American Composers Announce Kendall Williams as Their Van Lier Emerging Composer Fellow for 2013-2014
New York, NY - American Composers Orchestra (ACO) is pleased to announce that Kendall Williams will be the orchestra's Van Lier Emerging Composer Fellow for the 2013-2014 season. The Fellowship, established in 1999, offers a comprehensive and multi-faceted program that equips emerging composers with the full range of professional skills and tools necessary for building a successful career as a composer of orchestral music. This year's Fellow, Kendall Williams, received his B.A. in Music from Florida Memorial University and M.M. in Music Theory & Composition from NYU Steinhardt, studying with Julia Wolfe, Michael Gordon, and Rich Shemaria. His main instrument is the steel pan.
ACO's Van Lier Fellowship gives young composers the opportunity to work with ACO artistic and administrative leadership in honing their professional skills, participating in planning educational activities and performances, serving as liaison with student composers, and enhancing their professional careers by immersing themselves in the professional environment of ACO over the course of an entire season. The fellowship, which is made possible by the Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund and Musical Arts Fund of the New York Community Trust, is designed to provide a career-development bridge between a young composer's training at the University or Conservatory and the world of the professional orchestra.
About Kendall Willams
Having been born around the Trinidadian culture, Kendall Williams has adopted the country's national instrument, the steel pan. From as early as the age of four, Kendall made efforts to mimic his parents as they displayed their talents in a Miami-based steel band. It wasn't long before his efforts turned into a reality as he developed his skills and passion for the instrument. As he got older his passion brought out a connection to music and he was able to perform with large, world-renowned steel bands in Trinidad and Tobago as well as bands in the New York based scene for years and counting. He took things a step further when he graduated from Florida Memorial University with a B.A. in Music under the direction of Dr. Dawn Batson, with his main instrument being the steel pan. He continued to further his studies at NYU Steinhardt, where he pursued a Masters of Music Degree in Music Theory & Composition, studying with Julia Wolfe, Michael Gordon, and Rich Shemaria. There he also actively participated in the NYU Steel band under the leadership of Artist Faculty member Josh Quillen. As he moved closer to graduating, his goals included composing and arranging music that can further showcase the steel pan for the virtuous instrument it is, while bringing his unique style to more conventional instruments known today. Now that he has graduated he aggressively pursues a career as a composer, arranger, and advocate for the steel pan instrument. He works to open peoples' minds to the possibilities steel pan can offer the world by showing that the instrument is more versatile than it may seem.
Now in its 37th season, American Composers Orchestra is the only orchestra in the world dedicated to the creation, performance, preservation, and promulgation of music by American composers. ACO makes the creation of new opportunities for American composers and new American orchestral music its central purpose. Through concerts at Carnegie Hall and other venues, recordings, internet and radio broadcasts, educational programs, New Music Readings, and commissions, ACO identifies today's brightest emerging composers, champions prominent established composers as well as those lesser-known, and increases regional, national, and international awareness of the infinite variety of American orchestral music, reflecting geographic, stylistic, and temporal diversity. ACO also serves as an incubator of ideas, research, and talent, as a catalyst for growth and change among orchestras, and as an advocate for American composers and their music.
To date, ACO has performed music by more than 600 American composers, including 200 world premieres and newly commissioned works. Among the orchestra's innovative programs have been SONiC: Sounds of a New Century, a nine-day citywide festival in New York of music by more than 100 composers age 40 and under; Sonidos de las Américas, six annual festivals devoted to Latin American composers and their music; Coming to America, a program immersing audiences in the ongoing evolution of American music through the work of immigrant composers; Orchestra Tech, a long-term initiative to integrate new digital technologies in the symphony orchestra; Improvise!, a festival devoted to the exploration of improvisation and the orchestra; coLABoratory: Playing It UNsafe, a new laboratory for the research and development of experimental new works for orchestra; and Orchestra Underground, ACO's entrepreneurial cutting-edge orchestral ensemble that embraces new technology, eclectic instruments, influences, and spatial orientation of the orchestra, new experiments in the concert format, and multimedia and multi-disciplinary collaborations.
Composer development has been at the core of ACO's mission since its founding. In addition to its annual Underwood New Music Readings and Commission, ACO also provides a range of additional educational and professional development activities, including composer residencies and fellowships. In 2008, ACO launched EarShot, a multi-institutional network that assists orchestras around the country in mounting new music readings. Recent and upcoming Earshot programs include the New York Philharmonic, the Detroit, Berkeley, La Jolla, Nashville, Memphis, Colorado, and San Diego Symphonies, the New York Youth Symphony, and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. For more information visit www.EarShotnetwork.org.