Koussevitzky Foundations Announce 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 five com­posers. Jointly grant­ing the com­mis­sions are the foun­da­tions and the per­form­ing orga­ni­za­tions that will present the newly com­posed works.

Award win­ners and the groups co-sponsoring their com­mis­sions are Tris­tan Murail and Yarn­Wire; Kaija Saari­aho and Da Cam­era of Hous­ton; Ronald Bruce Smith and the Del Sol Quar­tet; Kate Soper and Alarm Will Sound; and Wang Jie and the League of Composers/ISCM (the U.S. chap­ter of the Inter­na­tional Soci­ety of Con­tem­po­rary Music).

Wang Jie was born and raised in Shang­hai. She came to the United States to study at the Man­hat­tan School of Music and the Cur­tis Insti­tute. Crit­i­cally acclaimed as an impor­tant young com­poser, Wang was the first recip­i­ent of the Mil­ton Rock Fel­low­ship, which resulted in a com­mis­sion to com­pose a bal­let for Philadelphia’s Rock School for Dance Edu­ca­tion. Other awards have come from the Amer­i­can Music Cen­ter, Opera Amer­ica, the Detroit Sym­phony Orches­tra and the Amer­i­can Acad­emy of Arts and Letters.

Dis­tin­guished French com­poser Tris­tan Murail was recently named pro­fes­sor of com­po­si­tion at the Mozar­teum Uni­ver­sity in Salzburg. Pre­vi­ously, he was head of the com­po­si­tion fac­ulty at Colum­bia Uni­ver­sity. Long noted for his use of elec­tron­ics in his com­po­si­tions and his research into acoustic phe­nom­ena, Murail is a lead­ing pro­po­nent of French “spec­tral music,” a style that includes com­puter analy­sis of the sound spec­trum while empha­siz­ing tim­bre and musi­cal color. This award marks his sec­ond Kous­se­vitzky commission.

A native of Fin­land, Kaija Saari­aho is rec­og­nized as a lead­ing com­poser who has claimed such hon­ors as the Grawe­meyer Award, the Wihuri Sibelius Prize and the Nem­mers Prize. She has served as composer-in-residence at Carnegie Hall but has spent much of her career work­ing at the Insti­tute for Research and Coor­di­na­tion in Acoustics and Music (IRCAM), the French insti­tute for sci­ence about music and sound and avant-garde electro-acoustical art music.

Ronald Bruce Smith is a Cana­dian com­poser whose works include both acoustic instru­ments and elec­tron­ics. He cur­rently serves as pro­fes­sor of com­po­si­tion at North­east­ern Uni­ver­sity. Smith’s numer­ous awards and com­mis­sions have come from pres­ti­gious insti­tu­tions such as the Fromm Music Foun­da­tion, the Bar­low Endow­ment and the Cana­dian Broad­cast­ing Corp. He earned his doc­tor­ate from the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at Berke­ley and also con­ducted stud­ies at IRCAM in Paris.

Kate Soper is a com­poser and per­former based in New York City who has been com­mis­sioned by the Amer­i­can Com­posers Orches­tra, Carnegie Hall and the Tan­gle­wood Music Cen­ter, among oth­ers, and has received prizes from such dis­tin­guished insti­tu­tions as the Fromm Foun­da­tion and the Amer­i­can Acad­emy of Arts and Let­ters. She teaches at Colum­bia Uni­ver­sity and is a fel­low at the Rad­cliffe Insti­tute for Advanced Study.

Serge Kous­se­vitzky, con­duc­tor of the Boston Sym­phony Orches­tra from 1924 to 1949, was a cham­pion of con­tem­po­rary music. Through­out his dis­tin­guished career, he played a vital role in the cre­ation of new works by com­mis­sion­ing new works from com­posers such as Béla Bartók, Leonard Bern­stein and Igor Stravin­sky. He estab­lished the Kous­se­vitzky foun­da­tions to con­tinue his life­long com­mit­ment to com­posers and new music. Appli­ca­tions for com­mis­sions are accepted annu­ally www.Koussevitzky.org.

The Library of Con­gress, the nation’s old­est fed­eral cul­tural insti­tu­tion and the largest library in the world, holds more than 155 mil­lion items in var­i­ous lan­guages, dis­ci­plines and for­mats. The Library serves the U.S. Con­gress and the nation both on-site in its read­ing rooms on Capi­tol Hill and through its award-winning web­site at www.loc.gov.

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