The American Composers Orchestra has announced that the winner of the 2017 Underwood Commission is Hilary Purrington, after the reading of her piece Likely Pictures in Haphazard Sky during the annual Underwood sessions in June. She will receive a $15,000 commission to write a new work for the ACO to be premiered in a future season.
The winner of the Audience Choice Award (voted on by the audience in attendance at the reading sessions) is Alexander Timofeev for his piece Fantasme for orchestra. Alexander will also be commissioned to write a short work for the ACO for a future season.
Purrington’s Likely Pictures in Haphazard Sky contrasts moments of delicate sparseness with passages of rich textures and emphatic lyricism. The title comes from a poem called “Starlight” by William Meredith. Meredith uses constellations to explore, among other things, humanity’s natural fear of randomness and instinctive desire to find or create meaningful patterns.
Timofeev describes Fantasme for orchestra as a “sequence of contrasting musical images, an emotional journey that could take the listener in an unexpected direction.” The work is inspired by the composer’s experience of a melody by Mozart.
The readings took place in New York at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music on June 22 and 23. ACO Artistic Director Derek Bermel directed the readings; ACO music director George Manahan conducted; and the mentor composers were Libby Larsen, Trevor Weston, and David Rakowski.
Read more about the readings, the commissions, and the award-winning composers on the ACO website.