Category: Ledes

2016 NEA Jazz Masters Announced


The National Endowment for the Arts will honor four jazz leaders–three musicians and an advocate–with the 2016 NEA Jazz Masters award for their significant accomplishments in the field. The 2016 honorees are: jazz fusion progenitor and educator Gary Burton whose four-mallet technique on the vibraphone has given the instrument a fuller, more piano-like sound than the traditional two-mallet approach; Grammy Award-winning saxophonist and composer Pharoah Sanders who is known for his distinctive sound marked by overblowing, harmonic, and multiphonic techniques; saxophonist, composer and educator Archie Shepp, best known for his Afrocentric music of the late 1960s, whose long career as an educator has focused on history of African-American music from its origins in Africa to its current state; and Wendy Oxenhorn, executive director and vice chairman of the Jazz Foundation of America, an organization that is committed to providing jazz and blues musicians with financial, medical, housing, and legal assistance as well as performance opportunities, with a special focus on the elderly and veterans who have paid their dues and find themselves in crisis due to illness, age, and/or circumstance.

The NEA Jazz Masters award is the highest honor that our nation bestows in the field of jazz and includes a cash award of $25,000 and an award ceremony and celebratory concert, among other activities. As part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ 50th anniversary events, the annual NEA Jazz Masters celebration will take place in April 2016 in the nation’s capital, in collaboration with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. More details are available on the NEA’s website.

(–from the press release)

Musical America Announces Recipients of Its 2016 Awards


Jennifer Koh (Photo: Juergen Frank) and Tod Machover (Photo: Lucerne Festival/Priska Ketterer)

Musical America has announced the winners of its annual Musical America Awards which recognize artistic excellence and achievement in the arts. Tod Machover has been named 2016 Composer of the Year. Violinist Jennifer Koh, who has been commissioned music by Anthony Cheung, Vijay Iyer, and Andrew Norman, has been named Instrumentalist of the Year. Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), an orchestra devoted to music of the 20th and 21st centuries which, since its founding in 1996 by conductor Gil Rose, has presented more than 100 premieres and has made over 50 recordings, has been named Ensemble of the Year. British tenor Mark Padmore, who has performed works written especially for him by Harrison Birtwistle, Mark Anthony Turnage, and Thomas Larcher, has been named Vocalist of the Year. Musical America’s highest accolade, Musician of the Year, has been awarded to Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin.


BMOP rehearsal (Photo: Liz Linder)

The awards will be presented in a ceremony at Carnegie Hall on December 8, 2015. The announcement precedes the December publication of the 2016 Musical America International Directory of the Performing Arts, which, in addition to its comprehensive industry listings, pays homage to each of these artists in its editorial pages.

from the press release

Four Emerging Composers’ Works Premiere in Columbus Through EarShot

EarShot Logo

Four emerging composers have been chosen from a national candidate pool to participate in the 2015 Columbus Symphony EarShot program: Rosalie Burrell, Saad Haddad, Patrick O’Malley, and Iván Rodríguez. For this latest iteration of EarShot, a nationwide network of new music readings and composer-development programs organized and administered by the American Composers Orchestra (ACO), two intensive reading sessions/rehearsals (closed to the public) will take place on October 27 and 28, 2015 accompanied by feedback sessions with Columbus Symphony musicians and their music director Rossen Milanov, along with mentor composers Robert Beaser, Margaret Brouwer, and Clint Needham. Donald Harris will serve as honorary guest composer. On October 29, the orchestra will hold a final dress rehearsal, then perform the works in a one-hour program at the Ohio Theatre which is part of the Columbus Symphony’s Happy Hour Concert Series. The CSO will ask the audience to vote for their favorite piece before the program’s mentor composers and Maestro Milanov select an official “Live Composer Competition” winner. Now in its third year, Happy Hour concerts offer free, informal, after-work concerts performed by the Columbus Symphony, preceded by complimentary appetizers, a DJ in the theater lobby, and a cash bar.

ACO President Michael Geller said, “The four composers chosen for this unique new program are as talented as they are diverse in their musical styles. Rosie, Saad, Ivan, and Patrick are only in their 20s, but they are incredibly accomplished at what is a very ‘tender’ young age for composers. Each of them has a really distinctive musical outlook. We can’t wait to work with them and the talented musicians at the Columbus Symphony. And I think for listeners in Columbus, who come out for the culminating concert of the program, they will be ‘blown away’ by the brilliance, energy, and vitality of the music they hear. Years from now, I’m sure we will all look back at the EarShot Columbus Composer Competition as a watershed moment for these composers, for CSO audiences, and for the entire field of American orchestra music.”

Rossen Milanov added, “I am delighted by the partnership of Columbus Symphony Orchestra and EarShot in the first season of my tenure as music director in Columbus, Ohio. My strong commitment to music of our time and career-long support for young composers could not have been expressed better then in this original and meaningful introduction of newly composed works to our audience. I hope that the composers, the musicians, and the audience will develop a better understanding and appreciation of the creative, performing, and listening process.”

In addition to the Columbus Symphony, EarShot partnerships have included the New York Philharmonic, Berkeley Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Pioneer Valley Symphony (MA), New York Youth Symphony, and the San Diego Symphony. To date, more than fifty composers have been selected for readings with orchestras.

Read on for more details about the four composers and their new orchestral works. (The Columbus Symphony’s performances of each of them have been archived on the website Instant Encore where they are available for streaming.)

Rosalie Burrell: Paved with Gold

Rosalie Burrell

Rosalie Burrell (This and all other photos courtesy Jensen Artists)

The music of Rosalie Burrell (b. 1988) has been performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Lesher Center for the Arts, the All Women’s National Brass Convention, and Bush Creek Arts. For the last two concert seasons she has been the artistic coordinator, composer and orchestrator at The Little Orchestra Society, a chamber orchestra that, under the baton of James Judd, performs for young families and children. As an artistic administrator, Burrell plans, programs, and produces concerts and workshops at venues that have included maximum-security prisons, hospital wards, veteran rehabilitation facilities, and schools. She received her Master of Music degree from the Mannes School of Music, where she studied with David Tcimpidis, writing primarily chamber music. In 2013 she was a finalist in the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers competition, and she won both the Martinu Composition Award and the 2013 Mannes Orchestra Composition Competition. Other accolades include the 2012 Jean Schneider Goberman Award second prize for her piano quartet Secret Gardens.

Of Paved with Gold, Burrell said, “I was taking long walks through New York City; grime and glitter, glass and iron, duality at every turn. I drew a landscape of New York, not as it exists in any physical sense, but in a sweeping, sensory summary. Lines and rectangles colliding, each a duplicate of the last. Between angular clusters I drew the curved shapes of birds, untethered in the air, sometimes spilling out between blocks, or soaring right over the building clusters. I put a pin in that drawing, right above my desk, and began to compose the shape of that abstract skyline. An orchestral landscape, loud and unbridled, paved with gold.”

Saad Haddad: Kaman Fantasy

Saad Haddad

Saad Haddad

Saad Haddad (b. 1992) focuses on creating compositions that incorporate Arabic musical tradition in a Western context, both in acoustic and electro-acoustic mediums. In addition to the performance by the Columbus Symphony, premieres of his music will also be performed this season by the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and the New Juilliard Ensemble at Alice Tully Hall in New York City. Other performances include the Virginia premiere of Shifting Sands, for piano and electronics, at the Electroacoustic Barn Dance and the Ariose Singers’ performances of his choral works, The Little Boy and Ah Sunflower, as part of the New Music Works series in Santa Cruz, California. A recipient of the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award (2015), the Gena Raps Chamber Music Prize (2015), the BMI Student Composer Award (2014), and the Copland House Residency Award (2014), Haddad holds a Bachelor of Music Composition from the University of Southern California where his teachers included composers Donald Crockett, Stephen Hartke, Frank Ticheli, Brian Shepard, and Bruce Broughton. He is currently in his last year at the Juilliard School, pursuing a Master of Music Composition with John Corigliano.

Kaman Fantasy takes its name from ‘kamanjah,’ the Arabic word for ‘violin.’ The piece is an exploration of the Arabic ‘maqamat’ (sets of scales) and rhythms in a Western classical context. The music embraces both traditions, often swaying back and forth between Arabic and Western idioms. Haddad said, “As a first-generation Arab-American, I have often found myself shifting between both cultures in the way that I think and act, sometimes voluntarily, most times not. Kaman Fantasy is a reflection on those experiences.”


Patrick O’Malley: Even in Paradise

Patrick O'Malley

Patrick O’Malley

Patrick O’Malley (b. 1989) is a composer whose works explore the musical interplay between emotion, color, energy, and landscape. Currently living in Los Angeles, O’Malley grew up in Indiana, where he cultivated an interest in composition from hearing music at the local orchestra, studying piano and double bass, film scores at the movie theater, and even MIDI compositions for video games being written at the time. His works span many of the contemporary mediums for classical music (orchestra, chamber ensembles, vocal music, film scores, etc.), and have been performed across the United States as well as in France and Germany. Most recently, O’Malley has been recognized and/or performed by organizations including the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Next On Grand National Composers Intensive with wild Up, the Society of Composers Inc., The American Prize (3rd place in orchestral music, and finalist in wind band and chamber music, 2014), the Boston New Music Initiative, ASCAP’s Morton Gould Award (finalist in 2012 and 2014), and Fulcrum Point New Music Project. He has spent summers as a student at various music festivals, including Aspen, Bowdoin, Fresh Inc., and the FUBiScomposition course in Berlin. He is gratefully indebted to his private teachers over the years for helping guide his work, the most recent of which include Andrew Norman, Samuel Adler, and Frank Ticheli. O’Malley is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in composition at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music.

Of Even in Paradise, O’Malley said, “The Latin phrase ‘Et in Arcadia Ego’ is a wonderful little line that nobody seems to know the actual meaning of. The words essentially translate, ‘I am also in Arcadia,’ and are most famously known as the subject of two paintings by Nicolas Poussin from the 17th century. I first encountered the subject when reading an essay by the art historian Erwin Panofsky, in which he traces the evolution of interpretation of the phrase by artists. Panofsky’s analysis, as well as the various artistic interpretations of the phrase, immediately struck me as a source for musical elaboration. While nothing in the piece is a literal depiction, there are two ideas that stem directly from the life and death images associated with the subject. The piece opens with atmospheric sounds made by the strings playing unpitched material behind the bridge (a well-known technique for representing death in music thanks to Bernard Herrmann, though I do not use it in the same way). Against that, simple triadic gestures (the ‘life-blood’ of tonal harmony) begin to pop out of the murk. Eventually, the music breaks into a fast, playful mood completely opposite to the introduction, exploring a variety of moods and colors.”


Iván Rodríguez: Luminis

Ivan Rodriguez conducting

Iván Enrique Rodríguez

Aspiring young conductor and composer Iván Enrique Rodríguez (b.1990) learned how to play the saxophone, harp, piano, and violin, as well as vocalize at the Escuela Libre de Música (ELM) Antonio O. Paoli in his native Caguas, Puerto Rico. Rodríguez’s first piece, Ogoshness for chorus and string orchestra, was premiered in 2007 by the ELM Antonio O. Paoli choir when Rodríguez was 17. Since then, Rodríguez has composed for internationally acclaimed trumpeter Luis “Perico” Ortiz, and John Rivera Pico selected two of Iván’s Crípticos for inclusion on his album featuring contemporary classical guitar music from Puerto Rico and Cuba. Rodríguez’s music has been performed in Uruguay, Brazil, the U.S., and Italy where the San Juan Children’s Choir performed his Madre Luna and won the 2014 Rimini International Choral Competition First Place Prize with the judges noting the integral part his composition played in their decision. He holds a BA in Composition from the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico where he studied with composer Alfonso Fuentes and conductors Rafael E. Irizarry, William Rivera, Roselín Pabon, and Genesio Riboldi. Beyond the walls of the conservatory, his cultural involvement and leadership was recognized by the Puerto Rico Chapter of Junior Chamber International with the 2014 Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World award.

Luminis is a set of fantasy variations on original musical motifs,” said Rodríguez. “Throughout piece, the original motifs remain relatively unchanged. However, the surrounding musical environment changes constantly. As the variations develop, they progressively describe the encirclement of light by darkness. Even when describing musically what could be total darkness, the original motifs remain relatively untouched. This is intended to give Light a ubiquitous quality to state that regardless of the conditions surrounding it, the energy emanating from this point–whatever it may symbolize for us individually–reinforces an inextinguishable radiance and omnipresence.”

(—from the press release)

New Music USA’s Six Submissions to the 2016 ISCM World Music Days

The official logo of the ISCM

Later this month, the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM)’s 2015 World Music Days (WMD) will take place in Ljubljana, Slovenia (from September 27 to October 2, 2015), but program planning is already underway for the 2016 WMD in Tongyeong, South Korea (March 29-April 3, 2016). To encourage that a fair and equitable distribution of new music is chosen from all over the world, all of the ISCM’s member organizations are encouraged to submit repertoire from their respective countries for consideration. As per the ISCM’s by-laws, if a member organization submits a total of six works in at least four different categories (which are grouped by instrumentation and must conform to the set duration limits), at least one of the works is guaranteed a performance during the festival. New Music USA, which is a full associate member of ISCM, has submitted six works for consideration. All are works that received funding through our grantmaking programs and all are works composed since 2010. Below are some details on each of the pieces.

Photos of Nolan Lem, Julia Adolphe, Missy Mazzoli, Matt Evans, George Walker, and Gabriella Lena Frank

Top row (left to right): Nolan Lem, Julia Adolphe (photo by Martin Chalifour), Missy Mazzoli (photo by Marylene Mey); Bottom row (left to right): Matt Evans (photo by Jaime Boddorff), George Walker, and Gabriella Lena Frank (photo © Sabina Frank)

1. Julia Adolphe: Veil of Leaves (2014) for string quartet
Julia Adolphe’s string quartet Veil of Leaves was one of the highlights of the fourth season of the Pikes Falls Chamber Music Festival in Jamaica, Vermont, which received a 2015 New Music USA Project grant.

2. Matthew Evans: Still Life for Ensemble (2015) for chamber ensemble
Evans’s Still Life for Ensemble was one of several works created and premiered by members of the ensemble Contemporaneous on a concert in celebration of their fifth anniversary, an event that was awarded a New Music USA Project grant. Here is a video from that performance.

3. Gabriela Lena Frank: Requiem for a Magical America: El Día de los Muertos (2012) for orchestra
The orchestral version of Requiem for a Magical America: El Día de los Muertos was one of several compositions created by Frank during her residency with the Annapolis Symphony, which was supported by the Music Alive program, a collaboration between New Music USA and the League of American Orchestras.

4. Nolan Lem: push-pole (2014), a sound installation
Nolan Lem’s push-pole is the centerpiece of the New Music USA Project Grant-funded SoundArt2016, a two-week exhibition of Sound Art presented by Qubit New Music, a contemporary music and performance art initiative founded in 2010.

5. Missy Mazzoli: Vesper Sparrow (2012) for unaccompanied chorus
Mazzoli’s Vesper Sparrow is the opening track of roomful of teeth’s new recording render on New Amsterdam Records. The recording was awarded a New Music USA Project grant.

6. George Walker: Sinfonia No. 4 ‘Strands’ (2011) for orchestra
Walker’s Sinfonia No. 4 ‘Strands’ was a consortium commission that was funded through Meet The Composer’s Commissioning Music/USA Program.

Hopefully they will choose more than one. Better yet, all six!

New Music Gathering 2016 Schedule Posted

Marin Alsop

Marin Alsop
Image courtesy the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

The full schedule of lectures, concerts, and discussions that will be part of the 2nd annual New Music Gathering has been posted. Taking place January 7-9, 2016, at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, the focus of the meeting will be on “Communities.”

The schedule currently indicates coverage of a range of field issues, from economics to musicology to technology, plus a keynote address delivered by Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

ICE Hires New Executive Director

Vanessa Rose

Vanessa Rose

The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) has announced that Vanessa Rose will be its new executive director as of September 1, 2015 at which point ICE founder Claire Chase will remain co-artistic director and flutist in the ensemble alongside co-artistic director and clarinetist Joshua Rubin. Rose comes to ICE from the Lark Play Development Center where she served as director of development from 2013-2015. Prior to that, Rose was managing director of The Knights, a New York-based orchestra collective, and associate director of patron program and membership at the Metropolitan Opera. In 2006, she completed the League of American Orchestras’ Orchestra Management Fellowship Program, which included residencies with the Dallas Symphony, Elgin Symphony, Aspen Music Festival and School, and the San Francisco Symphony. Rose was selected by ICE’s Board of Directors on August 3 following an 18-month international search.

“I am thrilled to have this opportunity to collaborate with the creative and inspiring artists, supporters and partners in the ICE community,” said Rose. “A longtime ICE fan, I am very excited to help the group expand its groundbreaking programs and exceptional music-making.”

ICE Board President, Claude Arpels, stated that “Vanessa shares ICE’s commitment to creating exciting new music through an artist-led organization. She brings the right mix of experience, sensitivity, and management skills to help ICE continue to succeed.”

Claire Chase adds, “Of all the trails that this mighty group of artists has blazed over the last decade and a half—from our seedlings as students at Oberlin in 2000, to our very first public concert in 2002 produced on $603 amassed from my holiday catering tips, to the group’s performances this coming Sunday at Alice Tully Hall—this moment of welcoming new leadership in Vanessa Rose stands in my mind as one of the bravest and most remarkable. I am so proud of the entire team at ICE for taking the enormous leap from being a founder-driven organization to being an organization that can stand boldly on its own feet. I have deep faith in Vanessa to lead ICE into the next era, and to do it with the passionate collaborative artistic spirit that has fueled everything this group has accomplished to date.”

In addition to Vanessa Rose’s work behind the scenes on behalf of music and musicians, she is also a violinist and has performed with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and the Harrisburg Symphony as well as at the Spoleto Festivals (Italy and USA). She comes from a musical family and attended the Eastman School of Music, Mannes College of Music, and the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, The Netherlands. Rose lives in Riverdale, NY with her musician husband, Patrick Pridemore, and their two children.

(—from the press release)



New Detroit Symphony Streaming Service Filled with New Music

Screen shot of Replay website featuring a photo of Sarah Chang holding a violin.

A screenshot from the DSO’s just launched Replay streaming archive. Note the full down menus for American repertoire and music by living composers as well as that the highlighted work is Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto.

This morning, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) launched Replay, an on-demand classical performance archive in HD featuring over 100 full-length classical works originally performed on the orchestra’s Live From Orchestra Hall webcast series. The archive will be refreshed with new content each week during the classical season. Members can browse content by composer, date, or through a rotating series of curated playlists such as “Living Composers,” “Made in America,” “Virtuoso Violin,” and many more.

“Thanks to Live From Orchestra Hall, lovers of great music have been able to enjoy our performances here in Detroit no matter where they may be,” said DSO Music Director Leonard Slatkin. “Through Replay, they can relive these concerts whenever they would like.”

While works currently available for streaming cover virtually every era, there is a particularly generous amount of contemporary music available including works by 17 different living composers (among them 11 Americans) as well as 8 additional American repertoire classics including such rarities as Benjamin Lees’s Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra and Aaron Copland’s entire early ballet score Grohg. Among the recent compositions featured on the site are: Mason Bates’s Violin Concerto (with Anne Akiko Meyers), Gabriela Lena Frank’s Concertino Cusqueño, Missy Mazzoli’s River Rouge Transfiguration, Augusta Read Thomas’s Cello Concerto No. 3 (with Lynn Harrell), André Previn’s Double Concerto (with Jaime Laredo and Sharon Robinson), and Cindy McTee’s Solstice (featuring DSO Principal Trombonist Kenneth Thompkins).

All visitors to Replay can experience a free two-minute preview of any of the performances included in the archive, but already there are 5,000 annual fund supporters who are immediately eligible to use the new service to its full extent to see and hear all of these performances in their entirety. All patrons who join the annual fund with a gift of $50 or more will receive full access. The DSO is the first American orchestra to make its performance archive available on-demand. The DSO’s contract with its musicians grants permission to stream performances each week live and then replay that content for three years on demand. Prior to today, past Live From Orchestra Hall footage was only available through special encore broadcasts on or through YouTube clips. Live From Orchestra Hall is presented in partnership with Detroit Public Television, with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Ford Motor Company Fund. Replay’s streaming archive is made possible through hosting services provided by Brightcove, an online platform that offers CD-quality audio and video in 1080p HD resolution.

“Replay is an innovative use of Brightcove Gallery and positions the DSO as a leader among Brightcove customers using the product to engage and inspire audiences across any device,” said Linda Crowe, Vice President of Digital Marketing at Brightcove.

(–from the press release)

Record Created for Extraterrestrials Now Available for Everyone

The cover for the Voyager record and the record

The gold-plated Sounds of Earth Record containing Laurie Spiegel’s realization of Johannes Kepler’s Harmonices Mundi and its gold-aluminum cover (left). Photo by NASA (Public Domain). A copy of this record was sent into outer space on both the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecrafts in 1977. The cover was designed to protect the record from micrometeorite bombardment and also provides a potential extra-terrestrial finder a key to playing the record. The explanatory diagram appears on both the inner and outer surfaces of the cover, as the outer diagram will be eroded in time.

Earlier this month, we were all finally been able to see what Pluto looks like thanks to NASA’s New Horizons interplanetary space probe. Now, also thanks to NASA, we can all listen to the only album that has thus far physically traveled beyond Pluto–The Golden Record. The Golden Record is a 12-inch gold-plated copper disc filled with images and sounds that was created in order to share highlights from our world with extraterrestrials. (It’s arguably the ultimate listener outreach initiative.) A copy of the record was sent into outer space in 1977 along with a cartridge and needle for playback on both of the Voyager space probes. But now the entire contents of the record can be readily accessed and enjoyed by any sentient being with an internet connection. Although each of the individual tracks have been available online as separate sound files embedded on various NASA pages for years, NASA has finally grouped them together in one place on SoundCloud for a complete album listening experience.

In addition to the 115 images from Earth that are encoded in analog form on the Voyager Golden Records, there are a broad range of recordings of natural and urban sounds, spoken language, and approximately 90 minutes of music from many different cultures and eras. The only new music composer included on the Golden Record is Laurie Spiegel, whose electronic realization of Kepler’s “Music of the Spheres” was featured in the “sounds of the earth” section rather than the “music” section. The only other living American composer featured is Chuck Berry, whose hit 1958 rock and roll song “Johnny B. Goode” was the most recent popular music inclusion on the 1977 playlist. (Carl Sagan, chair of the committee in charge of programming the record, also wanted to include something more up-to-date–a track by the Beatles. Though the members of the band reportedly liked the idea, their recording company EMI turned down the request even though the potential revenue losses due to interstellar copyright theft had yet to be–and to this day still haven’t been–determined.)

The Voyager Golden Record:

Here’s just the music on the Voyager Golden Record:

And here’s just Laurie Spiegel’s contribution to Voyager:

Laurie Spiegel on NewMusicBox:

The transcript of the entire conversation with Laurie Spiegel for NewMusicBox is here.

W3C Music Notation Community Group Launched

The official logo of the World Wide Web Consortium.

Composer Joe Berkovitz, CEO of the online music notation platform Noteflight, has announced the launch of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)’s Music Notation Community Group to develop and maintain format and language specifications for notated music used by web, desktop, and mobile applications. The group aims to serve a broad range of users engaging in music-related activities involving notation, and will document these use cases. The group has been created as the result of a partnership between MakeMusic (the company that owns the music notation software program Finale), the Hamburg-based music software and equipment company Steinberg, and Noteflight, which is owned by the Milwaukee-based Hal Leonard Corporation, the largest sheet music publisher in the world. According to Berkovitz, he and the two other founding group co-chairs—Michael Good (MakeMusic vice president of R&D and the inventor of the MusicXML format, which creates a standard interchange format for music notation applications) and Daniel Spreadbury (product marketing manager for Steinberg‘s in-development scoring application and, until 2012, the senior product manager for the notation software program Sibelius) are expecting to be joined by many others shortly.

“One never knows what a moment means when it occurs,” writes Berkovitz, “but this could be a significant point in the history of music representation. In the hope that this moment can be just such a point, I’ve been working towards it for some time.”

The coming together of these industry leaders in music technology as part of this think tank can completely change the way that written music is formatted, stored, and distributed—something that will have a great impact on both composers and the interpreters of their music.

CMA Announces Commissioning Grants Totaling $475,000 for 21 Ensembles

Logo of Chamber Music America listing genres of music they represent: classical, jazz, contemporary, world, and early music

Chamber Music America (CMA) has announced the recipients of its 2016 commissioning programs, supporting the creation of new works for small ensembles. CMA will distribute a total of $475,000 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 western classical to Cuban jazz to category-defying new music. Several feature instrumentation that bridges the gap between traditional classical and jazz ensembles, and between Eastern and Western musical traditions. Independent peer panels selected the grantees in each program in May.


A total of $277,000 was awarded to nine jazz ensembles to support the creation of new works by professional U.S.-based jazz artists and to help assure that these compositions will be heard through live performances and recordings.

Christopher Jentsch and the Jentsch Group No Net (Brooklyn, NY)
Instrumentation: flute/alto flute, clarinet/alto clarinet/bass clarinet, soprano/tenor saxophones, trumpet/flugelhorn, trombone, guitar, piano, bass, and drums, plus conductor
Composer: Christopher Jentsch

Jane Ira Bloom and the Jane Ira Bloom Quartet (New York, NY)
Instrumentation: soprano saxophone and live electronics, piano and keyboards, bass, and drums
Composer: Jane Ira Bloom

Jen Shyu and Jade Tongue (Bronx, NY)
Instrumentation: vocals/gayageum/moon lute/piano, bass, drums, trumpet, clarinet/flute/saxophone, and string quartet
Composer: Jen Shyu

Jim Black and the Jim Black Trio (Brooklyn, NY)
Instrumentation: drums, piano, and bass
Composer: Jim Black

Michele Rosewoman and New Yor-uba (New York, NY)
Instrumentation: piano/vocals, bata/congas, bass, drums, trumpet/flugelhorn, soprano/alto/tenor saxophones, trombone, and tuba
Composer: Michele Rosewoman

Pascal Le Boeuf and Imagined Reality (Brooklyn, NY)
Instrumentation: piano, drums, bass, alto saxophone, woodwinds, tenor saxophone, violin, viola, and cello
Composer: Pascal Le Boeuf

Patrick Zimmerli and the Patrick Zimmerli Quartet (New York, NY)
Instrumentation: tenor saxophone, piano, bass, drums, percussion, and marimba
Composer: Patrick Zimmerli

Rob Reddy and Bechet: Our Contemporary (Brooklyn, NY)
Instrumentation: soprano saxophone, trumpet, trombone, violin, cello, guitar, bass, and drums
Composer: Rob Reddy

Rudresh Mahanthappa and Indo-Pak Coalition (Montclair, NJ)
Instrumentation: alto saxophone, guitars, tabla, and drums
Composer: Rudresh Mahanthappa


Twelve grants totaling $198,100 provide 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.

Altius Quartet (Boulder, CO)
Instrumentation: string quartet
Composer: Michael Ippolito

Art of Élan with the Formosa Quartet (San Diego, CA)
Instrumentation: string quartet
Composer: Lei Liang

Beijing Guitar Duo (Baltimore, MD)
Instrumentation: two guitars
Composer: Chen Yi

Carpe Diem String Quartet (Lafayette, CO)
Instrumentation: string quartet
Composer: Reza Vali

Ekmeles (New York, NY)
Instrumentation: vocal ensemble (two sopranos, alto, tenor, baritone, and bass)
Composer: Christopher Trapani

Haven Trio (Corinth, TX)
Instrumentation: soprano, clarinet, and piano
Composer: Jon Magnussen

Kenari Quartet (Bloomington, IN)
Instrumentation: saxophone quartet
Composer: Corey Dundee

Mobius Percussion (Brooklyn, NY)
Instrumentation: percussion quartet, with live processing
Composer: Jacob Cooper

Sō Percussion (Brooklyn, NY)
Instrumentation: percussion quartet
Composer: Paul Lansky

TAK Ensemble (New York, NY)
Instrumentation: soprano, flute/bass flute, clarinet/bass clarinet, violin, and percussion, plus live electronics
Composer: Mario Diaz de Leon

Wild Rumpus (San Francisco, CA)
Instrumentation: soprano, flute, trombone, violin, bass, electric guitar, percussion, and piano/synthesizer
Composer: Dan VanHassel

Yarn/Wire (Ridgewood, NY)
Instrumentation: two pianos and two percussion
Composer: Alex Mincek

More details are available on the website of Chamber Music America.

(—from the press release)