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: Mason Bates and Young Concert Artists; Jonathan Dawe and the Brentano String Quartet; Robert Dick and the New York New Music Ensemble; Tamar Diesendruck and the Pro Arte Quartet; Alexander Goehr and the London Sinfonietta; Jonathan Kramer and Moebius Ensemble; Kui Dong and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players; James Mobberley and the newEar Ensemble; Laura Elise Schwendinger and Spectrum Concerts Berlin; Melinda Wagner and Orchestra 2001.
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, 2003. Manuscripts of commissioned works are deposited in the Music Division of the Library of Congress.
Mason Bates is Composer-in-Residence at Young Concert Artists, Inc., who co-commissions a new work for clarinet and piano with the Koussevitzky Foundations. Bates’ Free Variations for Orchestra, commissioned by the Evansville Philharmonic, received the inaugural Jacob Druckman Prize at the Aspen Music Festival. Other honors include the ASCAP Leo Kaplan Award, the Charles Ives Scholarship at the American Academy-Institute of Arts and Letters, and a commission from the Phoenix Symphony. Bates was a Fellow in Composition at the Tanglewood Music Center. He hold degrees from Columbia University and The Juilliard School, where he worked with John Corigliano, David Del Tredici and Samuel Adler. Bates, who grew up in Richmond, Virginia, is pursuing a doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley.
Jonathan Dawe holds degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and the Juilliard School, where he studied composition with Richard Hoffman and Milton Babbitt. Dawe is commissioned jointly by the foundations to write a new work for the Brentano String Quartet. Among his awards and honors are commissions from the Fromm Foundation, the Presser Award, the Bearns Prize, two ASCAP awards, and two BMI prizes. Dawe has been on the faulty of The Juilliard School since 1995.
Noted as a virtuoso performer as well as a composer, flutist Robert Dick is commissioned by the New York New Music Ensemble and the Koussevitzky Foundations to create a new chamber work. As a composer, Dick has received awards from the Guggenheim, Jerome, and Fromm foundations, and from the NEA, from which he also received the Solo Recitalist Grant . Through his performances and compositions, Dick spans music traditions from classical to jazz. While touring as a concert artist, Dick often presents master classes, such as those at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Vienna Conservatory, the Royal College of Music in London, Soai University in Kyoto, and The Juilliard School.
Born in Tel Aviv and raised in New England, Tamar Diesendruck studied fine arts, and later music, at Brandeis University, where Seymour Shifrin, Martin Boykan, and Edward Cohen were her teachers. As a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, she worked with Andrew Imbrie, Richard Felciano, Edwin Dugger, Olly Wilson, and Walter Winslow. The Koussevitzky Foundations commissioned Diesendruck’s Such Stuff, for string quartet, in 1987; Diesendruck’s commission for a new string quartet is offered jointly by the foundations and the Pro Arte Quartet. Diesendruck, who teaches at the New England Conservatory, received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the American Academy in Rome, the Pennsylvania Arts Council, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Guggenheim Foundation, among others. Some of her commissions have come from Richard Lalli, the Fromm Foundation, the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony, and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players.
This marks the third Koussevitzky commission for composer Alexander Goehr; his Concerto for piano and orchestra was commissioned in 1969, and his Colossos or Panic for orchestra in 1990. He now will write a chamber work for members of the London Sinfonietta, who jointly commissions Goehr with the Koussevitzky Foundations. While a student at the Royal Manchester College of Music, Goehr founded the New Music Manchester Group with Harrison Birtwistle, Peter Maxwell Davies and John Ogdon, and with Olivier Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod in Paris. In the 1960s, while working for the BBC, he formed the Music Theatre Ensemble. He has taught at the New England Conservatory, Yale University, Leeds University, and, since 1975, the University of Cambridge. Goehr has served twice as Composer-in Residence at Tanglewood. He is an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
The Moebius Ensemble joins the foundations in commissioning Jonathan Kramer to write a work for chamber ensemble. Professor of Composition and Theory at Columbia University, Kramer has published widely on theoretical subjects. Kramer served as Program Annotator for the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, and has been Annotator of the Cincinnati Symphony since 1980; Schirmer Books publishes a collection of his program notes, Listen to the Music. He received degrees from Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied with Karlheinz Stockhausen, Roger Sessions, Leon Kirchner, and Seymour Shifrin, among others. Honors include a Barlow Endowment commission, fellowships and grants from the NEA and the NEH.
Kui Dong was born in China and received degrees in theory and composition from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. In 1991 Kui moved to California, where she obtained her doctorate in composition from Stanford University. She is Assistant Professor of Music at Dartmouth College. The Foundations and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players commission a new work for chamber ensemble from Kui. Among her honors are the 2001 ISCM (International Society for Contemporary Music) Composers’ Competition award, the Bellagio Artist Residency grant, and commissions from the Mary Cary Flagler Trust and the NEA, and the Dale Warland Singers.
James Mobberley is commissioned to compose a chamber work incorporating pre-recorded sounds and interactive electronics for the “newEar” Ensemble, where he is Composer-in-Residence. Curators’ Professor of Music at the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Mobberely served as the Kansas City Symphony’s first composer-in-residence. He has received numerous awards, fellowships and grants, including those from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rome Prize, and the 2001 Van Cliburn Invitational. Commissions have come from the Barlow Endowment, Meet the Composer, and the St. Louis Symphony Chamber Series, among others. Mobberley studied at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and received his doctorate from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Donald Erb and Eugene O’Brien.
Spectrum Concerts Berlin, a German-based ensemble, co-commissions Laura Elise Schwendinger to write a new work for violin, cello, clarinet and piano. Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Schwendinger received her doctorate in composition from the University of California, Berkeley, where she worked with Andrew Imbrie. She received commissions from the Fromm Foundation and the Harvard Musical Association, and prizes from the American Academy in Berlin, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Barlow Endowment.
Pulitzer-prize winning composer Melinda Wagner receives a commission from Orchestra 2001 and the Koussevitzky Foundations to write a work for chamber ensemble. Wagner received graduate degrees in composition from the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania; she studied with Richard Wernick, George Crumb, Shulamit Ran, and Jay Reise. A native of Philadelphia, Wagner has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Swarthmore College, Syracuse University, and Hunter College. Among her numerous honors are fellowships and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, ASCAP, the MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo. Recent commissions have come from the Barlow Foundation, Fromm Foundation, and the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust.