Six Composers Selected for 2012 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute

Six emerging composers have been selected as participants in the Minnesota Orchestra’s eleventh annual Composer Institute, Institute Director Aaron Jay Kernis announced today. Chosen from a pool of 153 candidates through a competitive process, the composers represent four nationalities and reside throughout the U.S., and their works encompass a variety of musical styles. They will be in Minneapolis from January 2 to 7, 2012, for rehearsals, seminars and tutoring sessions, as well as a public “Future Classics” concert of their works on Friday, January 6, led by Music Director Osmo Vänskä.

The six Composer Institute participants whose works will be performed on the Future Classics concert are: Brian Ciach of Bloomington, Indiana; Michael R. Holloway of St. Paul, Minnesota; Swedish born Adrian Knight of Brooklyn, New York; Hannah Lash of New York City; Portugal native Andreia Pinto-Correia of Boston, Massachusetts; and Chinese-born Shen Yiwen of New York City. Designated as first runners-up are Nicholas Pavkovic, Benjamin Sabey, Phil Taylor, and Alan Shockley.

“I am absolutely delighted to say that the competition for the six top spots was fierce, with many more imaginative and innovative pieces than would be possible to program on the upcoming season’s single Composer Institute concert,” says Kernis, who chaired the selection panel. “The jury noted that the number of works of excellent quality made the final choices of composers and works extremely difficult.” Other panel members included composers Martin Bresnick, Tania Leon, Steven Stucky and Michael Gatonska, the latter of whom is a Composer Institute alumnus.

The Orchestra’s Composer Institute, co-presented with the American Composers Forum, is widely recognized as one of the leading professional training programs for emerging symphonic composers. The Institute, directed by Kernis, is an outgrowth of the Orchestra’s Perfect Pitch program, an annual series of new music reading sessions for Minnesota composers launched during the 1995-96 season. Many of the 100 composers who have previously taken part in Perfect Pitch and the Composer Institute have gone on to receive major commissions, awards, grants and additional performances of their works.

Brian Ciach’s music has been premiered across the U.S., as well as in Germany and Italy, and has won recognition from such organizations as the National Federation of Music Clubs and American Liszt Society. He holds a doctorate in music composition from Indiana University, where he was also an associate instructor in music theory, and is active as a pianist specializing in performing new music. The Orchestra will perform his Collective Uncommon, Seven Orchestral Studies on Medical Oddities.

Michael R. Holloway writes music for concerts, television, film and radio, and has also spent time working with dancers and installations. His compositions combine a classical aesthetic with interests in the natural world, mathematics and physics. His recent works include Cantor, a string quartet exploring the mathematical theorems of Georg Cantor. He is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in composition at the McNally Smith College of Music. The Orchestra will perform his Rhythm: Theta Beta Theta.

Adrian Knight’s music has been performed across the East Coast and in Sweden. He has received grants from STIM and the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, as well as two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. He holds degrees from the Royal College of Music and Yale School of Music. Since 2008 he has operated the record label Pink Pamphlet. The Orchestra will perform his Manchester.

Hannah Lash has received numerous honors and prizes, including the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award and a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is a past participant in the American Composers Orchestra’s Underwood New Music Readings; her chamber opera Blood Rose was recently presented by New York City Opera’s VOX. She holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Harvard University. The Orchestra will perform her God Music Bug Music.

Andreia Pinto-Correia’s music is distinguished by influences of Iberian folk traditions, particularly Arab-Andalusian poetic forms. Highlights of her upcoming season include the Carnegie Hall premiere of a work commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra, and a residency with Portuguese chamber orchestra OrchestrUtópica. She is now working on her first opera. She is a teaching fellow and doctoral candidate at the New England Conservatory. The Orchestra will perform her Xantara.

Composer-pianist Shen Yiwen’s works have been performed by the Albany, American and Beijing Symphony Orchestras, De Capo Chamber Players, Colorado String Quartet, Talea Ensemble and Music from China Ensemble, among other ensembles. He is one of the first graduates from the Bard College Conservatory of Music, where he earned degrees in music composition and German studies; he is now a graduate student at the Juilliard School. The Orchestra will perform his First Orchestral Essay.

In addition to the six composers chosen to participate in the Composer Institute and the four first runners-up listed on page one of this release, the panel named the following composers as runners-up: Alexandra Bryant, Andres Carrizo, Daniel Thomas Davis, Andrew McPherson, Evan Meier, Ann Millikan and Ingrid Stölzel. Cited for honorable mention are: Jason Buchanan, Vincent Calianno, Max Duykers, Ryan Hare, Patrick Harlin, Timothy Helisek, Robert Honstein, I-Uen Hwang, Ilari Kaila, Pin Lin, Thomas Schneller, Christopher Walczak and David Werfelmann.

(—from the press release)

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