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February 3 “Future Classics” performance features new orchestral music by seven emerging composers, conducted by Music Director Osmo Vänskä; concert hosted by Fred Child of Performance Today

Composers spend one week in Orchestra’s award-winning professional training program, co-presented with the American Composers Forum, under the direction of Kevin Puts, winner of a 2012 Pulitzer Prize

(January 12, 2017) The Minnesota Orchestra performs new orchestral works by seven of today’s top emerging composers in its annual Future Classics concert, played under the baton of Music Director Osmo Vänskä. The concert, held on Friday, February 3, is the capstone of the 14th Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, co-presented with the American Composers Forum; the program has consistently earned national recognition. Returning for his third year as the director of the Composer Institute is composer Kevin Puts. All seven featured composers will be present to introduce their music at the concert, which will be emceed by Fred Child, who hosts American Public Media’s Performance Today.

“I am so excited about this year’s group of talented composers whose works represent not only tremendous skill with the orchestra, but also great beauty of all different kinds,” says Kevin Puts, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his opera Silent Night, which was commissioned by the Minnesota Opera. “For me, it’s always a pleasure to be back in the Twin Cities, and I know this year’s Future Classics concert will be a huge hit with the audience.”

The concert is performed at the Minnesota Orchestra’s home venue in downtown Minneapolis, Orchestra Hall, on Friday, February 3, at 8 p.m., with all tickets priced at $20. Individual tickets and subscription packages for all 2016-17 season concerts are available at minnesotaorchestra.org and by phone at 612-371-5656. For further purchasing details, see the information section at the conclusion of this press release.

Rising Composers, Exciting New Music

Collectively, the program’s seven featured composers have studied at some of the nation’s top universities and conservatories, including New England Conservatory, Yale University, Columbia University, University of Michigan, New York University, Manhattan School of Music, Indiana University, Eastman School of Music, Cornell University and the Juilliard School. In addition to their composition careers, the participants are employed as faculty at the University of Hawaii, the Walden School and Mahidol University College of Music in Thailand and on the staff at Carnegie Hall, among other institutions.

The pieces on this program encompass a variety of musical styles and most will receive their first performance by a major American orchestra during the Future Classics concert. Two pieces also receive their world premiere at this performance: Music from the Castle of Heaven by Michael-Thomas Foumai and Chiaroscuro by Phil Taylor; in addition, Spilled Orange by Judy Bozone receives its U.S. premiere.

Katherine Balch’s Leaf Catalogue, which was recently recorded by the American Composers Orchestra, is, as the composer describes, “an ode to all the tiny little netted veins, the malachite spines and splintery, emerald epidermi.” Judy Bozone’s Spilled Orange is a musical tale of a tiger losing his stripes and his orange color spilling off of his body. Tightrope Walker by Michael Boyman is a dazzling depiction of a dramatic high-wire circus performance. Inspired by the title of a book by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, composer Michael-Thomas Foumai wrote Music from the Castle of Heaven to take listeners on a sonic journey through the clouds. Strange Sounds and Explosions Worldwide is composer Tonia Ko’s exploration of explosions both real and imagined. Phil Taylor’s Chiaroscuro is a musical study of contrasts brought together in a work he calls “a pocket concerto for orchestra.” The Old Motion Parade, by Conrad Winslow, is a tour of landscapes created from what he labels as “musical decay and recycling.”

Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute enters 14th season

The Minnesota Orchestra’s annual Composer Institute, co-presented with the American Composers Forum, is an acclaimed professional training program for emerging symphonic composers that includes five days of seminars, rehearsals, tutoring sessions and other events. Directed for the third time by composer Kevin Puts, the Composer Institute is now in its 14th season.

“The American Composers Forum is committed to nurturing the talent of living composers, and through the Composer Institute, we help ensure that the future of new orchestral music is vibrant and strong,” says American Composers Forum President John Nuechterlein. The St. Paul-based organization manages the Institute’s score submission process, brings word of the program to its large body of constituents and offers advice and resources, continually helping to fine-tune and expand the program.

The Composer Institute is an outgrowth of the Orchestra’s “Perfect Pitch” program, an annual series of new music reading sessions for Minnesota composers launched during the 1995-96 season in collaboration with the American Composers Forum. Perfect Pitch was reformulated in 2001 as the Composer Institute, as the program’s focus broadened and national participation was invited.

In 2006 Osmo Vänskä expanded the then-five-year-old Composer Institute to include a Future Classics concert showcasing the composers and works selected for the week-long program. In addition to rehearsing and conducting the concert, he meets individually with all seven composers for private instruction sessions during the Institute.

Many of the 120 composers who have taken part in Perfect Pitch and the Composer Institute in previous years have gone on to receive major commissions, prizes, grants and other opportunities, such as 2004 alumnus Andrew Norman, who won the prestigious Grawemeyer Award in November 2016, and 2006 alumnus Anna Clyne, a 2015 Grammy Award nominee for Best Classical Contemporary Composition.  In addition, several participants have had works played by the Minnesota Orchestra at subsequent concerts, most recently Polina Nazaykinskaya, whose Winter Bells was offered on the classical subscription series in November 2014.

“The week at the Composer Institute was one of the best weeks in my life,” says Ming-Hsiu Yen, a 2008 Institute participant. “The first-rate music education system in the United States is what brought me here from Taiwan, and the conservatory training that I received has been invaluable in making me a better musician. There has been nothing, however, that could compare to what I learned in a week at the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute.”

The Institute’s seminars bring composers directly in contact with professionals who can offer guidance in areas not typically explored in classroom settings, including aspects of building a career as a composer, legal issues, public speaking and self-publishing music. In addition, Minnesota Orchestra musicians will offer practical guidance on writing for specific instruments and sections of the orchestra.

The 2016-17 Composer Institute’s seminar presenters include John Nuechterlein and William Lackey of the American Composers Forum; Norman Ryan, vice president of Schott Music; Frank J. Oteri of New Music USA; attorney James Kendrick of Kendrick Law and The Copland Fund; music publisher Bill Holab of Bill Holab Music; Diane Odash of the University of Minnesota; Minnesota Orchestra Director of Artistic Planning Kari Marshall; and Minnesota Orchestra musicians including Brian Mount, Jason Arkis, Kevin Watkins and Kathy Kienzle. A complete schedule of the week’s events is provided on the final page of this release.

Minnesota Orchestra Classical Concert

Friday, February 3, 2017, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall

Minnesota Orchestra
Osmo Vänskä
, conductor
Kevin Puts, Composer Institute director

KATHERINE BALCH                      Leaf Catalogue
MICHAEL BOYMAN                      Tightrope Walker
JUDY BOZONE                             Spilled Orange
MICHAEL-THOMAS FOUMAI       Music from the Castle of Heaven
TONIA KO                                     Strange Sounds and Explosions Worldwide
PHIL TAYLOR                               Chiaroscuro
CONRAD WINSLOW                    The Old Motion Parade

Tickets: $20


Subscription packages and individual tickets can be purchased online at minnesotaorchestra.org, or by calling 612-371-5656 (612-371-5642 for subscriptions) or 800-292-4141. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Orchestra Hall Box Office, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis (open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and beginning two hours before all ticketed performances); and at the Minnesota Orchestra Administrative Office, International Centre, 5th floor, 920 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis (open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). For more information, call 612-371-5656, or visit minnesotaorchestra.org. For subscriptions, call 612-371-5642 or visit minnesotaorchestra.org/subscribe. For groups of 10 or more, call 612-371-5662.

All programs, artists, dates, times and prices subject to change.

The Star Tribune is the Minnesota Orchestra’s media partner for the 2016-17 season.

We are deeply grateful to Hella Mears Hueg for her generous support of the Composer Institute.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

2016-17 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute Schedule
(subject to change)

Monday, January 30, 2017
9:00 a.m.                    Composer Institute Introduction—Kevin Puts and Mele Willis
10:15-11:30 a.m.        Self Publishing and Score/Part Preparation—Bill Holab, Bill                                          Holab Music
11:30-2:00 p.m.          Lunch and Introduction to the American Composers Forum
(ACF Office, Saint Paul)
2:30-4:00 p.m.            Public Speaking—Diane Odash, University of Minnesota;
and Kevin Puts
4:45-5:45 p.m.            Harp Seminar—Kathy Kienzle, principal harp,
Minnesota Orchestra (Rehearsal Room)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017
8:45-10:30 a.m.          Mentoring Sessions with Kevin Puts
10:30-12:00 p.m.        Music Publishing—Norman Ryan, VP of Schott Music
12:00-1:00 p.m.          Participants Lunch—Composers, Kevin Puts, Norman Ryan
1:15-2:45 p.m.            Percussion Seminar—Brian Mount, principal percussion;
Jason Arkis, acting principal timpani; Kevin Watkins, acting                                                associate principal percussion and timpani, Minnesota Orchestra                                      (Orchestra Hall stage)
3:00-4:30 p.m.            Musicians Seminar: Part Preparation and Practice
Musicians tba
6:30 p.m.                    Group Dinner, hosted by Ling & Louie’s

Wednesday, February 1, 2017
9:30-11:00 a.m.          Artistic Planning – Getting Your Work Out There
Kari Marshall, Director of Artistic Planning, Minnesota Orchestra;                                      Frank Oteri, New Music USA
12:45-2:30 p.m.          Legal 101—Jim Kendrick, Kendrick Law & The Copland Fund
2:45-3:15 p.m.            Composer Meetings with Osmo Vänskä
3:30-5:30 p.m.            Future Classics Full Orchestra Rehearsal—led by
Music Director Osmo Vänskä (Auditorium)

Thursday, February 2, 2017
9:00-9:40 a.m.           Composer Meetings with Osmo Vänskä
10:00-12:30 p.m.       Future Classics Rehearsal—led by Music Director Osmo Vänskä                                   (Auditorium)
1:35-3:35 p.m.           Future Classics Rehearsal—led by Music Director Osmo Vänskä                                   (Auditorium)
3:45-4:30 p.m.           Minnesota Public Radio interviews*
4:00-5:30 p.m.           Musicians Seminar: Part Preparation and Practice
Musicians tba

Friday, February 3, 2017
10:00-12:30 p.m.      Future Classics Rehearsal—led by Music Director Osmo Vänskä                                    (Auditorium)
Group photos onstage following rehearsal
12:45-2:00 p.m.        Feedback sessions with Osmo Vänskä/Lunch
6:45 p.m.                  Composers Meeting with Fred Child
8 p.m.                       Future Classics Concert—Osmo Vänskä, conductor;
Fred Child, host (Auditorium)
Post-concert             Q&A (Onstage) and Reception (Green Room)

* Items in bold are open to the public. All other events are open to Future Classics composers only.
*All Composer Institute events are held in the Target Atrium at Orchestra Hall unless noted otherwise.
*Schedule is subject to change.

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