NEWS IN BRIEF: 3/8/02

NSO’s Embarks on South Dakota Residency; Slatkin Extends Contract To 2006

The National Symphony Orchestra will take along six works by American composers when it travels to South Dakota as part of the American Residency Program next week. The NSO is scheduled to conduct 118 educational, performance, and outreach activities between March 14 and March 23. During those ten days, the orchestra will repeat two programs that include, among other non-American works, Adams‘s Short Ride in a Fast Machine, Grofé‘s “On the Trail” from Grand Canyon Suite, W.C. Handy‘s St. Louis Blues, Sousa‘s The Stars and Stripes Forever, Sierra‘s Fandangos, and Schuller‘s Seven Studies on Themes of Paul Klee. Members of the NSO will also perform as part of smaller ensembles and conduct master classes. The NSO notes that “the schedule is intense and the impact is expected to be significant and long lasting.”

South Dakota was selected as the site for the 2002 American Residency at the request of the South Dakota Arts Council, South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, Black Hills Symphony Orchestra, and South Dakotans for the Arts. The American Residency program is funded by the Kennedy Center through a grant from the United States Department of Education with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional local support for the 2002 South Dakota Residency is provided by Gateway, the South Dakota Community Foundation, the South Dakota Arts Council, and Arts Midwest.

The NSO has also announced that the orchestra’s music director and noted champion of new American music, Leonard Slatkin, has signed on for an additional three years at the helm of the orchestra. That takes his contract through 2006 when the orchestra will celebrate his 10th season as music director and the orchestra’s 75th season.

Minnesota Orchestra’s Inaugural Composer Institute Selects Participants

Eight composers have been tapped to work with the Minnesota Orchestra and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis, the orchestra’s new music advisor. A national panel has selected Gordon Beeferman (New York), Lisa Bielawa (New York), Anthony Cheung (Massachusetts), Stacy Garrop (Illinois), Michael Gatonska (Connecticut), Keith A. Murphy (Connecticut), Stephan M. Prock (Virginia), and Mischa Zupko (Indiana).

During an intensive six-day institute, the composers will participate in reading sessions, and more than 25 workshops led by music industry professionals on topics ranging from self publishing to public speaking. The orchestra covers travel and accommodation expenses for the selected composers. The institute, which runs from March 9-14, is presented by the Minnesota Orchestra and the American Composers Forum in cooperation with the American Music Center.

The next composers institute will be held in October 2002. Composers who wish to participate must submit materials by May 15, 2002. Additional information is available on the ACF Web site.

What’s Next? A feature in Spin?

New York magazine, that bastion of New York style and scene, devoted a whole column of its March 11 weekly culture guide to the top-five new music events of the week. Alicia Zuckerman encourages readers: “Venture beyond Beethoven and Brahms, and you may be pleasantly surprised by what you hear-and at relatively modest ticket prices.” She highlights programs by the Da Capo Chamber Players, eighth blackbird, Electric X-Travaganza, and the American Composers Orchestra, as well as a concert of works by György Ligeti.