers are Stephen Hartke, Sarah Kirkland Snider, and ACO’s Artistic Director Derek Bermel.) However, during the Institute, in addition to spending extensive time with Puts, the seven participating composers also have the opportunity for one-on-one sessions with Vänskä to go over details in their scores. Perhaps the most important difference is that Underwood does not include an actual concert performance of the selected works even though for the past few years there has been a more polished second reading session during the evening that has been open to the public and that takes place in a concert hall. (This year the readings will take place at Columbia University’s Miller Theater on Tuesday, June 14 at 7:30pm.) In addition, one of the seven Underwood composers will be awarded a $15,000 commission for a new piece that will be performed in concert by ACO during an upcoming season.

This year’s Underwood Readings, however, will seem like a larger scale event than in previous seasons because, as we reported back in March, the ACO will give additional public readings of seven orchestral works by jazz composers as part of the latest iteration of the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute, a program led by the ACO in partnership with the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University just two days later (on Thursday, June 16 at 7:30pm), again at Miller. Most of the JCOI participants will also attend the professional development panels on Tuesday. (Full disclosure: New Music USA has been a partnering organization for the ACO’s programs as well as the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute and I have and continue to serve as a panelist and moderator for all of these events.)

Finally, the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute is able to occur on an annual basis thanks to the generosity of the Amphion Foundation, the American Composers Forum, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, plus Minnesota Orchestra Director Emerita Hella Mears Hueg, a longtime advocate for new music, has provided major funding to the Institute through 2020. Lead support for the Underwood New Music Readings comes from Paul Underwood, The Fromm Music Foundation and The Helen F. Whitaker Fund. ACO’s emerging composers programs are made possible with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and with the support of Jerome Foundation and the Eleanor Naylor Dana Charitable Trust.

“I have gotten so much out of music in my life, going back to when I studied French horn as a student,” said Paul Underwood. “The Underwood Readings are my opportunity to give back and to give forward. It’s an investment in the future of orchestra music, which is something I have always believed in.”

Six Emerging Composers Chosen for All-Scholarship Program at Copland House

Copland House has announced the six 2016 participants for CULTIVATE, its annual all-scholarship intensive creative workshop and mentoring program for emerging composers launched in 2012 which will take place this year between June 6 and 12 in northern Westchester County, NY, at Aaron Copland’s National Historic Landmark home in Cortlandt Manor and at the Merestead estate in nearby Mount Kisco.

The six 2016 CULTIVATE composers are:

Jenny Beck (29, Philadelphia, PA)
Ryan Chase (28, Cohoes, NY)
Carolyn Chen (32, Pasadena, CA)
Patrick Harlin (31, Ann Arbor, MI)
Michael Small (27, Washington, DC)
Daniel Schlosberg (28, Brooklyn, NY)

The six 2016 CAPTIVATE composers (top row, left to right then bottom row): Daniel Schlosberg, Jenny Beck, Michael Small, Carolyn Chen, Patrick Harlin, and Ryan Chase. (Photos courtesy of Dworkin and Company)

The six 2016 CAPTIVATE composers (top row, left to right then bottom row): Daniel Schlosberg, Jenny Beck, Michael Small, Carolyn Chen, Patrick Harlin, and Ryan Chase. (Photos courtesy of Dworkin and Company)

The six composers selected were chosen out of nearly of 93 applicants from 26 states and 3 countries by jury of three composers: Derek Bermel, Donnacha Dennehy, and Reiko Fueting. Schlosberg was selected as part of Copland House’s collaboration with the Nashville Symphony’s new ComposerLab.

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 CULTIVATE Director Derek Bermel and artists from the Music from Copland House ensemble. Evening discussion sessions will 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 12 on Copland House’s mainstage performance series at Merestead, featuring the world premieres of all the new works. All costs of composer participation, working sessions and rehearsals, travel, accommodations, and meals are covered by Copland House. Major support for CULTIVATE comes from the ASCAP Foundation, John G. Strugar, and the Friends of Copland House. Additional major program support comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, ArtsWestchester, and the Ruth M. Knight Foundation.

(—from the press release)