Sixteen American composers have been awarded grants totaling $20,300 through the American Music Center‘s Margaret Fairbank Jory Copying Assistance Program (CAP). The awards go directly to the composers, ranging in age from 26 to 92, to assist in the production of materials for the premiere performance of their proposed large-scale work (four or more performers).
CAP awards are granted based on the significance of the performance to the composer’s career. The compositions themselves are not evaluated. A panel familiar with music copying reviews the submitted materials and budget requests. In the three CAP rounds between October 2001 and May 2002, the AMC will award $90,000 to American composers across the country and abroad. Among the organizations premiering CAP-supported works in this current round are the United State Air Force Band of Flight, the New York New Music Ensemble, the South Carolina Symphonic Chorale, and the Seattle Chamber Players.
Announcing this round’s recipients, AMC Executive Director Richard Kessler said, “We are pleased to provide assistance to these talented composers as they prepare for the premieres of their work. These are significant premieres for these composers, and it’s our hope that these works receive many more performances.”
The composers awarded CAP grants during this round include:
- Ingrid C. Arauco, Wilmington, DE; Fantasy-Quartet (scored for violin, clarinet, cello, piano) to be premiered at Haverford College, Philadelphia, PA
- Randall Davidson, Rochester, NY; Poor Richard Madrigals (scored for SATB) to be premiered as part of the Plymouth Music Series; Saint Paul, MN
- Lisa DeSpain, New York, NY; New Orleans “Wind” Symphony (scored for wind ensemble) to be premiered by the United States Air Force Band of Flight; Dayton, OH
- Robert Dick, Switzerland; A New Prehistory (scored for sextet) to be premiered by The New York New Music Ensemble; The Knitting Factory, New York, NY
- Daniel Dorff, Havertown, PA; The Kiss (scored for orchestra) to be premiered by the Haddonfield Symphony; Evesham, NJ
- Maurice Gardner, Miami Beach, FL; Symphony92 (scored for orchestra) to be premiered by The New American Symphony Orchestra; Ogden, UT
- Jason Goldman, Glendale, CA; Catch Me if You Can (scored for jazz ensemble) to be premiered by The Jason Goldman Nonet; Cello Studios, Hollywood, CA
- Jack Gottlieb, New York, NY; Psalmistry (scored for SATB w/ piano) to be premiered by the South Carolina Symphonic Chorale; Columbia, SC
- Robert Gross, United Kingdom; Symphonic Sussex (orchestra) to be premiered by the Southwestern Michigan Symphony Orchestra; Benton Harbor, MI
- Martin Hennessy, New York, NY; Edgar (scored for musical theatre) to be premiered by the Vital Theatre Company; New York, NY
- Laura Kaminsky, Seattle, WA; The Full Range of Blue (scored for flute, clarinet, violin, cello) to be premiered by the Seattle Chamber Players; Benaroya Hall, Seattle, WA
- Darrell Katz, Waltham, MA; The Death of Simone Weil (scored for jazz orchestra) to be premiered by the Jazz Composers Alliance Orchestra; Berklee Performance Center; Boston, MA
- Christopher Kaufman, Farmingville, NY; Island (scored for orchestra) to be premiered by the Southwest Minnesota Orchestra; New Ulm, MN
- Laura Koplewitz, W. Brattleboro, VT; Lake Spirit Journey (scored for orchestra) to be premiered by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra; Bennington, VT
- Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Chicago, IL; Worship (scored for orchestra) to be premiered by the Gateways Music Festival Orchestra; Rochester, NY
- Joey Sellers, DeKalb, IL; Three Fantasies for Steelpan & Orchestra to be premiered by the Northern Illinois University Orchestra; DeKalb, IL
The composers expressed their appreciation for the support and recognition the award offers them. When asked about what the grant means to her, Lisa DeSpain points out that even after she completed the creative work on her piece, “there still lay ahead weeks of copy work in order to bring the piece to fruition. The Margaret Jory is vital in recognizing this additional “work” part of being a composer and helping sustain us through the final steps of realizing our music.” Joey Sellers also commented that in his case, financially “it would have been near impossible to make this premiere happen without the generous support received from the AMC’s CAP Grant.”
Though the award is given to support the premiere performance, the effect often reaches much further. Randall Davidson illustrates that “due to the support of the Copying Assistance Program, I have been able to prepare professional-quality choral scores to promote the work to choruses around the country.” As a result, he says, “there have already been over a dozen inquiries from groups in Connecticut, Indiana, Texas, Illinois, Oregon, California, New York, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Ohio. Thanks to CAP, the choral scores look fantastic.” Laura Koplewitz had a similar experience. Her work was taken on a ten-city tour after it’s premiere, which resulted in new commissions. “This has been an enormous step forward for me as a composer,” she says. “The commission provided a small honorarium and the copying costs were significant. The CAP award has made an enormous difference.”
And Laura Kaminsky, who has sat on the CAP panel in years past, says that her award this year was especially meaningful. “I have always been so impressed by the great diversity of work supported by the fund. I am honored now to be included among those who have been helped by it.”
The Copying Assistance Program, the only program of its kind, has provided support to American composers since 1962. Over 1,000 composers have received a CAP award at some point in their career, including John Corigliano (1962), Christopher Rouse (1975), Steve Reich (1980), and Melinda Wagner (1991), whose CAP-supported work won the Pulitzer Prize. Support for the CAP program in 2001 is provided in part by The Helen F. Whitaker Fund, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, JP Morgan Chase, and the Arts Alive Foundation.