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June 17, 1999

Library of Congress Announces Koussevitzky Commissions for 1998

The Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress and the Koussevitzky Music Foundation Inc. have awarded commissions for new musical works to nine 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: Daniel Godfrey and the Cassatt String Quartet; Louis Karchin and the Talujon Percussion Quartet; Arthur Kreiger and Zeitgeist; Wynton Marsalis and the New York Philharmonic; Shulamit Ran and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players; Kurt Rohde and the New Century Chamber Orchestra; Augusta Read Thomas and the Ying String Quartet; Julio Martin Viera and the Teatro Colon (Buenos Aires); and George Walker and the New Jersey Chamber 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.

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 Béla Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra.

Commissions are awarded annually on a competitive basis and are open to performing organizations or individuals without regard to national origin or affiliation. Groups must submit the name of a composer whose work they would like to commission jointly with the foundations and undertake to perform the new work within two years of its completion. Manuscripts of commissioned works are deposited in the Music Division of the Library of Congress.

The Cassatt String Quartet and the foundations jointly commission a new work from composer Daniel Godfrey. A graduate of Yale University and the University of Iowa, Mr. Godfrey is director of the Syracuse University School of Music. The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, and the Suzuki Association of the Americas have recently commissioned works from Mr. Godfrey. His works are published by G. Davidge and Margun Music and are recorded on the CRI, GM, Spectrum and Orion labels. He is the co-author of Music Since 1945: Issues, Materials and Literature, published in 1993 by Schirmer Books.

Louis Karchin, a native of Philadelphia, was educated at the Eastman School of Music and Harvard University. He is Associate Professor on the Faculty of Arts and Science at New York University. Mr. Karchin's numerous prizes and awards include the Tanglewood Koussevitzky Award, the Bearns Prize at Columbia University, a fellowship from the Danforth Foundation, and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts. Composer's Recordings Inc. (CRI) and New World Records have recorded Mr. Karchin's music; his compositions are published by C.F. Peters. The Talujon Percussion Quartet and the foundations jointly commission the new work from Mr. Karchin.

Arthur Kreiger is slated to write a new work for the foundations and the Zeitgeist ensemble. He holds degrees from the University of Connecticut and Columbia University. His honors include the Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Brandeis University Creative Arts Award, and commissions from many leading contemporary music ensembles. Mr. Kreiger's works are recorded on Odyssey, Spectrum, Finnadar, CRI, Neuma and New World Records.

The New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the foundations commission Pulitzer Prize-winning artist Wynton Marsalis to compose an extended work for combined symphony and jazz orchestras and choir. Internationally acclaimed as a trumpeter, Mr. Marsalis is artisticdirector of Jazz at Lincoln Center and serves as conductor of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. In addition to his work as a performer, Mr. Marsalis is active as a composer and educator. His compositions have been performed in conjunction with performances by the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, choreographers Twyla Tharp and Garth Fagan, the Orion String Quartet, and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. Among many other honors, Mr. Marsalis has received the Grammy Award for his recordings.

After coming to the United States from Israel, composer and pianist Shulamit Ran graduated from the Mannes College of Music. She toured widely as a performer before joining the faculty of the University of Chicago, where she is Professor of Composition. Ms. Ran received the Pulitzer Prize in music, as well as many other awards and honors. She has served as composer-in-residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Ms. Ran will compose a new work for the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players.

The New Century Chamber Orchestra, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, joins the foundations in commissioning Kurt Rohde to write a new work for string orchestra. Mr. Rohde received degrees from the Peabody Conservatory, the Curtis Institute, and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Awards and commissions have come from the Fromm Foundation at Harvard University, the Yaddo, MacDowell, and Djerassi colonies, the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, and the American Flute Society. Mr. Rohde's works have been recorded on New Albion Records.

Born in New York, Augusta Read Thomas is an associate professor on the composition faculty at the Eastman School of Music. She is commissioned to write a new work for the Ying String Quartet. Ms. Thomas, who was educated at Northwestern University, Yale University, and the Royal Academy of Music, serves as composer-in-residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She was awarded the International Orpheus Prize for a work commissioned by cellist Mstislav Rostropovich; other commissions have come from the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the American Composers Orchestra. She is the recipient of prizes and grants from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the Guggenheim and Naumberg Foundations, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Julio Martin Viera is head of the Department of Music Production of the Recoleta Cultural Center of the Municipality of Buenos Aires City. He is commissioned by the foundations and the Teatro Colon to write a work for the Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra. Educated at the Catholic University of Buenos Aires, he has received awards and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fromm and Guggenheim Foundations, and the Argentine Society of Composers and Authors, among other organizations. Mr. Viera is the recipient of the First National Composition Prize awarded by the government of Argentina. He has served as professor of music composition at the National University at the City of La Plata.

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, pianist and educator George Walker is commissioned by the foundations and the New Jersey Chamber Music Society to write a work for woodwind ensemble. Mr. Walker's many awards and honors include those from the National Endowment for the Arts, first prize in the Harvey Gaul Competition, and the Guggenheim, Fulbright and Rockefeller fellowships. A graduate of the Oberlin College and Conservatory, the Curtis Institute, and the Eastman School of Music, Mr. Walker retired in 1992 from Rutgers University, where he served as Distinguished Professor and chairman of the Music Department. The Koussevitzky Foundation commissioned Mr. Walker's Sinfonia in 1988.

The Library's Music Division, formally created in 1896 and established in quarters within the Jefferson Building upon its completion in 1897, traces the origin of its collections to the thirteen books on music literature and theory that were contained in Thomas Jefferson's library, purchased by the Congress in 1815. In 1925, philanthropist and music patron Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge expanded the vision and mission of the Library of Congress by creating the foundation that bears her name for the promotion and advancement of chamber music through commissions, public concerts and festivals. Since then, additional foundations such as the Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation have been established through gift or bequest, permitting the Library to extend significantly its influence in the musical world.

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PR 99-089
6/17/99
ISSN 0731-3527

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