The National Orchestral Composition Discovery Network
EarShot and The Berkeley Symphony Under Construction New Music Readings directed by Joana Carneiro will partner to bring four new orchestral works by emerging composers Sivan Eldar, B.P. Herrington, Ruben Naeff and Nicholas Omiccioli.
During the February reading session, composers will be encouraged to test-drive excerpts of a work-in-progress, with differently orchestrated and/or differently-paced versions of these excerpts. After hearing the work-in-progress and receiving feedback from the conductor, mentor-composers, and musicians from Berkeley Symphony, composers can revise and complete the work for the second session in May. Composers will receive artistic and career guidance from the Symphony artistic staff, orchestra musicians, and mentor-composers Derek Bermel (ACO Artistic Director), Edmund Campion and Robert Beaser.
The composer participants:
Sivan Eldar: A Thousand Tongues
Sivan Eldar is a composer of chamber and electroacoustic works, as well as sound installations. A native of Israel, she has been pursuing her musical education in the US since the age of fifteen, holding degrees from the United World College, New England Conservatory (B.M.), and University of California Berkeley (M.A.), where she is currently a PhD candidate in composition and new media. Eldar’s works have been performed in festivals and galleries across Europe and the US, and have been recognized by awards from the Nicola Di Lorenzo Composition Competition, Josef Dorfman Composition Competition, Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Hearst Foundation, and most recently the Fulbright Foundation. In addition to working on commissions for ensembles, theater and dance, she currently serves on the composition faculty of the John Adams Young Composers Program and theory faculty of the UC Berkeley Department of Music. She is thrilled to be working with the Berkeley Symphony and Joana Carneiro this season as part of the Under Construction New Music Series!
Sivan writes about A Thousand Tongues: I have spent the past year living in Prague, collaborating with local musicians, dancers, and visual artists. The work we created together allowed me to see Prague – its streets, its language, its heroes – through their colorful eyes. To discover secret places, stories and sounds. This composition is dedicated to them. It is both personal and voyeuristic. It is a peculiar hybrid organism – at times sentimental, at times playful, at times frightening – brought to life through the symphony orchestra.
B.P. Herrington was born in East Texas, in 1976. His works have been performed by artists such as soprano Tony Arnold, conductor James Baker, Ensemble Linea, El Perro Andaluz, the London Sinfonietta, the Royal Academy Symphony Orchestra, the New York Youth Symphony, the BBC Singers, in venues such as Rothko Chapel, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Carnegie Hall, and London’s Purcell Room. He is founding director of Intersection New Music Collective based at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas, where he teaches composition and analysis.
Composition awards include the Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize, Morton Gould Award (ASCAP), Leo Kaplan Prize (ASCAP), First Music Award (New York Youth Symphony) and two composition awards from the Royal Academy of Music. His music has been selected for performance at June in Buffalo (2013), Wellesley Composers Conference (2013), the Cleveland Composers Recording Institute (2013), Pharos Arts Festival in Cyprus (2012), the Soundscape Festival in Italy (2011), UMKC Cello Days (2010), among others. Herrington earned a Ph.D. in music composition at the Royal Academy of Music, London, where he studied with Simon Bainbridge (2001-2004). He also studied with Marc Satterwhite and Steve Rouse at the University of Louisville (1998-2000), and with Frank Felice at Lamar University (1994-1998).
B.P. writes of A Country Lovelier Far: My new orchestral work is a poem about my native area in East Texas. The textural and acoustic sound-world is born of the tangled woods and shaded creeks of the Big Thicket. My musical lines teem with voices from my family and my past: the strange ecstatic blend of gospel and honky-tonk I heard as a child in our rural Pentecostal church (where my father led the singing and I played trumpet), the high fervent singing of my backwoods Baptist grandmother and other kinfolk, as well as the songs and folklore of the Big Thicket, still resonant with old Scots-Irish roots. My primary aesthetic models are literary, in particular William Faulkner, who so admirably balanced modernism and unique sense of place. As far as form goes, I have no preconceived notions when I begin a piece. As Flannery O’Connor said, “You don’t dream up a form and put the truth in it. The truth creates its own form.” All I can say for now is that I plan to have a grand old time bringing this piece to life, and I hope to fill it with all the beauty and humor it can hold. And I thank my wife in advance for her patience.
Ruben Naeff is influenced by his background as math graduate and economist. An Amsterdam-born, Brooklyn-based composer, Ruben writes music that embodies a mathematician’s creativity and discipline, an economist’s public awareness and a music lover’s Schwung. In collaboration with scientists, cartoonists, and newspaper de Volkskrant, Ruben released the CD De Bètacanon, a musical canon about the hard sciences. Other interdisciplinary works include The Dancing Dollar about today’s economic crisis and The YouOpera, covering the Internet, including youopera.org that sings a user’s Facebook wall.
Ruben co-founded the West 4th New Music Collective that promotes the work of emerging musicians. His music has been presented by Bang on a Can Marathon and happyChaos, and has been performed in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Latvia, Switzerland, Austria and across the USA. He worked with Signal, JACK Quartet, Contemporaneous, Wild Rumpus, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Deviant Septet, Vigil, Cadillac Moon, Erasmus Kamerkoor, Quatre Bouches, orchestra Con Brio, and such musicians as Lindsay Kesselman (Einstein on the Beach), Nicholas Photinos (eighth blackbird), Jamie Jordan, David Friend, Richard Valitutto and Andy Meyerson.
Ruben holds master’s degrees in math and composition from the University of Amsterdam and New York University, respectively. He studied with Michael Gordon and Daan Manneke, and participated in masterclasses by Louis Andriessen, David Lang, Augusta Read Thomas and Christopher Rouse. He attended the conservatories of Amsterdam and The Hague, and the programs of Aspen Music Festival, June in Buffalo, Bang on a Can, Music11 and the UNL Chamber Music Institute. Ruben received the prestigious HSP Huygens Scholarship and grants from the Netherland-America Foundation, Jerome Fund for New Music and the American Composers Forum, the Van Bijleveltstichting and the Fonds voor de Geld- en Effectenhandel. He earned recognition from Wild Rumpus, Ethel/ClefWorks, Golden Hornet, Renegade Ensemble, Hartford Opera Theatre, Center City Opera, Platypus, Andrew Gerlicher and the UvA Cultural Festival.
Ruben writes: or the Under Construction Reading Series I intend to continue my search for a new musical language, test my artistic ideas, and last but not least, have a priceless dialogue with the musicians about both the artistic and the pragmatic side of orchestral writing, during this rare and extraordinary opportunity of workshopping an orchestral work. I hope the piece will be direct, compelling and virtuosic, expressing an individual’s voice in today’s flood of choices, with today’s speed and spectacle, but as clear as a PowerPoint presentation and from a very personal and intimate perspective. Music, like life, is all about finding your way through difficult situations: the more challenging it becomes, the more rewarding the results. I’d like to hear that in music.
Nicholas S. Omiccioli (b.1982) is currently a residency fellow with the Charlotte Street Urban Culture Project in Kansas City, MO. Just recently, Nick was also awarded a residency at Copland House which he will fulfill in October 2013. His music has been performed in Canada, Italy, Austria, Lithuania, the United Kingdom, Thailand, China, New Zealand, Sweden, and throughout the United States. Nick has worked with ensembles such as the Jasper String Quartet, Calder Quartet, Curious Chamber Players, le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, l’Orchestre de la francophonie, and the Society for New Music to name a few. His music has been featured at the Aspen Music Festival and School, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, (le) Poisson Rouge, Beijing Modern Music Festival, Thailand International Composition Festival, Wellesley Composers Conference, Festivalis Druskomanija, and Domain Forget, among others.
Nick has been commissioned by the Wellesley Composers Conference, Shouse Institute at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, National Arts Centre in Canada, Third Angle Ensemble, and the Chamber Music Project at the Aspen Music Festival and School. In addition to receiving many awards, grants, and fellowships, Nick was a finalist for the 2013 Rome Prize in music composition and has received multiple nominations for scholarships by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His primary composition teachers include James Mobberley, Chen Yi, Zhou Long, and Brian Bevelander. He has also had additional study with João Pedro Oliveira and Stephen Hartke. Nick holds degrees from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Heidelberg University. When not composing, Nick enjoys listening to heavy metal and watching cartoons.
Nick writes: The work I intend to write for the Berkeley Earshot Readings is inspired by my early roots in playing guitar in heavy metal bands. Growing up, I was into groups such as Megadeth, Metallica, and In Flames for their hard edge, driving rhythms, virtuosic guitar solos, and melodic hooks. The aim of the work is to exploit the raw, visceral nature of various sub-genres of heavy metal music within the context of an orchestra.
Joana Carneiro has attracted considerable attention as one of the most outstanding young conductors working today. In 2009, she was named Music Director of the Berkeley Symphony, succeeding Kent Nagano and becoming only the third music director in the 40-year history of the orchestra. She also currently serves as official guest conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra, working with the orchestra at least four weeks every year.
2013-14 marks Carneiro’s fifth season as Music Director of the Berkeley Symphony, where she has captivated audiences with her commanding stage presence and adventurous programming that has highlighted the works of several prominent contemporary composers, including John Adams, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Gabriela Lena Frank. The 2013-2014 Berkeley season features world premieres by Edmund Campion and Samuel Carl Adams, as well as works by Brett Dean, Kaija Saariaho and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Carneiro’s growing guest-conducting career continues to bring her all around the globe. In 2013-14, she makes debuts with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and Florida Orchestra. She returns to the Toronto, Gothenburg, Gävle, Malmö, Sydney, New Zealand symphonies and the National Symphony Orchestra of Spain.
EarShot is made possible with the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The Aaron Copland Fund for Music. Additional funding provided by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.