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Discover This! 5 Pieces by Tania León

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Tania León

May 14, 1943 – Havana, Cuba

“Tania León, (b. Havana, Cuba) is highly regarded as a composer and conductor and recognized for her accomplishments as an educator and advisor to arts organizations. She has been profiled on ABC, CBS, CNN, PBS, Univision, Telemundo, and independent films.

León’s opera Scourge of Hyacinths, based on a play by Wole Soyinka with staging and design by Robert Wilson, received over 20 performances throughout Europe and Mexico. Commissioned by Hans Werner Henze and the city of Munich for the Fourth Munich Biennale, it took home the coveted BMW Prize. The aria “Oh Yemanja”(“Mother’s Prayer”) was recorded by Dawn Upshaw on her Nonesuch CD, “The World So Wide.”

Commissions include works for Ursula Oppens and the Cassatt Quartet, Nestor Torres, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New World Symphony, Koussevitzky Foundation, Fest der Kontinente (Hamburg, Germany), Cincinnati Symphony, National Endowment for the Arts, NDR Sinfonie Orchester, American Composers Orchestra, The Library of Congress, Ensemble Modern, The Los Angeles Master Chorale, and The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, among others.

Her works have been performed by such orchestras as the Gewaundhausorchester, L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the China National Symphony, and the NDR Orchestra. She has collaborated with authors and directors including John Ashbury, Margaret Atwood, Rita Dove, Jamaica Kincaid, Mark Lamos, Julie Taymor, and Derek Walcott.

León has appeared as guest conductor with the Symphony Orchestra and Chorus of Marseille, the Orquesta Sinfonica de Asturias, L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Orquesta Filarmonica de Bogota, the Gewaundhausorchester, Chamber Orchestra of Geneve, Switzerland, the Guanajuato Symphony Orchestra, Mexico, Symphony Orchestra of Johannesburg, and the WaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, South Africa, as well as the Orquesta de la Comunidad y Coro de Madrid, and the New York Philharmonic, among others.

She has lectured at Harvard University and at the prestigious Mosse Lecture series at the University of Humboldt in Berlin and was the Andrew Mellon Foundation’s Distinguished Scholar at the Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, South Africa. León was also Visiting Professor at Yale University, Guest Composer/Conductor at the Hamburg Musikschule, Germany and the Beijing Central Conservatory, China.

A founding member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, León instituted the Brooklyn Philharmonic Community Concert Series, co-founded the Sonidos de las Américas festivals with the American Composers Orchestra, and is the founder of Composers Now festival in New York City. She also served as Latin American Advisor to the American Composers Orchestra and New Music Advisor to the New York Philharmonic.

León has also received Honorary Doctorate Degrees from Colgate University, Oberlin, and SUNY Purchase College, and has served as U.S. Artistic Ambassador of American Culture in Madrid, Spain. A Professor at Brooklyn College since 1985 and at the Graduate Center of CUNY, she was named Distinguished Professor of the City University of New York in 2006. In 2010 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Her honors include the New York Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Symphony Space’s Access to the Arts, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, and the Fromm, Koussevitzky, and Guggenheim Fellowships. In 2012 she received both a Grammy nomination (for “Best Contemporary Classical Composition”) and a Latin Grammy nomination (for “Best Classical Contemporary Composition”) and in 2013 she was the recipient of the prestigious 2013 ASCAP Victor Herbert Award.” – tanialeon.com

Discover This! 5 Pieces by Missy Mazzoli

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Missy Mazzoli

October 27, 1980 – Lansdale, PA, USA

“Now an established composer on the contemporary music scene, Missy Mazzoli’s talent draws audiences equally into concert halls and rock clubs. Her unique music reflects a trend among composers of her generation who combine styles, writing music for the omnivorous audiences of the 21st century. She inhabits a gorgeous and mysterious sound-world that melds indie-rock sensibilities with formal training from Louis Andriessen, David Lang, and others. Practically speaking, she amasses music in layers not normally found together but in ways that create matchless vertical harmonies.

Recently deemed “one of the more consistently inventive, surprising composers now working in New York” by The New York Times, and “Brooklyn’s post-millennial Mozart” by Time Out New York, her music has been performed all over the world by the Kronos Quartet, JACK Quartet, eighth blackbird, LA Opera, Roomful of Teeth, Crash Ensemble, Britten Sinfonia, Detroit Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Sydney Symphony, Opera Philadelphia, New York City Opera, pianist Emanuel Ax, cellist Maya Beiser, violinist Jennifer Koh, and many others.

Upcoming projects include the world premiere of her chamber opera Breaking the Waves, based on Lars von Trier’s 1996 film, at Opera Philadelphia in September 2016, and a production of her 2012 opera, Song from the Uproar at Chautauqua Opera in August 2016. Other recent projects include Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres) for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Vesper Sparrow for Roomful of Teeth, New New York Songs for the Young People’s Chorus of New York; Bolts of Loving Thunder for Emanuel Ax; and Quartet for Queen Mab for ETHEL.” – from Music Sales Classical

Discover This! 5 Pieces by Paula Matthusen

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Paula Matthusen

USA

“Paula Matthusen is a composer who writes both electroacoustic and acoustic music and realizes sound installations. In addition to writing for a variety of different ensembles, she also collaborates with choreographers and theater companies. She has written for diverse instrumentations, such as “run-on sentence of the pavement” for piano, ping-pong balls, and electronics, which Alex Ross of The New Yorker noted as being “entrancing”. Her work often considers discrepancies in musical space—real, imagined, and remembered.

Her music has been performed by Dither, Mantra Percussion, the Bang On A Can All-Stars, Alarm Will Sound, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), orchest de ereprijs, The Glass Farm Ensemble, the Estonian National Ballet, James Moore, Kathryn Woodard, Todd Reynolds, Kathleen Supové, Margaret Lancaster and Jody Redhage. Her work has been performed at numerous venues and festivals in America and Europe, including the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music, the MusicNOW Series of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Ecstatic Music Festival, Other Minds, the MATA Festival, Merkin Concert Hall, the Aspen Music Festival, Bang on a Can Summer Institute of Music at MassMoCA, the Gaudeamus New Music Week, SEAMUS, International Computer Music Conference and Dither’s Invisible Dog Extravaganza. She performs frequently with the electroacoustic duo ouisaudei, Object Collection, and through the theater company Kinderdeutsch Projekts.

Awards include the Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Fulbright Grant, two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers’ Awards, First Prize in the Young Composers’ Meeting Composition Competition, the MacCracken and Langley Ryan Fellowship, the “New Genre Prize” from the IAWM Search for New Music, and recently the 2014 Elliott Carter Rome Prize. Matthusen has also held residencies at The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, create@iEar at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, STEIM, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Matthusen completed her Ph.D. at New York University – GSAS. She was Director of Music Technology at Florida International University for four years, where she founded the FLEA Laptop Ensemble. Matthusen is currently Assistant Professor of Music at Wesleyan University, where she teaches experimental music, composition, and music technology.” – paulamatthusen.com

Discover This! 5 Pieces by Eve Beglarian

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Eve Beglarian

July 22, 1958 – Ann Arbor, MI, USA

“According to the Los Angeles Times, composer and performer Eve Beglarian “is a humane, idealistic rebel and a musical sensualist.” She has been awarded the 2015 Robert Rauschenberg Prize from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts for her “innovation, risk-taking, and experimentation.”

Beglarian’s current projects include Lighten Up, an multimedia music-theater piece about visionary visual artists in America; the long-term undertaking A Book of Days, text/music/visuals, one for each day of the year; and Brim, the ensemble and repertoire she has created in response to her 2009 journey down the Mississippi River by kayak and bicycle.

Beglarian’s chamber, choral, and orchestral music has been commissioned and widely performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the American Composers Orchestra, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the California EAR Unit, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Relâche, the Paul Dresher Ensemble, Sequitur, loadbang, the Guidonian Hand, Newspeak, the Ekmeles Vocal Ensemble and individual performers including Maya Beiser, Sarah Cahill, Lauren Flanigan, Marya Martin, and Mary Rowell.

Highlights of Beglarian’s work in music theater includes music for Mabou Mines’ Obie-winning Dollhouse, Animal Magnetism, Ecco Porco,Choephorai, and Shalom Shanghai, all directed by Lee Breuer;Forgiveness, a collaboration with Chen Shi-Zheng and Noh master Akira Matsui; and the China National Beijing Opera Theater’s production of The Bacchae, also directed by Chen Shi-Zheng.

She has collaborated with choreographers including Ann Carlson, Robert LaFosse, Victoria Marks, Susan Marshall, David Neumann, Megan Williams, and Take Ueyama, and with visual and video artists including Cory Arcangel, Anne Bray, Vittoria Chierici, Barbara Hammer, Kevork Mourad, Shirin Neshat, Matt Petty, Bradley Wester, and Judson Wright.

Performance projects include Brim, Songs from a Book of Days, The Story of B, Open Secrets, Hildegurls’ Ordo Virtutum, twisted tutu, and typOpera.

Recordings of Eve’s music are available on ECM, Koch, New World,Canteloupe, Innova, Naxos, Kill Rock Stars, CDBaby, and Bandcamp.” – evbvd.com

Discover This! 3 Pieces by Rose Bolton

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Rose Bolton

Toronto, Canada

“Rose Bolton is one of Canada’s most innovative and multi-faceted composers. She has an extensive track record writing music for film, having composed seven full length documentary film scores for broadcasters such as CBC, TVO, Logo TV, and Arte in France.  As well, her music for electronics and instruments have been part of several innovative multimedia projects. 2013 saw the premiere of a work for the players of Continuum, with 16 speaker electronics. In 2013 she also presented four works for violin, electronics and film at the Music Gallery’s X Avant festival, and collaborated with environmental artist Karen Abel, on a multimedia installation at the Gladstone Hotel’s Grow Op event.

In 2011 she was commissioned by the Canadian Music Centre to create a sound and video installation for Toronto’s 2011 Nuit Blanche, which was produced in collaboration with Marc de Guerre, and close to 1000 people experienced the piece during the all-night event. Her concert music has been performed across Canada by Canada’s leading ensembles, including the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, the Vancouver Symphony, the Esprit Orchestra, L’ensemble contemporain de Montréal, and the Aradia Ensemble.

June 2015 marked the premiere of The Song of Extinction, a feature length live concert event scored for strings, chamber ensemble, choir, and ambient atmospheres with found sounds. This fully immersive experience, about the calamitous impact human beings are having on the planet, is a collaboration with video artist Marc de Guerre and poet Don McKay, and will be performed by the Music in the Barns Chamber Ensemble in the giant Mainspace of Toronto’s Artscape Wychwood Barns.” – rosebolton.com

Discover This! 5 Pieces by Libby Larsen

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Libby Larsen

December 24, 1950 – Wilmington, DE, USA

“Libby Larsen (b. 24 December 1950, Wilmington, Delaware) is one of America’s most performed living composers. She has created a catalogue of over 500 works spanning virtually every genre from intimate vocal and chamber music to massive orchestral works and over 15 operas. Grammy award-winning and widely recorded, including over 50 CD’s of her work, she is constantly sought after for commissions and premieres by major artists, ensembles, and orchestras around the world, and has established a permanent place for her works in the concert repertory.

As a vigorous, articulate advocate for the music and musicians of our time, in 1973 Larsen co-founded the Minnesota Composers Forum, now the American Composer’s Forum, which has become an invaluable aid for composers in a transitional time for American arts. A former holder of the Papamarkou Chair at John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, Larsen has also held residencies with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Charlotte Symphony, and the Colorado Symphony.” – libbylarsen.com

Discover This! 5 Pieces by Mary Ellen Childs

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Mary Ellen Childs

April 13, 1957 – Lafayette, IN, USA

“Mary Ellen Childs has been acclaimed for creating both rhythmic, exuberant instrumental works and bold, kinetic compositions that integrate music, dance and theater in fresh and unexpected ways. She has created numerous “visual percussion” pieces that embody the concept of music in motion, for her ensemble CRASH. Her repertoire includes Click, a fast-paced, game-like work for three stick-wielding performers; DrumRoll, for four drummers on wheels; Sight of Hand, based on uniquely American forms of body percussion—girls’ clapping games, hamboning, and baseball coaching signals —and Crash, a full-evening work for 6 crash cymbal players on rollerstools and various other rolling means of transportation. The Village Voice deemed Click “a newly born classic, like Steve Reich’s Clapping Music, only a thousand times more virtuosic. Myself, I can’t whistle, but afterward everybody who could, did.” Her output also includes multi-monitor video pieces A Chording To and the award winning Still Life, which captured first place awards at the International Multi-Image Festival and at the American Film and Video Festival.

She writes for a variety of ensembles, including solo accordion, string quartets, chamber groups, and vocal groups. She has received commissions from the Kronos Quartet, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Opera America, the Dale Warland Singers, The Kitchen, the Walker Art Center, Other Minds, Live Music for Dance NY/NJ, Meet The Composer’s commissioning programs, and the MAP Fund.  Her full-length works include Dream House for string quartet (written for ETHEL) and multi-image video, based on images of destruction and construction, cycles of time, and rhythms of construction work; Stone Steel Wood Glass Light, written for the Chicago Architectural Biennial and performed at the Farnsworth House (a glass house designed by Mies van der Rohe); and Wreck, created for the Black Label Movement Company, for which she won a 2008 Sage Award.  Other recent projects include Now, for Anthony de Mare’s LIAISONS project; Scry for trombone quartet Guidonian Hand, through a commission from Chamber Music America; and an orchestra piece, Sweep, commissioned for GTCYS. She has composed two works for concert band, Green Light and Zephyrus (published by Boosey & Hawkes). Her opera Propeller, commissioned with funds from Opera American and the MAP Fund, received additional developmental support at the Duffy Composers Institute in 2015. One of her favorite instruments to write for is the accordion, and as a result of her close working association with accordionist Guy Klucevsek, she has created nearly a dozen works that include the instrument. “Mary Ellen Childs’s quiet pointillistic Oa Poa Polka had notes peeping from all over the accordion,” observed the New York Times of one performance, “with the oompah just barely winking into view.”

Over the last thirty years she has received numerous awards and fellowships, including a 2011 United States Artist Friends Fellowship, two Bush Foundation Fellowships, five McKnight Foundation Fellowships, a fellowship in support of her interdisciplinary work from Intermedia Arts, and seven Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Awards. Childs has received support from the NEA’s Composer-in-Residence program, Meet The Composer, and the American Composers Forum (Jerome Commissioning awards), a Creative Explorations award from Creative Capital.

Her music has been performed in Europe, Eastern Europe, Japan, and Australia. Her percussion group CRASH traveled to Russia three times, and recently performed in Cuba at the invitation of the Havana International Theater Festival. She has received artists fellowships from the McKnight Foundation, the Bush Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board. Compact discs of her work include Kilter (XI label) and Dream House (innova), a remix of Dream House, titled Chamberhouse (Sugarfoot Recordings), Wreck (innova), Documerica(string quartet ETHEL, innova), Liaisons: Re-imagining Sondheim, among others.” – maryellenchilds.com