I have always been an advocate for the historically informed performance of contemporary music, so when I heard that Chatham Baroque was announcing the winners of their inaugural New Works Competition I got pretty excited. As everyone who’s been around, well, pretty much any organization knows, the easiest thing to do is whatever you’ve done before. So here is Chatham Baroque celebrating their 20th anniversary not with a festival of the complete works of (name the 17th-century composer), but with three commissions of living composers writing for period instruments. Way. Cool.
The three new works will be premiered in the fall of 2012 in conjunction with the Carnegie Mellon School of Music as part of Chatham Baroque’s 2012-2013 Pittsburgh Concert Series. All three composers will be in attendance for the premiere, final rehearsals, and to give workshops and lectures.
And without further adieu, the winners are:
Moon Young Ha – Hailing from Seoul, South Korea and currently living and working in New York City, his music has focused on combining traditional instruments with electronics and video to affect relevant and meaningful experiences for diverse audiences. Moon’s work has been presented at festivals and concerts in Europe, Asia and the Americas by ensembles such as Alarm Will Sound, Empyrean Ensemble, LOOS Ensemble, Ensemble s21, among others. Premiers this year include “illusive” for eight strings, written for the JACK Quartet and MIVOS Quartet and “Air is a light sorrow” for five bassoons, commissioned by Dark in the Song. His most recent residency was at the Omi International Arts Center (2010), and he has been chosen by the composer Bright Sheng to serve as a guest composer for the Intimacy of Creativity Project at Hong Kong University of Science & Technology in 2011. Moon earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music Composition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and is currently pursuing his Ph.D in composition at New York University.
Matt McBane – Matt has been commissioned by many ensembles including the Calder Quartet, NOW Ensemble, Real Quiet and the California EAR Unit, and has appeared at venues including Carnegie Hall, the Bang on a Can Marathon (NYC), Disney Hall’s REDCAT (LA), the Whitney Museum of Art, Joe’s Pub (NYC), and many others. He has also collaborated extensively with choreographers and video artists and has scored several independent films. Matt and his projects have been the recipients of numerous grants, awards, and prizes from organizations including the American Music Center, ASCAP, Meet the Composer, the Copland Fund, and the American Composer’s Forum. Matt studied composition at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music with Donald Crockett. Of the Chatham Baroque commission, he writes: “I am very excited about the possibility of writing for your ensemble using both counterpoint that is rooted in your instruments’ time period and the more modern influences that make up my musical language.”
Lansing McLoskey – Lansing McLoskey has had his music performed to critical acclaim across the U.S. and in twelve other countries on six continents. Among his commissions are those from Meet The Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, Pew Charitable Trusts, The Fromm Foundation, ASCAP, the Barlow Endowment, Music At The Anthology, and many others. He has written for such renowned ensembles as The Hilliard Ensemble, Speculum Musicæ, The Crossing Choir and Dinosaur Annex and has had music performed at two dozen music festivals. Recent performances include premieres in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Rome, Chicago, Miami, and Melbourne, Australia, and performances at Aspen, the International Contemporary Art Festival in León, Mexico, Tanglewood, and the XVIII International Jazz Festival in Lima, Peru.
Lansing completed a Ph.D. at Harvard University, where he also directed The Harvard Group for New Music. He holds degrees from UC Santa Barbara and the USC Thornton School of Music. His principle teachers were Mario Davidovsky, Stephen Hartke, Bernard Rands, and Donald Crockett. Currently, Lansing is an Associate Professor at the University of Miami Frost School of Music.
Regarding the new work for Chatham Baroque, Lansing says: “I’ve never had the opportunity to compose specifically for early instruments. I love the timbres of early instruments, and am eager to explore them in a contemporary context.”
Congratulations to Chatham Baroque, and congratulations to all the winning composers! We’ll look forward to the premiere of these new works in 2012.