Tribute to Ursula Mamlok

13 May 2016

Ursula MamlokUrsula Mamlok was born 1923 in Berlin. She began her musical studies at an early age with Gustav Ernest, professor at the Humboldt University. Persecuted by the Nazis she had to leave Berlin in February 1939 going to Guayaquil/Ecuador with her parents. Not being able to continue her studies in Ecuador she sent the manuscripts of her numerous compositions to conservatories in U. S. The Mannes School of Music gave her a full scholarship, and in 1940, at the age of 17, she left without her parents for New York. At Mannes her teacher was the conductor George Szell. Ursula Mamlok married Dwight Mamlok in 1947, and she returned to school in 1955 to obtain her Bachelor and Master of Music with Vittorio Giannini at the Manhattan School of Music. An earlier scholarship in 1944 at the music institute of Black Mountain College gave her the opportunity to work with Ernst Krenek and Eduard Steuermann, which started her desire to change her to style from less complex, tonal music to complex, non-tonal sounds. Her study of twelve-tone music afforded her to employ Arnold Schönberg's system, which she modified to suit her own work.

Her later studies with Roger Sessions, Jerzy Fitelberg, Stefan Wolpe, and Ralph Shapey proved to be a major influence in her musical development from 1960 on. Ursula Mamlok taught composition at New York University, Temple University, City University and over 40 years composition at the Manhattan School of Music. Her work list encompasses over 60 works: for orchestra, chamber music, vocal music, compositions for solo instruments as well as music for children. Her works are published by C.F. Peters New York, McGinnis and Marx, Theodore Presser and Furore. From 2006 and until her death, Ursula Mamlok lived in Berlin.

Learn More:

Concerto for Oboe and Chamber Orchestra (1776/2003)
2012 performance by League of Composers-ISCM

Henry Threadgill Awarded 2016 Pulitzer Prize

21 April 2016

Henry Threadgill, Composer

Congratulations to Henry Threadgill, named the winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for "distinguished musical composition by an American." The composition is Threadgill's In for a Penny, In for a Pound, released by Pi Recordings. In making the award, the Prize Committee stated that it is "a highly original work in which notated music and improvisation mesh in a sonic tapestry that seems the very expression of modern American life."

Henry Threadgill has enjoyed a music career spanning more than forty years as a composer, lead and multi-instrumentalist. He studied at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. He co-majored in piano and flute, along with composition. Threadgill is a member of the board of directors of Composers Now and was a founding member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM).

Learn more:

About Henry Threadgill:

On the 2016 Pulitzer Prize:

About In for a Penny, In for a Pound:

Composers on Composers Now

13 April 2016

"Late in 2015, we lost a significant leader/hero/advocate for our composer community - John Duffy. John founded the important organization "Meet the Composer" which, among other things, managed to elevate the dignity of living composers by not only placing them in major orchestras around the country, but by also having them get paid for being presented by different organizations of all sizes and styles in every state.

Now we have COMPOSERS NOW - a new presenting organization that is offering the same diversity of living composers and ensembles, an organization founded by composer Tania León. It is a welcome addition to our community, and I wish Tania - an 'uncommon woman' indeed - and her team much success in helping living composers continue to gain the dignity that John Duffy sought for them many years ago."

- Joan Tower, Grammy award-winning composer, pianist and conductor

"Composers Now is a tireless advocate for the new music of our time - in all styles and genres. They are making it easier for composers to get necessary support and resources - and are working tirelessly to create new opportunities for performances, commissions and residencies. Though they are a new organization, they have already established themselves on the New Music and jazz scenes and are playing a valuable role for presenters and composers alike. Bravo!"

- Fred Hersch, Grammy nominated composer/pianist 
"Thank the heavens that Composers Now exists. Tania León has taken her torch out into the forest and has gathered the tribe. And we are a mighty tribe with a wealth of stories to share. These narratives are vital and Composers Now ensures us that the gathering around the campfire will bring the warmth, the light, and the sound."

- Jason Moran, composer/pianist, MacArthur Grant recipient


4 March 2016

... For a fabulous 2016 Composers Now Festival that included nearly 100 events featuring living composers throughout the month of February.

"This worthy festival showcases an eclectic range of composers..."

"...plenty of alluring offerings..."

"This festival celebrating contemporary music in myriad forms and styles continues to bring innovative programs to performance spaces all over the city."

- New York Times

Composers Now 2016 Festival Opening Event:
An Evening of Composers and Music

Saturday, January 30 at 7:30 pm at Tenri Cultural Institute

24 January 2016

Peter Van Zandt Lane Jeff Scott Steve Mackey Jin Hi Kim
Polina Nazaykinskaya Gustavo Casenave Alexis Cuadrado

Meet and hear music by extraordinary living composers including Peter Van Zandt Lane, Jeff Scott, Steve Mackey, Polina Nazaykinskaya, Alexis Cuadrado, Gustavo Casenave and Jin Hi Kim. Hosted by Tania León, artistic director of Composers Now, the evening includes tributes to John Duffy and Frances Richard, both named as recipients of the Composers Now 2016 Visionary Award. For Mr. Duffy, it is a posthumous tribute (see below). Ms. Richard will attend the event.

For more information, visit the Opening Event page.

Tribute to John Duffy

John Duffy

22 December 2015

It is with great sadness that Tania León, Amy Roberts Frawley, our Boards and the entire Composers Now family acknowledge the passing of our composer colleague and dear friend John Duffy early this morning, December 22, 2015. A tireless advocate for living composers, his voice will be greatly missed.

On Saturday, January 30, 2016, 7:30 pm at the Tenri Cultural Institute, Composers Now will pay tribute to John Duffy, posthumously awarding him the 2016 Composers Now Visionary Award honoring his legacy as a composer, mentor, role model, Founder of Meet The Composer and The John Duffy Composers Institute. The ceremony will take place as part of the opening event of the 2016 Composers Now Festival. Read this excellent tribute to John Duffy on New Music Box.

 John Duffy, 1926-2015

Creative Residencies Initiative Update

21 December 2015

Composers Now is proud to announce that Jane Rigler and Darcy James Argue are the first awardees of Composers Now Creative Residences in partnership with the Civitella Ranieri Foundation's Affiliated Fellowship Program. Each composer receives a six-week residency at the Foundation's center in the Umbria region of Italy in addition to travel, room and board. Residencies will take place in 2016 and 2017.

This November marked the second year of Composers Now Creative Residencies at the Pocantico Center, with composers Jin Hi Kim and Peter Van Zandt Lane in residence. In Ms. Kim's words,

"The Pocantico Center is a magical, auspicious, contemplative, joyous, and productive place to be creative. The culmination of my work with Composers Now and Asian Cultural Council has impacted on my creativity beyond my own expectations. Through their connection I collaborated with a new artist I had never met in my life and yet produced an amazing new project together."

Read more on the Creative Residencies page.

Composers Now Welcomes New Presenter Partners, Baryshnikov Arts Center and Concert Artists Guild

9 November 2015

Composers Now is pleased to welcome two new Presenter Partners this week. Both Baryshnikov Arts Center and Concert Artists Guild have upcoming events that feature works by living composers. This Wednesday at Carnegie's Zankel Hall, CAG artist Steven Lin will premiere composer David Hertzberg's alba in a program of solo piano music that also includes works by Beethoven, Ravel, Mendelssohn and Schumann. On December 2 and 4, Baryshnikov Arts Center will present "De Noailles' Bal Masqué," an evening of music featuring composer Mark Applebaum's new work, Control Freak 2, alongside Poulenc's Le bal masqué.

I Care If You Listen Interview Celebrates Dialogues

10 September 2015

Composers Now founder and artistic director Tania León was recently featured in an interview on new music blog I Care If You Listen. Read the full article to learn what she has to say about Composers Now, Dialogues, and the future of music.

This fall, Composers Now announces the launch of our newest initiative, Dialogues, a forum for experiencing new works and the conversations they provoke. The series features inspiring performances followed by stimulating discussions between composers, performers and audiences. For more information, read the full press release.

The theme of the first series of Dialogues is "The Impact of the Arts in our Society." The series opened on September 25 at the Dwyer Cultural Center in Manhattan and will expand to include events in all five boroughs. Visit the Dialogues page for more information.