Commissioning Music/USA Supports 25 New Works



Meredith Monk is commissioned to write a new opera/musical theater production
Photo by K. Scott S

Meet The Composer‘s Commissioning Music/USA 2001 program has announced $290,750 in grants to support the creation of new musical works. Thirty-one composers will team up with a wide range of performing/presenting organizations across the country to create 25 innovative pieces.

MTC President Heather Hitchens noted that this year’s list of recipients “is a compelling representation of the world’s rich and diverse musical landscape.” The composers selected range from established to emerging talent and represent an impressive array of musical influences.



Phil Kline and Eve Beglarian are creating a multi-media song cycle

According to MTC, this year’s awards “span an especially broad musical spectrum, with compositions that draw on classical, jazz, and electronic idioms, and musical styles from Africa, China, Latin America, and Korea, among others. Many works will be created for multi-disciplinary projects for musical theater, ballet and festivals; others feature twists on traditional chamber music settings, with unusual instrumentation and daring new repertoire.”

Highlights this year include a new opera/musical theater production by Meredith Monk that explores the dualism between art and science; an evening-length song-cycle by Eve Beglarian and Phil Kline that includes visual elements in the form of slides, video, live acoustic instruments and voices; and a 90-minute work by Mark Izu that combines elements of western classical music, American Jazz/New Music, North Indian Classical music, traditional Persian musical instruments and Gagaku (Japanese court music).

Currently in its sixth year, the commissioning project has facilitated the creation and multiple performances of 130 new works drawing on a variety of musical traditions.

A complete list of year’s awards and commissioning partners follows.

Composer John Luther Adams will create a concert-length work of 60-75 minutes for solo percussion and electronic sounds. He will create the work in close collaboration withóand specifically forópercussionist Steven Schick. In partnership with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles CA), WNYC Radio (New York NY), and the South Florida Composers Alliance (Miami FL).



Phil Kline and Eve Beglarian are creating a multi-media song cycle
Photo of Eve Beglarian by Dennis Báthory-Kitsz

Eve Beglarian and Phil Kline will compose The Bilitis Project, an evening-length song-cycle setting the notoriously erotic Chansons de Bilitisof fin-de-si’cle French writer Pierre Louþs. In partnership with the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts (Burlington VT), Diverse Works, (Houston TX), and Arts at St. Ann’s (Brooklyn NY).

Noted composer, vocalist, accordionist, and synthesist Carter Burwell will write a full length, 90-minute work based on the life of Lucia Joyce in relation to her father, James Joyce, and his work. In partnership with Mabou Mines (New York NY).

Critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Vic Chesnutt will compose a full length song cycle, between 60-90 minutes long, for a new musical theater work for puppets in collaboration with award-winning puppet theater director Janie Geiser. In partnership with The St. Ann Center for Restoration and the Arts (Brooklyn NY).

The 2001 Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Corigliano will write a work of approximately 20 to 25 minutes in length for the San Francisco Ballet and Minnesota Orchestra. In partnership with the San Francisco Ballet Association of San Francisco, CA, and the Minnesota Orchestra (Minnesota MN).

Internationally known composer, improviser, and trumpeter Dave Douglas will create a 10-12 minute piece for brass quintet to be completed by September 2001 for concerts in the Extension Ensemble‘s 2001-2002 season. In partnership with the Extension Ensemble (New York NY).

Gabriela Lena Frank will write two quartets for Musicorda. The first will be premiered by the Chiara String Quartet. The second is a shorter piece which will use Latin American folk music and be performed by Musicorda student quartets in several outreach programs in the Latino communities of the Pioneer Valley. In partnership with the Musicorda, Inc. (South Hadley MA).

Janice Giteck, Pauline Oliveros, Alvin Singleton, and Frank Hannaway will each compose a solo percussion piece of 5 to 15 minutes to be performed as part of a new musical theater piece which will be presented at venues from coast to coast beginning January 2002. In partnership with Thamyris, a new music ensemble based in Decatur, GA.

Composer, orchestrator, and arranger Charles Griffin will create a 10-12 minute piece scored for solo percussion that will feature keyboard percussion instruments such as marimba, vibraphone, and crotales. In partnership with New Music Marimba (New York NY), Joseph Gramley (New York NY), William Moersch (Champaign IL), and Luanne Warner (Berkeley CA).



Mark Izu works on a 90-minute piece, spanning many cultures

Graham Haynes, regarded as an innovator on cornet and flugelhorn, will write a new 90-minute piece working in collaboration with multi-media poet/writer Tracie Morris and choreographer Maia Claire Garrison. In partnership with The Kitchen (New York NY).

Mark Izu will compose a 90-minute production which will explore East/West fusion, combining elements of western classical music, American Jazz/New Music, North Indian Classical music, traditional Persian musical instruments, and Gagaku (Japanese court music). In partnership with the First Voice (San Francisco CA), Asia Society of New York (New York NY), and Contemporary Art Museum (Chicago, IL).

Korean-born composer Jin Hi Kim, who is highly acclaimed as a komungo virtuoso and is known for her cross-cultural compositions, will create a 20-minute new work for percussion, piano, and woodwinds with an optional komungo part. In partnership with Zeitgeist (St. Paul MN).

John King, known for his compositional virtuosity and musical vision, will compose a new 15-20 minute score for the Kronos Quartet. In partnership with the Kronos Quartet (San Francisco CA).

Yusef Lateef, composer/musician, will write a new 35-minute concerto for piano and orchestra at the request of pianist and musicologist Professor Felipe Hall, who will perform the premiere and subsequent performances accompanied by a new orchestra to be established under the auspices of the World Music Institute. In partnership with the World Music Institute and Felipe Hall (New York NY).

Jon Magnussen will compose a 30-minute ballet score (for large chorus with tenor solo and chamber ensemble) for the JosÈ LimÛn Dance Company‘s remounting of the LimÛn classic, "Psalm," in collaboration with Artistic Director Carla Maxwell. In partnership with the LimÛn Dance Company (New York NY), Weber State University (Ogden UT), Texas International Theatrical Arts Society (Dallas TX), and the University of Texas at Austin (Austin TX).

Music From China has commissioned James Mobberley and Paul Rudy to compose a work intended to expand its repertoire with music that contemplates the meeting of the cultures of East and West by American composers. In partnership with Music From China (New York NY).

Meredith Monk will create music for a new opera/musical theater production. Themes of the work will include art as devotion; art as healer; invention; and the study of phenomena. In partnership with The House Foundation for the Arts (New York NY), On Stage at Connecticut College (New London CT), Performing Arts Chicago (Chicago IL), The American Dance Festival (Durham NC), Miami-University of Ohio (Oxford OH), University of California at Los Angeles (Los Angeles CA), and the Wexner Center for the Arts/OSU (Columbus OH).

Obie winner and master musician Diedre Murray will create a new 60-90 minute musical theater piece titled Brutal Imagination for the Vineyard Theatre. In partnership with the Vineyard Theatre (New York NY).

Composer and saxophonist Jon Raskin will write a 15 to 20 minute composition titled Juke Box Suite, that will include notated passages as well as structures for improvisation for the Rova Saxophone Quartet and composer Mark Dresser will create a 12-17 minute piece for the ensemble. In partnership with Rova:Arts (San Francisco CA).

Composer Rob Reddy will create a 50-60 minute, four-movement suite for saxophone, trumpet, trombone, guitar, bass, and percussion drawn heavily from American and African-American music, including gospel, marching music, Appalachian folk music, blues and jazz. In partnership with the Incubator, Inc./The Honor System (Brooklyn NY), Erie Art Museum (Erie PA), Hallwalls (Buffalo NY), Fourth World (South Euclid OH), and the Knitting Factory (New York NY).

Cuban-born American pianist/composer Omar Sosa will create a score for From Africa to America, a large-scale evening-length multi-disciplinary work in the African format, with music, dance, and theater woven into a single art form that expresses both the diversity and commonality of culture in the African Diaspora. In partnership with Dimensions Dance Theater (Oakland CA).

Carl Stone will compose a new 9-14 minute work for baroque violin, baroque flute, baroque oboe, harpsichord, and viola da gamba. In partnership with American Baroque (Emeryville CA).

Ezequiel Viñao has been commissioned to write a 50-60 minute piece scored for solo violin, solo piano, and large ensemble based on a series of readings on the subjects of love and war from the Middle Ages. In partnership with Absolute Ensemble (New York NY).

Julia Wolfe will create a new 60-minute work scored for six musicians with the instrumentation of cello, clarinet/saxophone, piano/keyboards, electric guitar, bass, and percussion interwoven with spoken material drawn from interviews. In partnership with Bang On A Can (New York NY).

Randall Woolf will write a 10-15 minute work scored for orchestra with triple winds exploring a fusion of blues music and song form with a traditional orchestra. In partnership with the Northern Kentucky Symphony (Newport KY).