Koussevitzky Foundation Announces Commission Winners for 2008
The Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress and the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, Inc. have awarded commissions for new musical works to seven composers. The commissions are being granted jointly by the foundations and the performing organizations that will present the newly composed works.
Award winners and the groups co‑sponsoring their commissions are Edmund Campion and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players; Yu-Hui Chang and the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble; Kee Yong Chong and the Momenta Quartet, Sofia Gubaidulina and “Contempo,” the Contemporary Chamber Players of the University of Chicago; Christopher Wendell Jones and sfSound; Eric Lindsay and the Adorno Ensemble; and Bruno Mantovani and eighth blackbird.
The Koussevitzky Music Foundation, Inc. and the Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress established in 1942 and 1950 respectively, perpetuate Serge Koussevitzky’s lifelong efforts to encourage contemporary composers. Koussevitzky was appointed conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) in 1924, a post he held for 25 years. Works commissioned by him and the two foundations include such established masterpieces as Benjamin Britten’s "Peter Grimes" and Béla Bartók’s "Concerto for Orchestra."
Commissions are awarded on a competitive basis and are open to performing organizations and to composers regardless of national origin or affiliation. Performing groups must submit an application for a composer whose work they would like to jointly commission with the foundations, and the groups must perform the work within two years of its completion. Manuscripts of commissioned works are deposited in the Music Division of the Library of Congress.
A native of Taiwan, Yu-Hui Chang came to the U.S. in 1994, at age 24, to pursue graduate studies at Boston University and at Brandeis University, where she was awarded a doctorate in composition. Her works have been performed in the Netherlands, Italy, China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and throughout the U.S. Orchestras programming Chang’s works include the Taipei Symphony and the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan, along with leading chamber ensembles, such as Adorno, Dinosaur Annex, Earplay, the Group for Contemporary Music, Nieuw Ensemble, and the Alexander and Lydian String Quartets. Awards and fellowships include those from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Yoshiro Irino Memorial Prize from the Asian Composers League. Chang teaches composition at Brandeis University. The Left Coast Chamber Ensemble joins the Foundations in commissioning Chang.
Edmund Campion is Professor of Music at the University of Berkeley in California, where he also serves as co-director of the Center for New Music and AudioTechnologies. The San Francisco Chamber Music Players co-commission the composer’s new work. Born in Dallas, Texas, in 1957, Campion received his doctorate in composition from Columbia University. He also attended the Paris Conservatory. Campion’s works have been produced and commissioned by IRCAM (L’Institut de Reserche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique) in Paris, Radio France, and the Centre National de Création Musicale. The Rome Prize, the Nadia Boulanger Award, the Paul Fromm Award at Tanglewood, and the Fulbright and Charles Ives fellowships are among his many honors. Recent projects include a Fromm Foundation commission written for the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, and a French Ministry of Culture Commande d’etat, composed for the Percussion de Strasbourg Ensemble.
Chong Kee Yong was born in Malaysia in 1971. Leaving a rural farming community for studies in Kuala Lumpur, Chong prepared for undergraduate work at China’s Xian Conservatory, and advanced degrees at the Royal Flemish Conservatory. The composer has earned numerous prizes and honors in Europe and Asia, among them the Prix Marcel Hastir at the Royal Academy(Belgium), the Andrzej Panufnik Competition(Poland), the Max Reger-Tage International Competition (Germany), and the Isang Yun Music Prize (Korea). In addition, Chong won the 2004 Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra’s International Composers’ Award, marking a celebrated return home and recognition as a leading figure in Malaysian art music. Recent commissions include works for the Musica Viva Festival in Munich and Vlaaderen Symphonie Orkest in Belgium. Chong will write the new commission for the Momenta Quartet.
Contempo, the University of Chicago’s new music ensemble, joins the Foundations in commissioning Sofia Gubaidulina, who was born in the Tartar Republic of the Soviet Union in 1931. She trained in piano and composition at the conservatories in Kazan and Moscow. In the 1970s, Gubaidulina co-founded the Astreia Ensemble, a group that enabled the composer to explore compositional techniques with Russian, Caucasian, and Asian folk instruments, which combined with Western techniques as influences on her style. She was first allowed to travel to the West in 1985, and since then her list of commissions, performances, recorded works, and prizes has grown dramatically and significantly. Her commissions have come from world-renowned ensembles, such as the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, and Kronos Quartet, among many others. Gubaidulina has been recognized in the U.S. by election as a foreign honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in Russia, Asia, and throughout Europe with distinguished prizes and honors. The composer’s works are widely recorded; her music is published in North America by G. Schirmer, Inc. Gubaidulina makes her home outside of Hamburg, Germany.
Christopher Wendell Jones resides in San Francisco and teaches at Stanford University, where he earned his doctorate in music composition. Jones was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1961. His music has been featured internationally at festivals and in concert series including the Darmstadt Ferienkurse in Germany, the Ictus International Composition Seminar in Brussels, Italy’s Cortona Contemporary Music Festival, and Merkin Hall’s Interpretations Series in New York City. Active as a pianist and conductor, Jones has collaborated with other composers, ensembles, and soloists in presenting works by emerging composers as well as immanent masters of contemporary literature. His new work is written for sfSound, a San Francisco contemporary performance group.
Born in 1980, Eric Lindsay grew up on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound. He received his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and master’s in composition from the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. Lindsay is the recipient of the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, the Peter David Faith Endowed Memorial Award and the Carolyn Alchin Memorial Scholarship, both from U.S.C., and the Robert Schumann Scholarship in Composition from the Aspen Music Festival and School. As a performer, Lindsay twice won the Seattle Symphony’s Gold Medalist Program as an oboist, and he received an award from the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival as a pianist. An instructor in the composition department at Indiana University, Lindsay’s works are available through Peermusic Classical. The Adorno Ensemble, based in San Francisco, co-commissions the new work with the Foundations.
The ensemble eighth blackbird joins the Foundations in commissioning Bruno Mantovani. Born in 1974, the composer studied piano, percussion, and jazz at the Perpignan Conservatory before entering the Paris Conservatory. He later earned a master’s degree in musicology at the University of Rouen. Mantovani has been commissioned by Radio France, the Orchestre de Paris, the Orchestre de Saarbrucken, Cologne Radio, and the Ensemble InterContemporain, among many others. Prizes and fellowships have come from the City of Stuttgart, Gaudeamus in Amsterdam, the Academy of Beaux-Arts, and the Nadia and Lili Boulanger Foundation. Prestigious festivals and music programs across Europe have featured Mantovani’s works. His music is available on the Aeon recording label.