Composers Now is pleased to announce the launch of its innovative new initiative, Dialogues, hosted by Composers Now Founder/Artistic Director Tania León. Events in the series open with inspiring performances followed by thought provoking town hall-style conversations, a forum for meaningful exchanges of ideas between composers, performers and audiences. Read the full press release here.
Composers Now and the Baryshnikov Arts Center co-presented Dialogues No. 2 on November 1, 2016. This second Dialogues event featured renowned composers Esperanza Spalding, Margaret Brouwer and Du Yun with conversation catalysts Felipe Lara, Milica Paranosic, Miya Masaoka and Jeffrey Scott. Continue reading for more details on this exciting event celebrating living composers.
Esperanza Spalding, four-time Grammy Award winner, is a composer, bassist, and vocalist, expansive, iterative, shape-shifting, open, and progressively innovative. The New York Times declared that she "has made her mark not just as a virtuoso jazz bassist or an effortlessly nimble singer but as an exotic hybrid of the two. The very nature of her talent is exceptional". In the past decade of her illustrious career, she has performed at the Oscars, the Grammys, the Nobel Prize ceremony, and several times at the White House, Spalding has continually and brilliantly married genres, pushed boundaries, and created groundbreaking work. Just 31 and with these accomplishments behind her, she is on a lifelong artistic journey which began while watching Yo-Yo Ma on an episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Her first instrument was the violin and she was playing with the Chamber Music Society of Oregon in her hometown of Portland at the age of five. Eventually her focus shifted to composing and playing acoustic bass. Spalding joined her first band, Noise for Pretend, as both bassist and vocalist. Eventually she moved to the east coast, graduated from the Berklee College of Music at age 20, and became the school's youngest-ever instructor. A voracious and magnetic performer, Spalding has shared the stage with her own revolving ensembles, Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, Janelle Monae, and Prince, among others. Her recorded catalog features seven collaborative and five solo albums, the most recent of which is Emily's D+Evolution on the Concord label.
Margaret Brouwer is known for creating music that abounds in lyricism, strong imagery and emotional power. The Dallas Morning News declared she "has one of the most delicate ears and inventive imaginations among contemporary American composers." Reviewing her 2014 Naxos CD, released as part of the label's American Classics Series, NewMusicBox wrote, "From the relentless, primal energy of 'Shattered Glass' to the naked beauty of 'Whom do you call angel now?'…Brouwer's music represents just how uniquely diverse the output and voice of a single composer can be." Reviewing the same disc, The Classical Reviewer stated that the composer "has an ear for creating some exquisite sounds and textures that listeners will find beguiling." Among the ensembles to champion her works are the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony, the American Composers Orchestra, CityMusic Cleveland and the American Modern Ensemble, and she has served as composer-in-residence of the Cabrillo Music Festival. In March 2017 Brouwer's Pluto for orchestra and chorus receives multiple performances with the Maryland Symphony. She is the founder of the Blue Streak Ensemble which brings innovative and eclectic music to new audiences across the country. The Margaret Brouwer Collection, containing her scores, manuscripts, papers and recordings, was created by the Music Division of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center in 2015. Brouwer served as head of the composition department at the Cleveland Institute of Music from 1996 to 2008.
Du Yun, born and raised in Shanghai, China, and currently based in New York, is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, performance artist, and activist for new music, working at the intersection of orchestral, opera, chamber music, theatre, cabaret, pop music, oral tradition, visual arts, electronics and noise. Hailed by the New York Times "as a leading figure in China's new generation of composers", she was selected by the National Public Radio as one of its 100 Composers Under 40, featured as One of the Top Creatives by Origin Magazine in 2015, and her opera Angel's Bone received its world premiere as part of the 2016 Protoype Festival. The Financial Times characterizes her work as "riveting...a significant voice". Chameleonic in her protean artistic outputs, Du's music is championed by some of today's finest performing artists, ensembles, orchestras and organizations including the BAM Next Wave Festival, the Seattle Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, Matt Haimovitz and Claire Chase. In addition, she has also made works in the art world, including the 4th Guangzhou Art Triennial, Sharjah Biennial (UAE), Auckland Triennial, Istanbul Biennial, and the inaugural Shanghai Project under the curator Hans Ulrich Obrist and Youngwoo Lee. She is a member of the composition faculty at SUNY-Purchase, was a founding member of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), and currently serves as the Artistic Director of MATA, a pioneering organization dedicated to commissioning and championing young composers from around the world.
The first Dialogues took place on September 25, 2015 at the Dwyer Cultural Center. The theme for the inaugural year is "the impact of the arts in our society," and events will be scheduled in every borough.
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.
Nkeiru Okoye, Conversation Catalyst, with composers Courtney Bryan & Valerie Coleman
DIALOGUES NO. 1September 25, 2015
258 Saint Nicholas Avenue
COMPOSERS & PERFORMERS:
Marcos Balter, composer
Members of Composers Now
Julian de la Chica, composer; with other audience members
Valerie Coleman, composer & flutist; with fellow Imani Winds members: Mariam Adam, clarinetist & Monica Ellis, bassoonist
In addition to the Dwyer Cultural Center, Composers Now is proud to collaborate with the International Communications Association, the Harlem Cultural Archives and the Harlem Arts Alliance.