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March 18, 2008 (REVISED March 25, 2008)

Koussevitzky Foundation Awards Seven Music Commissions

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 foundations and the performing organizations that will present the newly composed works are jointly granting the commissions.

Award winners and the groups co-sponsoring their commissions are Derek Bermel and the American Composers Orchestra; Chester Biscardi and Sequitur; Matthew Greenbaum and Ensemble SurPlus; Arthur Kampela and Linea Ensemble; Jonathan Keren and Suedama Ensemble with the 92nd Street Y; Thierry Lancino and Radio France; and Dan Yuhas and Israel Contemporary Players.

The Koussevitzky Music Foundation of New York and the Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation, established in 1942 and 1950, respectively, perpetuate Serge Koussevitzky’s lifelong efforts to encourage contemporary composers. Koussevitzky was appointed conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) in 1924, a post he held for 25 years. Works commissioned by him and the two foundations include such established masterpieces 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 regardless of national origin or affiliation. Manuscripts of commissioned works are deposited in the Music Division of the Library of Congress. More information can be found at www.koussevitzky.org.

Derek Bermel is commissioned to write an orchestral work for the American Composers Orchestra (ACO), where he serves as the "Music Alive" composer-in-residence. Bermel’s new piece will be performed on the ACO’s "Orchestra Underground" series. His many awards include the Rome Prize, Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships, and awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Chester Biscardi’s new work—scored for baritone, string quartet and piano—will be written for Sequitur, a New York ensemble focusing on multi-disciplinary works and contemporary concert pieces. Biscardi’s music has been featured at festivals in Rotterdam, Moscow, Japan, Thailand and Brazil, and his many honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim, Bogliasco, Djerassi and Rockefeller foundations; the Aaron Copland Award; and a Fromm Foundation grant. He is director of the music program at Sarah Lawrence College.

German ensemble SurPlus joins the foundations in commissioning a new work from Matthew Greenbaum, who is a professor of music composition at Temple University. Greenbaum is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including those from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Rockefeller Fund and the New York Foundation of the Arts.

Composer and virtuoso guitarist Arthur Kampela is commissioned to write a work for Ensemble Linea, a contemporary music-performing group based in Strasbourg. Kampela has received commissions and awards from the Rio Arte Foundation, the Fromm Foundation and the Brazilian government, and has won major composition competitions, including those for new guitar music.

The Suedama Ensemble and New York’s 92nd Street Y join with the foundations in commissioning Jonathan Keren to write a new work for chamber orchestra. Keren’s other commissions include those by the Jerusalem Music Center, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. As a member of the Israeli army’s music unit, Keren arranged more than 50 pieces for chamber and vocal ensembles. A co-founder of the ExTempo Baroque Players and La Mela Di Newton, Keren remains active as a performer.

Thierry Lancino will compose a new requiem—a large-scale work including an original text by Pascal Quignard and scored for soloists, choir and orchestra—for Radio France Presences Festival. The Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra will premiere the work in Paris at the Salle Pleyel on Jan. 8, 2010. Lancino received the "Prix de Composition" at the Paris Conservatory. He has worked at Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), and on the staff at IRCAM, the Pompidou Center’s Music Institute in Paris. In 1988, Lancino received the "Prix de Rome," serving a two-year residency at the Villa Medici, marking a move from electronic music to works for conventional forces.

The Israel Contemporary Players join the foundations in commissioning a chamber work from composer Dan Yuhas. Yuhas has won numerous prizes for composition, including the Lieberson Prize for orchestral works and the Israeli Prime Minister’s award for composers; Israel’s Authors, Composers and Music Publishers Association life achievement prize in 2007. The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Chamber Orchestra and the Arditti Quartet have performed his music.

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PR 08-052
03/18/08
ISSN 0731-3527

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