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December 13, 2005

Library of Congress Koussevitzky Foundation Announces 2005 Commission Winners

The Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress and the Koussevitzky Music Foundation Inc. have awarded commissions for new musical works to nine composers. The commissions are granted jointly by the foundations and the performing organizations that will present the newly composed works.

Award winners and the performing groups cosponsoring their commissions are: Eric Chasalow and the Auros Group for New Music; Chou Wen-Chung and Boston Musica Viva; Stephen Hartke and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra; Jing Jing Luo and Music from China; Bernard Rands and Network for New Music; Roger Reynolds and the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group; Poul Ruders and the Royal Danish Orchestra; Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez and the Society for New Music; and Chinary Ung and the Del Sol String Quartet.

The Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation and the Koussevitzky Music Foundation of New York, founded in 1950 and 1942 respectively, perpetuate Serge Koussevitzky’s lifelong efforts to encourage contemporary composers. Koussevitzky was appointed music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) in 1924, a post he held for 25 years. Works commissioned by him and the two foundations include masterpieces such as Bartók’s "Concerto for Orchestra," "Copland’s Symphony No. 3" and Britten’s "Peter Grimes."

Commissions are awarded on an annual basis and are open to performing organizations or individuals and composers worldwide, regardless of national origin or affiliation. Manuscripts of commissioned works are deposited in the Library of Congress Music Division. More information and submission guidelines can be found on the Web at www.koussevitzky.org.

Composer Eric Chasalow is commissioned by the foundations and the Auros Group for New Music, one of New England’s premiere contemporary chamber ensembles, based in Boston. He is professor of music at Brandeis University and director of Brandeis Electro-Acoustic Music Studio (BEAMS). He holds a doctorate from Columbia University. Among his honors are awards from the Guggenheim and Fromm foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts. Chasalow’s music and recordings are available from labels including G. Schirmer, Suspicious Motives Music and New World Records.

Boston Musica Viva, founded in 1969 as the first professional ensemble devoted to contemporary music in Boston, joins with the foundations to commission a new septet from Chou Wen-Chung. The new work will honor Chou’s former teacher, renowned composer Edgard VarPse. Born in China, Chou had already completed a civil engineering degree before arriving in the United States to study architecture. His plans quickly changed as he enrolled at the New England Conservatory and later received a degree from Columbia University. He served extensively as academic dean at Columbia’s School of the Arts, where he developed the curriculum for the doctoral program in composition. President of Composers’ Recordings Inc. and founder of the Center for U.S.-China Arts Exchange, Chou is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has been honored with the Rockefeller Award, the University of Cincinnati Award for Excellence and many fellowships and commissions.

This marks the second Koussevitzky commission for composer Stephen Hartke, whose "Violin Concerto" was written for the foundations and the Albany Symphony Orchestra in 1991. Hartke will write a new concerto grosso, inspired by Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, for the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. A native of Orange, N.J., Hartke is professor of composition at the University of Southern California. He holds degrees from Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California at Santa Barbara. His works have been commissioned by major orchestras and ensembles such as the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. Recordings of his music are available on CRI, EMI Classics, Naxos and New World Records.

Chinese-born composer Jing Jing Luo will write a new work for Music from China, a New York ensemble that specializes in the performance of traditional and contemporary Chinese works. She received her undergraduate degree in Shanghai prior to earning graduate degrees from the New England Conservatory and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Luo has been honored with fellowships from the Asian Council on the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Ford and Rockefeller foundations. Among her other commissions, distributed and published by Subito Music Corporation, are works for the Beijing Symphony, China Central Philharmonic, China Opera House Symphony, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, San Francisco Women’s Philharmonic, EarPlay ensemble and Philadelphia’s Network for New Music.

The foundations join with the Philadelphia-based Network for New Music to commission a piece for voice and chamber ensemble by Bernard Rands. Rands received two previous Koussevitzky commissions – one in 1983 for his orchestral "Suite No. 2" ("Le Tambourin") and the other in 1994 for "Canzoni," written for the Philadelphia Orchestra, where he served as composer-in-residence for seven years. Among his recent commissions are those from the Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic orchestras. Rands, who is professor of music at Harvard University, is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His works are published exclusively by EAM/Helicon. A Pulitzer Prize winner, Rands is originally from England and settled in the United States in 1975.

Composer Roger Reynolds is commissioned by the foundations and the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group to write a new work for chamber ensemble. Educated in music and science at the University of Michigan, he is professor of music at the University of California at San Diego, where he became founding director of the Center for Music Experiment (now the Center for Research for Computing in the Arts). He received the Pulitzer Prize in 1989 for "Whispers Out of Time" for string orchestra. Other honors have come from the National Institute of Arts and Letters and the National Endowment for the Arts. Reynolds has published four books, including "Form and Method: Composing Music" (Routledge), a detailed treatment of his compositional approach.

The Royal Danish Orchestra and the foundations commission Poul Ruders to write his third symphony; his "Symphony No. 2" was also commissioned by the foundations in 1994. A graduate of the Royal Danish Academy with a major in organ performance, Ruders is largely self-taught as a composer. His many commissions include large-scale works for the British Broadcasting Corporation Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic and the Royal Danish Opera. Recordings of Ruders’ works are available on the DaCapo and Bridge labels.

The Society for New Music, a Syracuse, N.Y., ensemble in its 34th season, joins the foundations in commissioning a new work from composer Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez. Born in Mexico City, Sanchez-Gutierrez grew up in Guadalajara before coming to study in the United States at the Peabody Conservatory, Yale and Princeton Universities. He has taught at San Francisco State University and Yale and is currently on the faculty of the Eastman School of Music. Among Sanchez-Gutierrez’s many awards are first prize at the 2001 Sinfomnica Orchestral Competition and fellowships from the Guggenheim, Fulbright, Fromm, Barlow and Rockefeller foundations. A member of Mexico’s prestigious Sisterna Nacional de Creadores de Arte, Sanchez-Gutierrez was named "Person of the Year 2000" by the Mexican daily Publico.

Chinary Ung will write a new work for the San Francisco-based Del Sol String Quartet. This marks the third Koussevitzky award for Ung, whose earlier commissions were for mezzo-soprano and chamber ensemble ("Mohori," 1973) and for wind quintet ("Spiral VII," 1994). Born in Cambodia, Ung came to the United States in 1964 to attend the Manhattan School of Music, where he received degrees in clarinet performance before earning his doctorate in composition at Columbia University. In 1989 he became the first American to win the coveted Grawemeyer Award for his "Inner Voices," commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra. Published exclusively by C.F. Peters, his music is recorded on the CRI, New World and Argo labels. Ung is professor of composition at the University of California, San Diego.

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PR 05-254
12/13/05
ISSN 0731-3527

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