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 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: Claude Baker and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra; Gregory D’Alessio and the Cleveland Chamber Symphony; Magnus Lindberg and the Los Angeles Philharmonic; Hyo-shin Na and the San Jose Chamber Orchestra; Wayne Peterson and Earplay; Alvin Singleton and the American Composers Orchestra; Scott Wheeler and the New England String Ensemble.
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. Manuscripts of commissioned works are deposited in the Music Division of the Library of Congress.
The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the foundations commission Claude Baker to write a new piece for full orchestra. Baker, a professor of composition in the School of Music at Indiana University, Bloomington, served as composer-in- residence of the St. Louis Symphony for eight years. His works are published by MMB Music and Carl Fischer, and are recorded on the ACA, Gasparo and Louisville First Edition labels. The composer’s many honors include two Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards, the Leonard and George Eastman Prize, an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Manuel de Falla Prize in Madrid. Baker’s music has been performed by the orchestras of St. Louis, San Francisco, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Louisville, as well as by the New York Philharmonic, the National Symphony, the Orquesta Sinfónica de RTV Española and the Orquesta Nacional de España.
Gregory D’Alessio is an assistant professor of composition at Cleveland State University, where he is also the coordinator of the electronic and computer music program. His work has been recognized with honors and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ohio Arts Council, the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music, the Tanglewood Music Festival and the Aspen Music Festival. He received the Cleveland Arts Prize in 2002. In addition to composing and teaching, D’Alessio is the co-founder and co- editor of New Modern Music, an online magazine dedicated to contemporary music. The Cleveland Chamber Symphony joins the foundations in commissioning an orchestral work from D’Alessio.
Finnish composer Magnus Lindberg will write a work for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, to be performed during their 2003-2004 season in the new Walt Disney Concert Hall. A founding member of Finland’s Ears Open! Society and the experimental Toimii Ensemble, Lindberg received the Nordic Council Music Prize, the Prix Italia, and awards from the Royal Philharmonic Society, among others. His works have been featured at the Aldeburgh Festival, the Ars Musica Festival (Brussels), the Strassbourg Musica Festival and at “Related Rocks,” a project devoted to Lindberg’s works in London, Paris and Brussels. Lindberg’s music is available on the Deutsche Grammophon, Finlandia, Ondine and Sony recording labels.
As a recipient of the coveted Korean National Composers Prize and the Asian American Arts Foundation fellowship, Hyo-shin Na has had her music performed throughout Asia, as well as in Europe, Africa and North America. The composer is commissioned by the foundations and the San Jose Chamber Orchestra to write a work for string orchestra. Na, a California resident, has received commissions from the Fromm Foundation, the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts, New Music Works, Contemporary Music Ensemble Korea and Philharmonia Gaudi Vienna, among others. She is a frequent lecturer on the relationship between her music and traditional Korean music. The Fontec and Seoul recording labels have featured Na’s music. Na is the author of “Conversations with Kayageum Master Byung-ki Hwang,” published by Pulbit Press in Seoul.
Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Wayne Peterson receives his second Koussevitzky commission in conjunction with Earplay, a San Francisco-based contemporary music ensemble. His first commission, “Diptych,” was completed in 1992. Peterson has been professor of music at San Francisco State University for more than three decades, and from 1992-1994 was a guest professor of composition at Stanford University. He has been active as a guest composer at the University of Indiana, University of Minnesota, Brandeis University, and the University of California at Santa Barbara. Peterson’s works are recorded on CRI and Koch International, among other labels. In 1998, Peterson and San Francisco State University established the Wayne Peterson Prize in Music Composition, which they jointly continue to administer.
Alvin Singleton will write a work for full symphony orchestra, commissioned jointly by the foundations and the American Composers Orchestra. The work is scheduled to be performed during the orchestra’s 2003-2004 concert season at Carnegie Hall. After working for more than a decade in Europe, including residency in Rome as a Fulbright Scholar, Singleton returned to the United States to become composer-in-residence with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Subsequently, he served as resident composer at Spelman College in Atlanta and composer-in- residence with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He also served as Visiting Professor of Composition at the Yale University School of Music. Singleton’s honors include awards from the City of Darmstadt (Germany), Austrian Radio, the City of Atlanta, and the National Endowment for the Arts. His compositions have been performed by the symphony orchestras of Boston, Pittsburgh, Houston, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Detroit, among others across the United States and Europe.
Together the New England String Ensemble and the foundations commission a work for string orchestra from Scott Wheeler, whose “Northern Lights” (1988) was also commissioned by the foundations. Artistic director of Boston’s Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble, Wheeler also teaches at the New England Conservatory and Emerson College. He has received awards from the Guggenheim and Fromm foundations, Tanglewood, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, among others. Commissions have come from the orchestras of Minnesota, Houston, Toledo and Indianapolis, as well as the New York City Opera, soprano Renée Fleming and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Wheeler’s opera “Democracy” was commissioned by the Vilar Young Artist Program of the Washington Opera and will be premiered in the 2003-2004 concert season. Wheeler’s music is available on GM Recordings, Northeastern Records, Palexa and Koch International labels.