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COMPOSERS

Michael Gordon

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 30 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.Michael Gordon merges subtle rhythmic invention with incredible power in his music, 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 30 years, Gordon has produced a strikingly diverse body of work, ranging from large-scale pieces for high-energy ensembles and Michael Gordon major orchestral commissions to works conceived specifically for the recording studio. Transcending categorization, this music represents the collision of mysterious introspection and brutal directness.

Julia Wolfe

Julia Wolfe's music is distinguished by an intense physicality and a relentless power that pushes performers to extremes and demands attention from the audience. She draws inspiration from folk, classical, and rock genres, bringing a modern sensibility to each while simultaneously tearing down the walls between them. She is a 2016 MacArthur Fellow.

Her Pulitzer-winning concert-length oratorio, Anthracite Fields for chorus and instruments, draws on oral histories, interviews, speeches, and more to honor the people who persevered and endured in the Pennsylvania Anthracite Coal Region. Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times wrote that Anthracite Fields "captures not only the sadness of hard lives lost ... but also of the sweetness and passion of a way of daily life now also lost. The music compels without overstatement. This is a major, profound work." Other recent projects include her evening-length Steel Hammer for the Bang on a Can All-Stars and singers, currently touring in an expanded theatrical form with director Anne Bogart and her SITI Company; it received its New York premiere at BAM's 2015 Next Wave Festival. Wolfe's body concerto riSE and fLY, commissioned by the BBC and performed last season by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, featuring rapid-fire body slaps and street percussion. The New York Philharmonic recently announced her new evening-length commission for orchestra and women's chorus that will premiere in the fall of 2018, continuing her interest in American labor history with the subject of women in New York's garment industry at the turn of the century.

Augusta Read Thomas

The music of Augusta Read Thomas (b. 1964 in New York) is nuanced, majestic, elegant, capricious, lyrical, and colorful — "it is boldly considered music that celebrates the sound of the instruments and reaffirms the vitality of orchestral music." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

In February 2015, music critic Edward Reichel wrote, "Augusta Read Thomas has secured for herself a permanent place in the pantheon of American composers of the 20th and 21st centuries. She is without question one of the best and most important composers that this country has today. Her music has substance and depth and a sense of purpose. She has a lot to say and she knows how to say it — and say it in a way that is intelligent yet appealing and sophisticated."

The New Yorker magazine called her "a true virtuoso composer." Championed by such luminaries as Barenboim, Rostropovich, Boulez, Eschenbach, Salonen, Maazel, Ozawa, and Knussen, she rose early to the top of her profession.

Recent and upcoming commissions include those from the Boston Symphony, the Utah Symphony, Wigmore Hall in London, JACK quartet, Third Coast Percussion, Tanglewood, Spektral Quartet, Chicago Philharmonic, Eugene Symphony, the Danish Chamber Players, Notre Dame University, Janet Sung, Lorelei Vocal Ensemble, and the Fromm Foundation. She won the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize, among many other coveted awards. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Bernard Rands

Through a catalog of more than a hundred published works and many recordings, Bernard Rands is established as a major figure in contemporary music. His work Canti del Sole, premiered by Paul Sperry, Zubin Mehta, and the New York Philharmonic, won the 1984 Pulitzer Prize in Music. His large orchestral suites Le Tambourin, won the 1986 Kennedy Center Friedheim Award. His work Canti d'Amor, recorded by Chanticleer, won a Grammy award in 2000.

Born in Sheffield, England in 1934 his 80th birthday has been marked internationally by upward of one hundred concert performances, radio and television broadcasts of his music. Rands emigrated to the United States in 1975, becoming an American citizen in 1983. He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2004 and into the Illinois Lincoln Academy in 2014.

Conductors including Barenboim, Boulez, Berio, Davis, Eschenbach, Maazel, Marriner, Mehta, Muti, Ozawa, Rilling, Salonen, Sawallisch, Schiff, Schuller, Schwarz, Silverstein, Slatkin, Spano, von Dohnanyi, and Zinman, among many others, have programmed his music. Rands served as Composer in Residence with the Philadelphia Orchestra for seven years. Through this residency, Rands, working with Riccardo Muti, made a wonderful and dedicated contribution to the music of our time.

Evan Ziporyn ​

Evan Ziporyn (b. 1959, Chicago) makes music at the crossroads between genres and cultures, east and west. He studied at Eastman, Yale & UC Berkeley with Joseph Schwantner, Martin Bresnick, & Gerard Grisey. He first traveled to Bali in 1981, studying with Madé Lebah, Colin McPhee's 1930s musical informant. He returned on a Fulbright in 1987.

Earlier that year, he performed a clarinet solo at the First Bang on a Can Marathon in New York. His involvement with BOAC continued for 25 years: in 1992 he co-founded the Bang on a Can All-stars (Musical America's 2005 Ensemble of the Year), with whom he toured the globe and premiered over 100 commissioned works, collaborating with Nik Bartsch, Iva Bittova, Don Byron, Ornette Coleman, Brian Eno, Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Thurston Moore, Terry Riley and Tan Dun. He co-produced their seminal 1996 recording of Brian Eno's Music for Airports, as well as their most recent CD, Big Beautiful Dark & Scary (2012).

Ziporyn joined the MIT faculty in 1990, founding Gamelan Galak Tika there in 1993, and beginning a series of groundbreaking compositions for gamelan & western instruments. These include three evening-length works, 2001's ShadowBang, 2004's Oedipus Rex (Robert Woodruff, director), and 2009's A House in Bali, an opera which joins western singers with Balinese traditional performers, and the All-stars with a full gamelan. It received its world premiere in Bali that summer and its New York premiere at BAM Next Wave in October 2010.

His honors include awards from the Massachusetts Cultural Council (2011), The Herb Alpert Foundation (2011), USA Artists Walker Fellowship (2007), MIT's Kepes Prize (2006), the American Academy of Arts and Letters Goddard Lieberson Fellowship (2004), as well as commissions from Meet the Composer/Commissioning Music USA and the Rockefeller MAP Fund. Recordings of his works have been been released on Cantaloupe, Sony Classical, New Albion, New World, Koch, Naxos, Innova, and CRI.

He is Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music at MIT. He also serves as Head of Music and Theater Arts, and this year was appointed Inaugural Director of MIT's new Center for Art Science and Technology. He lives in Lexington, Massachusetts with Christine Southworth, and has two children, Leonardo (19) and Ava (12).

Christine Southworth

Christine Southworth 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. In 2010, she helped design Gamelan Elektrika for her piece Supercollider, which was premiered at Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival with the Kronos Quartet.

Southworth's compositions have been performed throughout the U.S., Europe, and Indonesia by ensembles including Kronos QuartetGamelan Galak TikaCalder QuartetBang on a Can All-StarsGamelan Semara RatihCalifornia EAR UnitAndrew W.K., and Ensemble Robot.

Anthony Cheung

This is a composer who is interested in how a compact idea, a spin of a few notes, will open up harmonic directions going slantwise to any norm. The idea may involve pitches from inside the cracks in the piano keyboard – blue notes and those of many other colours – or regular tones in irregular formations. Music is then made by letting the idea range – a principle that may be drawn as much from a jazz improvisation as from an intricately worked composition by any of the late twentieth-century masters... Cheung's is music of spectacular sound – of brilliantly imagined solos and gatherings – but it is also music of spectacular time. Harmony being for this composer a condition of movement, we feel ourselves to be travelling through time's spaces: its zooms and its lulls, its turns and its stallings. The trip is never ordinary." Paul Griffiths, in his introduction to the Roundaboutsportrait disc.

Anthony Cheung (b. 1982, San Francisco) is a composer and pianist. His output ranges from solo to orchestral works, occasionally with electronics. His music has been commissioned by leading groups such as the Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Intercontemporain, New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Scharoun Ensemble Berlin, International Contemporary Ensemble, and Talea Ensemble, and also performed by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Chicago Symphony Orchestra (MusicNOW series), Minnesota Orchestra, Ensemble Linea, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, wild Up, Musiques Nouvelles, Atlas Ensemble, Orchestra of the League of Composers, Taipei Chinese Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lorraine, Orchestre National de Lille, eighth blackbird, Dal Niente, the New York Youth Symphony, and the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra.

The recipient of a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship, he has also received awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (Charles Ives Fellowship and Scholarship) and ASCAP, and first prize in the Sixth International Dutilleux Competition (2008), as well as a Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome (2012). He has also received commissions from the Koussevitzky and Fromm foundations. From 2015-17, he is the Daniel R. Lewis Young Composer Fellow of the Cleveland Orchestra.

Wang Lu

Composer and pianist Wang Lu was born in Xi'an, the ancient capital of China. Being brought up in a musical family with strong Chinese opera and folk music traditions, her works reflect a very natural identification with those influences, through the prism of contemporary instrumental techniques and new sonic possibilities.
Since 2015, Wang Lu is an Assistant Professor of Music at Brown University, where she teaches composition and theory. She was a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow. She won the first prize at Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne's Young Composers Forum in 2010 and shared the Tactus International Young Composers Orchestra Forum Award in 2008, resulting in multiple performances with the Orchestre National de Lille. She was selected for a Tremplin commission by IRCAM/Ensemble Intercontemporain in 2010, as well as a commission to write for the Ensemble Modern in 2012 as part of its International Composition Seminar, and has also received two ASCAP Morton Gould awards. Her orchestral work Scenes from the Bosco Sacro was selected for the 2014 New York Philharmonic Biennial New Music Readings.
Wang Lu's works for a variety of Western and Chinese ensembles and orchestras have been performed internationally, by ensembles including the Ensemble Intercontemporain, Ensemble Modern, Alarm Will Sound, Minnesota Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Orchestre National de Lille, Holland Symfonia, Shanghai National Chinese Orchestra, Taipei Chinese Orchestra, Albany Symphony, Musiques Nouvelles (Belgium), Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne (Montreal), Phoenix Ensemble (Basel), Beijing New Music Ensemble, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Argento, Momenta Quartet, Columbia University Jazz Band, Janus Trio, So Percussion, Ensemble Pamplemousse and counter(induction, among others.

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