October 18, 2017
Washington, DC – The Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress has awarded commissions for new musical works to six composers. The commissions are granted jointly by the foundation and the performing organizations that will present performances of the newly composed works.
Award winners and the groups co-sponsoring their commissions are Jérôme Combier and Argento New Music Project, Georg Friedrich Haas and Third Coast Percussion, Yotam Haber and Collide-O-Scope Music, Juri Seo and the Argus Quartet, Diego Alberto Tedesco and Plural Ensemble of Madrid, and Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon and Cygnus Ensemble.
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 such composers as Béla Bartók, Leonard Bernstein and Igor Stravinsky. He established the Koussevitzky Foundation in the Library in 1949 to continue his lifelong commitment to composers and new music. Applications for commissions are accepted annually.
There are nearly 500 of these commissioned works, created by some of the world’s most celebrated composers, in the Library’s unparalleled music collections. Among the commissions are examples of the composers’ most iconic works, including Bartók’s “Concerto for Orchestra”; Benjamin Britten’s opera “Peter Grimes”; Olivier Messiaen’s “Turangalîla-Symphonie”; and Arnold Schoenberg’s cantata “A Survivor from Warsaw.” The Library holds the composers’ original manuscripts of these works.
The Koussevitzky commissioning program is designed primarily for established composers who have demonstrated considerable merit through their works and for orchestras and chamber groups that have a record of excellence in the performance of contemporary music. For more information, visit Koussevitzky.org.
- Jérôme Combier resides in France, where he founded and directs Ensemble Cairn. His works are featured frequently at leading festivals and concerts throughout Europe and he has worked closely with Paris-based IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique) and its associated Ensemble InterContemporain, a leading proponent of contemporary works. His music is published by Lemoine and Verlag Neue Musik (Berlin) and is recorded on the Motus label. Combier’s commission for Argento New Music Project will result in a work for violin and large ensemble.
- Georg Friedrich Haas, professor of music at Columbia University, will write a new percussion quartet for the ensemble Third Coast Percussion. Haas grew up in Austria, studying in Graz and Vienna, and went on to count the Grand Austrian State Prize—the country’s highest artistic honor—among his many national and international honors. Haas’ groundbreaking works are for a range of performing forces, including numerous operas. His recent “Morgen und Abend” was commissioned by The Royal Opera and Deutsche Oper Berlin.
- Yotam Haber was born in Holland and is a citizen of Israel and the United States. After receiving his doctorate in composition from Cornell University, he was awarded two ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Awards and the ASCAP Frederick Fennell Prize. He received a Rome Prize Fellowship from the American Academy in Rome, as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship, among others. Haber’s commissions have come from ensembles and festivals in the U.S. and Europe, including works for JACK Quartet, Bang on a Can, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and an evening-length piece for the Alabama Symphony. Collide-O-Scope Music joins the foundation in commissioning Haber’s new work for soprano and chamber ensemble.
- Juri Seo, a pianist as well as composer, is an assistant professor of music at Princeton University. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Otto Eckstein Fellowship from Tanglewood and the Kate Neal Kinley Fellowship from the University of Illinois, from which she holds the M.M. and D.M.A degrees in music composition. Seo’s debut album, “Mostly Piano,” was released this year by Innova Recordings. She is commissioned to write a new string quartet for the Argus Quartet.
- Diego Alberto Tedesco, a native of Buenos Aires, gained initial recognition as a composer when he won first prize at Argentina’s Juan Carlos Paz competition. Since then, he has been commissioned by groups in the U.S. and Europe, as well as by the prestigious Teatro Colón of Buenos Aires for his first opera, “El Fiord.” Tedesco, initially self-taught as a composer and trained as a visual artist, was awarded Argentina’s highest arts recognition for music in 2014. He will write a new chamber work for Plural Ensemble of Madrid.
- Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon was born in Mexico and moved to the U.S. to pursue music studies in composition, culminating in a doctorate, from the University of Pennsylvania. He is professor of composition at the Eastman School of Music. Zohn-Muldoon’s works have been programmed and commissioned by foremost ensembles such as Eighth Blackbird, Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, Ensemble Hanover and San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. Zohn-Muldoon was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize. Other honors include fellowships from Tanglewood and the Guggenheim and Carmago foundations. He is commissioned to write a new chamber work for Cygnus Ensemble.