After 404 submissions and a lot of listening, we’re delighted to announce the winners of the 2013-2014 Commissioning Project! Thanks again to all who applied! Here they are:
A musical omnivore and a passionate collaborator, David Biedenbender is inspired by a diverse array of interests and experiences. His present creative interests include working with everyone from classically trained musicians to improvisers, acoustic chamber music to large ensembles, and interactive electronic interfaces to live brain data. He has had the privilege of collaborating with many talented performers and ensembles, including Alarm Will Sound, PRISM Saxophone Quartet, Stenhammar String Quartet, United States Navy Band, Philharmonie Baden-Baden, VocalEssence, the Eastman Wind Ensemble, Detroit Symphony Orchestra bass trombonist Randy Hawes, and the Atlantic Chamber Ensemble. He recently completed a doctorate in music composition at the University of Michigan and has also studied at the Aspen Music Festival and School, the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, and carnatic music in Mysore, India. His musical mentors include Michael Daugherty, Bright Sheng, Evan Chambers, Stephen Rush, Kristin Kuster, Christopher Lees, and David R. Gillingham.
David Bird is a composer and producer from Laguna Beach, California. He is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and currently studies composition at Columbia University. His work frequently employs the use of live electronics with aims to strengthen the relationships between acoustic and electronic instruments. His music has been a “Staff Pick” on Vimeo and featured on their homepage, as well as publications such as The Atlantic and The Plain Dealer. A review from Pitchfork’s Altered Zones has described his expansive sound as, “vibrant, shirt-staining, color squirting… amidst swirling layers of white noise and choir… I do believe a lie-down is in order.” He’s participated in workshops on MIR (music information retrieval) at Stanford’s CCRMA facility, and has been an artist in residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida and the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada.
Originally from Cazenovia, NY, Chris Cresswell (b. 1988) is a young composer who is gaining recognition for his work in a wide variety of music genres. Praised for his idiosyncratic sense of sonority, Cresswell’s music frequently explores the timbral possibilities of acoustic, electro-acoustic, and electronic only sonic worlds while still retaining an emotional core that is central to his expression. Having received awards and commissions from the American Composers Forum, the Jerome Foundation for New Music, the National Band Association, the Renee Crown Honors Program, the Setnor School of Music, Sar Shalom Strong, and the Society for New Music, his music has been presented by Kathleen Supove’s Music with a View Festival, Hot Air Music Festival (SF), Rhymes with Opera, ETHOS Society, the Syracuse University Wind Ensemble, among others, with additional performances at Syracuse University, Hamilton College, San Francisco Conservatory, The National Opera Center, the Tenri Cultural Institute, The Firehouse Space, The Flea Theater, MoMA, and the Kennedy Center.
Cresswell had a busy 2013, with premieres of hesheyoumeus at the Hot Air Music Festival in San Francisco, Description of a Lost Thing at the Tenri Cultural Institute, After Beauty at the National Opera Center, and Stone Seeking Warmth at Syracuse University. The Steve Weiss Percussion Group will premiere Some Faraway Outpost in April 2014 in Lancaster, PA and the film score for Dorian Green will have its premiere in June 2014 in New York City. Upcoming collaborations are planned with Tempus Continuum Ensemble, trombonist Kevin A. Virgilio and pianist Holly Roadfeldt.
Graduating Magna Cum Laude from Syracuse University in 2011 with a Bachelor’s of Music in Composition, Cresswell has studied with Donald Bohlen, James O. Welsch, Andrew Waggoner, Gregory Mertl, and Nicolas Scherzinger. In addition to composition, he has studied tuba with Raymond Stewart, Michael Coldren, and William Harris, conducting with James O. Welsch, and classical guitar with Kenneth Meyer. He currently lives in Astoria, NY and studies with Zibuokle Martinaityte.
Emma O’Halloran is an Irish composer who writes both electronic and acoustic music. Her works have been performed by Concorde, Crash Ensemble, orkest de ereprijs, Yurodny, Dublin Laptop Orchestra, and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, and has been featured at festivals including the International Young Composer’s Meeting, New Music Dublin, and Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival. Emma lives in New Jersey, and is currently a doctoral fellow at Princeton University.
Ben Richter is a composer and accordionist from New England. His music is concerned with consciousness and transcendence, the intersection of memory and imagination, and the evolution of worlds and beings, focusing on the immersive totality of musical experience.
Ben Richter is the founding director of Ghost Ensemble, dedicated to performances of experiential and experimental music. He has composed for the American Symphony Orchestra, Nieuw Ensemble, S.E.M. Ensemble, Ostravska Banda, Da Capo Chamber Players, Ensemble Royaal, accordion duo Toeac, and New York Miniaturist Ensemble. He also produces recorded electronic music, film and theater scores, and installation sound pieces, and has performed with the Da Capo Chamber Players, S.E.M. Ensemble, and rock, jazz, and klezmer bands. From 2004 to 2008, he was musical director of New York’s Surrealist Training Circus.
Ben Richter’s principal teachers include Pauline Oliveros, George Tsontakis, Joan Tower, and Kyle Gann. He studied composition at Bard College and received his M. M. from the Royal Conservatory of The Hague with research focused on parahypnotic phenomena in music.
Stefan Weisman is a composer living in New York City. Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times described his music as “personal, moody and skillfully wrought.” When his song “Twinkie” was featured on the nationally syndicated program The Wendy Williams Show, the host said, “Very unique…You’re not going to hear opera like this anywhere else…Fabulous!” His compositions include chamber, orchestral, theater, dance and choral pieces, and he has specialized in vocal works that explore edgy and compelling topics. His opera Darkling, commissioned by American Opera Projects, was included in the Guggenheim Museum’s Works & Process series, premiered to great acclaim at the East 13th Street Theater and toured Europe in 2007. It was released by Albany Records in November 2011. His one-act opera Fade, commissioned by the British opera company Second Movement, premiered in London in 2008 and also had successful performances in Philadelphia, San Francisco and Brooklyn. He is currently developing an evening length opera, The Scarlet Ibis, for the PROTOTYPE opera festival, co-produced by HERE and Beth Morrison Projects. Among his other commissions are works for Bang on a Can, Sequitur, and the Empire City Men’s Choir. In 2012, Inside Jersey Magazine selected him as one of twenty-one artists from New Jersey who are “breaking big.” He is a graduate of Bard College (BA), Yale University (MA), and Princeton University (PhD). His composition instructors include David Lang, Joan Tower, Daron Hagen, Martin Bresnick, Steven Mackey, and Paul Lansky. Presently, he is on the faculty of the Bard High School Early College in Queens, New York. He has also taught at Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program, the City College of New York, CUNY, and the Princeton University Department of Music. His music is available on New Amsterdam Records and Albany Records.