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July 25, 1995

Koussevitzky Commissions Announced

The Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress and the Koussevitzky Music Foundation Inc. have awarded commissions for new musical works to six composers. The commissions are being granted jointly by the Foundations and the performing organizations that will present the newly composed works.

Award winners and the groups co-sponsoring their commissions are: Henry Brant and the American Composers Orchestra; David Froom and CURRENTS; David Horne and the Aspen Wind Quintet; Tristan Keuris and the New York Virtuoso Singers; Earl Kim and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players; and Michael Tenzer and the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation and the Koussevitzky Music Foundation of New York, founded in 1950 and 1942, respectively, perpetuate Koussevitzky's lifelong efforts to encourage contemporary composers. Commissions are awarded annually.

Serge Koussevitzky was appointed conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1924 and served in that post for 25 years. He died in 1951. Works commissioned by him and the two Foundations include established masterpieces such as Benjamin Britten's Peter Grimes and Bela Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra.

Commissions are awarded in a competition open to chamber ensembles and orchestras and composers of any nationality. Groups must submit the name of a composer whose work they would like to commission jointly with the Foundations, and undertake to perform the work within two years of its completion. Manuscripts of commissioned works are deposited in the Koussevitzky Collection in the Music Division of the Library of Congress.

The American Composers Orchestra joins the Foundations in commissioning a new work from composer Henry Brant. He is one of the foremost pioneers in the 20th century use of space in music, where planned positioning of the performers throughout the hall, as well as on stage, is an essential factor in the composition. Born in Montreal in 1913 to American parents, Mr. Brant moved to New York in 1929, where for the next 20 years he composed and conducted works for radio, films, ballet and jazz groups. The composer's new piece is scheduled for a Carnegie Hall performance in 1996. Mr. Brant has taught at the Juilliard School, Columbia University and, from 1957 to 1980, at Bennington College. He now lives in Santa Barbara, California.

Composer David Froom is commissioned by the Foundations and CURRENTS, the resident ensemble for new music at the University of Richmond, to compose a work for chamber ensemble. Born in California in 1951, Mr. Froom was educated at the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Southern California and Columbia University. Among his many awards are the Charles Ives Scholarship, a Fulbright Fellowship, grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and fellowships to the Tanglewood Music Festival, the Wellesley Composers Conference, and the MacDowell Colony. His Chamber Concerto shared first prize at the 1993 Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards. Mr. Froom is chairman of the music department at St. Mary's College of Maryland. He serves on boards for the League of Composers/International Society for Contemporary Music and the New York New Music Ensemble.

A native of Scotland, composer David Horne was born in 1970. He studied at St. Mary's Music School in Edinburgh and at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia; Mr. Horne currently is a doctoral candidate in composition at Harvard University. A pianist as well as composer, he has given recitals and concerto performances in Europe and has been featured on television and radio broadcasts for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). He has received numerous commissions, and his works have been performed at concerts and festivals in Europe, Asia and North America. The Foundations together with the Aspen Wind Quintet commission the new work.

The New York Virtuoso Singers commission with the Foundations a new choral work from Dutch composer Tristan Keuris. A student of Ton de Leeuw, Mr. Keuris was graduated from the Utrecht Conservatory, where he later taught. He was born in 1946. The composer's commissions have come from the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Rascher Saxophone Quartet, the BBC, and the Houston Symphony Orchestra, among many others. Mr. Keuris now teaches music theory at the Hilversum Conservatory.

This marks the second Koussevitzky commission for composer Earl Kim, whose Earthlight, for violin, soprano, piano and lights, was completed in 1973. Mr. Kim was born in California in 1920. He studied at the University of California with Arnold Schoenberg, Ernest Bloch and Roger Sessions. His teaching career took him to Princeton University before joining the faculty at Harvard University, where he is Edward Ditson Professor of Music Emeritus. He is the recipient of numerous honors, awards and commissions, including those from the Fromm, Naumburg and Guggenheim foundations, the NEA and the National Institute of Arts and Letters. The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players join in sponsoring Mr. Kim's new chamber work for the Foundations.

Composer Michael Tenzer, born in 1957, teaches music theory and composition at Yale University. He holds degrees from Yale and the University of California at Berkeley. Mr. Tenzer has received the Charles Ives Center Award, the DiLorenzo Prize, and a Fulbright fellowship. Since 1977, he has conducted extensive field research on the music of Bali, Indonesia. He co-founded the Sekar Jaya gamelan ensemble, an internationally acclaimed organization of American performers of Balinese arts. Mr. Tenzer is the first Western composer invited to write works for Balinese ensembles in Bali. The new work, to be scored for chamber ensemble, is commissioned jointly by the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra and the Foundations.

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PR 95-106
ISSN 0731-3527

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