Kaija Saariaho is a prominent member of a group of Finnish composers and performers who are now, in mid-career, making a worldwide impact. Born in Helsinki in 1952, she studied at the Sibelius Academy there with the pioneering modernist Paavo Heininen and, with Magnus Lindberg and others, she founded the progressive ‘Ears Open’ group. She continued her studies in Freiburg with Brian Ferneyhough and Klaus Huber, at the Darmstadt summer courses, and, from 1982, at the IRCAM research institute in Paris – the city which has been most of the time her home ever since.
Christine Southworth, composer
Christine Southworth (b. 1978) is a composer and video artist based in Lexington, Massachusetts, dedicated to creating art born from a cross-pollination of sonic and visual ideas. Inspired by intersections of technology and art, nature and machines, and musics from cultures around the world, her music employs sounds from man and nature, from Van de Graaff Generators to honeybees, Balinese gamelan to seismic data from volcanoes.
Southworth received a B.S. from MIT in 2002 in mathematics and an M.A. in Computer Music & Multimedia Composition from Brown University in 2006. In 2003 she co-founded Ensemble Robot, a collaborative of artists and engineers that design and build musical robots. She is the general manager of the MIT-based Gamelan Galak Tika, and has composed several pieces for the group and performed at venues including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, EMPAC, the Cleveland Museum of Art, several Bang on a Can Marathons, and the Bali International Arts Festival.
Ethan Treiman, composer
Ethan Treiman (17) is a junior at Crossroads School for the Arts and Sciences in Santa Monica, California. He is looking forward to beginning his two year fellowship with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Composer Fellowship Program in fall, 2015. At Crossroads, he has taken courses in music theory taught by Mary Ann Cummins and Richard Grayson. Ethan is interested in musical theater and drama and has acted in several theater shows at Crossroads. He has performed with Crossroads’ 21st Street Singers Choir. Ethan draws inspiration from the music of George Gershwin, Claude Debussy, and Alberto Ginastera, along with John Williams and Stephen Sondheim. Ethan enjoys running Cross Country and Track, and hopes to one day compose music for stage and film.
Mark Applebaum (b. 1967, Chicago) is Associate Professor of Composition and Theory at Stanford University where he served as John Philip Coghlan Fellow and received the 2003 Walter J. Gores Award for excellence in teaching. He received his Ph.D. in composition from the University of California at San Diego where he studied principally with Brian Ferneyhough. His solo, chamber, choral, orchestral, operatic, and electroacoustic work has been performed throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Born 13 June 1899 in Mexico City, Carlos Chávez was a renowned composer, conductor, and educator whose distinctive, often highly percussive music synthesized elements of Mexican, Indian, and Spanish-Mexican influence. A prolific writer of music and music criticism, Chávez’s oeuvre includes five ballets, seven symphonies, four concertos, a cantata and opera, and innumerable pieces for voice, piano, and chamber ensemble; he wrote two books (of which Toward A New Music: Music and Electricity became a major contribution and fundamental document of new musical thought) and more than 200 articles on music.
Mario Diaz de Leon has written a body of modern classical works focused on acoustic / electronic hybrids, often expressed as hypnotic walls and gestures of shimmering sound. His influences include the composers Scelsi, Ligeti, Dumitrescu, and Xenakis, free improvisation, underground metal, a wide range of electronic music, and noise / industrial music.
Born and raised in Shanghai, China, currently based in NYC, Du Yun is a composer, multi-instrumentalist and performance artist. Her music exists at an artistic crossroads of orchestral, chamber music, theatre, opera, orchestral, cabaret, storytelling, pop music, visual arts and noise.
Hailed by The New York Times as a leading figure in China’s new generation of composers, Du Yun’s music is championed by some of today’s finest performing artists, ensembles, orchestras and organizations.
The conceptual and multifaceted composer/conductor Tan Dun has made an indelible mark on the world’s music scene with a creative repertoire that spans the boundaries of classical music, multimedia performance, and Eastern and Western traditions. A winner of today’s most prestigious honors including the Grammy Award, Oscar/Academy Award, Grawemeyer Award for classical composition and Musical America’s Composer of The Year, Bach Prize of the City of Hamburg and Moscow’s Shostakovich Award, Tan Dun’s music has been played throughout the world by leading orchestras, opera houses, international festivals, and on the radio and television.
Born in Mexico City in 1943, Julio Estrada’s family was exiled from Spain in 1941. A composer, theoretician, historian, pedagogue, and interpreter, he began his musical studies in Mexico (1953-65), where he studied composition with Julián Orbón. In Paris (1965-69) he studied with Nadia Boulanger, Messiaen and attended courses and lectures of Xenakis. In Germany he studied with Stockhausen (1968) and with Ligeti (1972). He earned a Ph. D. in Musicology at Strasbourg University (1990- 1994).
Mohammed Fairouz, born in 1985, is one of the most frequently performed, commissioned, and recorded composers of his generation. Hailed by The New York Times as “an important new artistic voice” and by BBC World News as “one of the most talented composers of his generation,” Fairouz integrates Middle-Eastern modes into Western structures, to deeply expressive effect. His large-scale works, including four symphonies and an opera, engage major geopolitical and philosophical themes with persuasive craft and a marked seriousness of purpose.
Suzanne Farrin’s music explores the interior worlds of instruments and the visceral potentialities of sound. Her music has been performed by some of the great musicians of today on stages across Europe and North and South America. Tim Page, the former classical music critic of the Washington Post wrote: “If you can imagine the dense, perfumed chords of Messiaen’s piano music combined with the clangorous, insistent, near-pictorial tone-clusters of Frederic Rzewski’s Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues, you will have some idea of what Farrin’s work sounds like. Yet it transcends its derivations to leave the distinct impression of its own.”
Morton Feldman was born in New York in 1926 and died there in 1987. Just like Cage, a close friend, he was an American composer – an American artist – an American in the true sense of the word.
He identified himself by differentiating his views on composition from those of his colleagues in Europe. He was proud to be an American because he was convinced that it enabled him the freedom, unparalleled in Europe, to work unfettered by tradition.
Identity has always been at the center of Gabriela Lena Frank’s music. Born in Berkeley, California, to a mother of mixed Peruvian/Chinese ancestry and a father of Lithuanian/Jewish descent, Frank explores her multicultural heritage most ardently through her compositions. Inspired by the works of Bela Bartók and Alberto Ginastera, Frank is something of a musical anthropologist. She has traveled extensively throughout South America and her pieces reflect and refract her studies of Latin American folklore, incorporating poetry, mythology, and native musical styles into a western classical framework that is uniquely her own.
Alberto Ginastera was the leading Argentinian composer of the twentieth century, as important in giving the Argentinian folk heritage a voice in art music as Bartók was in Hungary. Ginastera was born in Buenos Aires on 11 April 1916. He studied musical privately as a child, later enrolling at the National Conservatoire of Music in his home city. His first compositions date from his early youth; he was 22 when his Piezas infantiles for piano won first prize in a competition.
From 13 to 21 years of age Vinko Globokar lived in Ljubljana (Slovenia), where he made his debut as a jazz musician. He subsequently studied trombone at the National Conservatory in Paris (diploma in trombone and chamber music). He studied composition and conducting with René Leibowitz, counterpoint with André Hodeir, and continued his studies with Luciano Berio.
Osvaldo Golijov grew up in an Eastern European Jewish household in La Plata, Argentina. Born to a piano teacher mother and physician father, Golijov was raised surrounded by classical chamber music, Jewish liturgical and klezmer music, and the new tango of Astor Piazzolla. After studying piano at the local conservatory and composition with Gerardo Gandini he moved to Israel in 1983, where he studied with Mark Kopytman at the Jerusalem Rubin Academy and immersed himself in the colliding musical traditions of that city.
Michael Gordon’s music merges subtle rhythmic invention with incredible power embodying, in the words of The New Yorker‘s Alex Ross, “the fury of punk rock, the nervous brilliance of free jazz and the intransigence of classical modernism.”
Over the past 25 years, Gordon has produced a strikingly diverse body of work, ranging from large-scale pieces for high-energy ensembles to major orchestral commissions to works conceived specifically for the recording studio. Transcending categorization, this music represents the collision of mysterious introspection and brutal directness.
Heralded as “one of the most exciting voices in New Music” (The Wire), Lei Liang (梁雷) is a Chinese-born American composer whose works have been described as “hauntingly beautiful and sonically colorful” by The New York Times.
Winner of the 2011 Rome Prize, Lei Liang is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an Aaron Copland Award. He was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert for the inaugural concert of the CONTACT! new music series.
Born in 1908 in Avignon into a literary family (his father, Pierre Messiaen, was a translator and his mother, Cécile Sauvage, a poet), Olivier Messiaen was marked by the idea of language. He first devised his own language (his book Technique of My Musical Language was completed in 1943) and based it on the modality that, as a child, he had discovered in Debussy, and that he later developed at the Paris Conservatory with Paul Dukas (composition), Maurice Emmanuel (history of music) and Marcel Dupré (organ). He then created his own poetic language, from which all his vocal works issue.
Called “one of the most original musical thinkers of the new century” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker), John Luther Adams is a composer whose life and work are deeply rooted in the natural world.
Adams composes for orchestra, chamber ensembles, percussion and electronic media, and his music is recorded on Cold Blue, New World, Mode, Cantaloupe, and New Albion.
Timo Andres, pianist/composer
Timo Andres (b. 1985, Palo Alto, CA) is a composer and pianist who grew up in rural Connecticut and now lives in Brooklyn, NY. His début album, Shy and Mighty, which features ten interrelated pieces for two pianos performed by himself and pianist David Kaplan, was released by Nonesuch Records in May 2010 to immediate critical acclaim. Of the disc, Alex Ross wrote in The New Yorker that Shy and Mighty “achieves an unhurried grandeur that has rarely been felt in American music since John Adams came on the scene… more mighty than shy, [Andres] sounds like himself.”
Uri Caine was born in Philadelphia and began studying piano with Bernard Peiffer. He played in bands led by Philly Joe Jones, Hank Mobley,Johnny Coles, Mickey Roker, Odean Pope, Jymmie Merritt, Bootsie Barnes and Grover Washington. He attended the University of Pennsylvania and studied music composition with George Rochberg and George Crumb. Caine has recorded 22 cds as a leader. His most recent cd is a jazz trio, Siren, (Winter and Winter 2011) with John Hebert on bass and Ben Perowsky on drums.
Andrew Norman, composer
Andrew Norman (b. 1979) is a composer of chamber and orchestral music. A native Midwesterner raised in central California, Andrew studied the piano and viola before attending the University of Southern California and Yale. His teachers and mentors include Martha Ashleigh, Donald Crockett, Stephen Hartke, Stewart Gordon, Aaron Kernis, Ingram Marshall, and Martin Bresnick.A lifelong enthusiast for all things architectural, Andrew writes music that is often inspired by forms and textures he encounters in the visual world.
Steven Stucky, composer
Steven Stucky is one of America’s most highly regarded and frequently performed living composers. Winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for his Second Concerto for Orchestra, he is a trustee of the American Academy in Rome, a director of New Music USA, a board member of the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also active as a conductor, writer, lecturer, and teacher.
John Milton Cage Jr. (September 5, 1912 – August 12, 1992) was an American composer, music theorist, writer, and artist. A pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde. Critics have lauded him as one of the most influential American composers of the 20th century. He was also instrumental in the development of modern dance, mostly through his association with choreographer Merce Cunningham, who was also Cage’s romantic partner for most of their lives.