The Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress and the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, Inc., have awarded commissions for new musical works to ten composers. The commissions are 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: Anthony Brandt and the Flux Quartet; Quigang Chen and the Orchestre National de France; David Del Tredici and the Elements Quartet; Lukas Foss and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; Hi Kyung Kim and the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota; Tania Leon and The American Composers Orchestra; Thea Musgrave and Boston Musica Viva; Betty Olivero and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players; Andrew Rindfleisch and the Cleveland Chamber Symphony; Joan Tower and the Omaha Symphony, along with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Kansas City Symphony, Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra, the Peninsula Music Festival, and the Virginia Symphony.
The Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation and the Koussevitzky Music Foundation of New York, founded in 1950 and 1942, respectively, perpetuate Koussevitzky’s lifelong efforts to encourage contemporary composers.
Serge Koussevitzky was appointed conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1924 and served in that post for 25 years. He died in 1951. Works commissioned by him and the two foundations include established masterpieces such as Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes and Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra.
Commissions are awarded annually on a competitive basis and are open to performing organizations or individuals and to composers without regard to national origin or affiliation. Groups must submit an application for a composer whose work they would like to commission jointly with the foundations, and they must undertake to perform the work within two years of its completion. The next deadline for submission of applications is March 1, 2001. Manuscripts of commissioned works are deposited in the Music Division of the Library of Congress.
Composer Anthony Brandt is Assistant Professor of Composition at Rice University. He will write a new string quartet for the Flux Quartet. Dr. Brandt earned degrees from the California Institute of the Arts and Harvard University. His honors include fellowships from the Wellesley Composers Conference, the Tanglewood Music Festival, and two from the MacDowell Colony. Recent commissions have come from Orchestra X of Houston, and Karol Bennett and the Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra. Inside/Out, a music-and-art piece for children, received a special award for Design Collaboration from the Boston Society of Architects. Dr. Brandt is co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of “Soundout Digital Press,” a web-based publishing house for new American music. He is also co-author of the book Writing About Music.
The Orchestre National de France joins the foundations in commissioning a new symphonic work from composer Quigang Chen. Born in China, Mr. Chen was educated at the Central Conservatory of Beijing. As the result of a competition, he was permitted to study in Paris, where he became a pupil of Olivier Messiaen. His many awards include a First Prize from the French Ministry of Culture and the “Prize Villa Médicis Hors les Murs.” Chen is a frequent adjudicator at international music competitions. He has taught in Taiwan and Beijing, and currently serves a Artistic Consultant for the “Cité de la Musique Paris, 2000-2001.”
This award marks the second Koussevitzky commission for David Del Tredici; the Foundations commissioned Syzygy, for soprano and chamber orchestra, in 1967. The composer will write a new string quartet to be performed at the New York debut concert of the Elements Quartet. Del Tredici won the Pulitzer Prize in 1980 for In Memory of a Summer Day, one of numerous works based on the writings of Lewis Carroll. In addition, his honors include Guggenheim and Woodrow Wilson fellowships, the Friedheim Award, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Del Tredici is Distinguished Professor of Music at The City College of New York.
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the foundations jointly commission a new string quartet from composer Lukas Foss. The work will be written for, and first performed by, the Guarneri String Quartet. Born in Berlin, Foss came to the United States in 1937. He earned degrees in composition, conducting and piano from the Curtis Institute. By the age of twenty-three, he was already the recipient of a Pulitzer scholarship, a New York Critics’ Circle Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has continued to lead a varied career as composer and performer. Previously Foss received two Koussevitzky commissions, for Capriccio (1946) and Symphony of Chorales (1958).
The Chamber Music Society of Minnesota joins in commissioning Hi Kyung Kim to write a work as part of the organization’s program, featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma, commemorating events of World War II. A native of Korea, Kim received her doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley, where she was awarded numerous composition prizes. Other awards include fellowships from the Tanglewood Music Center, MacDowell Colony, Charles Dodge Foundation, and the American Music Center. Her works have been performed by the San Francisco Symphony, Cabrillo Music Festival, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Earplay, Speculum Musicae, and others. She is assistant professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz.
Composer Tania León will write a new work for the American Composers Orchestra to be premiered on their program “From Ellis Island to JFK,” part of the orchestra’s “20th Century Snapshots” series celebrating the millennium. Born in Havana, León came to the United States in 1967. At the invitation of Arthur Mitchell, she became a founding member and the first musical director of the Dance Theater of Harlem. She served as New Music Advisor to Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic; currently, León is Latin American Music Advisor to the American Composers Orchestra. Her honors include awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Chamber Music America; she held the Fromm Residency at the American Academy in Rome. León is Professor of Music at Brooklyn College.
Boston Musica Viva and the foundations commission a new chamber music work from composer Thea Musgrave, whose music first came to international attention through concerts aired over the British Broadcasting Corporation and produced at the Edinburgh Festival. Musgrave trained in Scotland and in Paris, including four years at the Conservatoire as a pupil of Nadia Boulanger. She received a Koussevitzky commission in 1974 for Space Play, and was awarded two Guggenheim fellowships. In 1987 Musgrave was appointed Distinguished Professor at Queens College, City University of New York
Israeli composer Betty Olivero, a resident of Italy since 1983, will create a new chamber work for the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. Olivero studied in Israel and then received a graduate degree from Yale University. The Leonard Bernstein Scholarship enabled her to study with Luciano Berio at the Berkshire Music Center and later in Italy. Her works have been performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Symphony Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
Andrew Rindfleisch will compose a new work scored for wind instruments and percussion for the Cleveland Chamber Symphony. Active as a conductor, Rindfleisch is Founder and Music Director of Boston’s Phantom Arts, an ensemble dedicated to contemporary American music. Rindfleisch received the Rome Prize and a Guggenheim fellowship, as well as awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Fromm Foundation. He had served residencies at the Charles Ives Center for American Music, the Czech-American Music Institute in Prague, and the MacDowell Festival. Professor of music composition at Cleveland State University, Rindfleisch holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin, the New England Conservatory and Harvard University.
Composer Joan Tower first received a Koussevitzky commission in 1982 for Music, a work for cello and orchestra. Tower is now commissioned to write a new viola concerto for soloist Paul Neubauer and the Omaha Symphony, with subsequent performances scheduled by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra, Peninsula Music Festival, and the Virginia Symphony. A native of New York, Tower studied piano and composition at Bennington College and Columbia University. In 1969 she founded the Da Capo Chamber Players, a contemporary music ensemble. Tower’s many honors and prizes have come from the National Endowment for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Naumburg Foundation, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She has served as composer-in-residence with the St. Louis Symphony orchestra.