NJSO and Princeton University to Host Edward T. Cone Composition Institute, 7/15-19

NJSO and Princeton University to Host Edward T. Cone Composition Institute, 7/15-19

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and Princeton University Department of Music announce the four composers of the inaugural NJSO Edward T. Cone Composition Institute, a multi-faceted program that promotes new music and emerging composers. The Institute is a collaboration between the NJSO and the Princeton University Department of Music and is generously funded in part by the Edward T. Cone Foundation.

Selected from an international applicant pool of 28 university composition students and composers in the early stages of their professional careers, the four composers of the Institute will participate in five days of intense compositional evaluations and consultations July 15-19 on the Princeton University campus; the program will culminate in a live concert performance of the participants' works by the NJSO and Music Director Jacques Lacombe on July 19 at the Richardson Auditorium.

Lembit Beecher-praised by The San Francisco Chronicle for his "hauntingly lovely and deeply personal" music and by The New York Times for his "alluring, emotive" work-is currently serving a three-year appointment as the first composer-in-residence of Opera Philadelphia in collaboration with Gotham Chamber Opera and Music Theatre Group of New York.

David Biedenbender has garnered two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards and has collaborated with diverse ensembles including Alarm Will Sound, PRISM Saxophone Quartet, Stenhammar String Quartet, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, United States Navy Band, Philharmonie Baden-Baden and Boston New Music Initiative.

Daniel J. Choi, who recently completed bachelor's degrees in music composition and economics at the University of Miami, has heard his music read by the Cleveland Orchestra three yearly workshop residencies; his music has also been performed by the Pulse Chamber Ensemble, Borup-Ernst Duo and members of the soundSCAPE festival, a contemporary new-music festival in the Italian Alps.

Chris Rogerson has received praise from The Washington Post for his "confident, fully-grown composing talent" and from The New York Times for his music's "virtuosic exuberance" and "haunting beauty." Rogerson has received commissions and performances from the Kansas City, New World and Grand Rapids symphonies; Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra; Chicago Sinfonietta; Cabrillo Festival Orchestra and Brentano Quartet.

Lacombe says: "The talent level-and the accomplishments-of the applicants was very high. [Institute Director Steven Mackey] and I saw imagination and creativity, and we also saw that these composers have a real understanding of [writing for orchestra], that their work was not just pure invention but also connected to a solid musical background. That mixture of personality and understanding is what I look for [when programming] new music, and I saw that in these compositions. It is going to be a very strong first year for the Institute."

At the Institute, the four composers will hear their work in daily rehearsals with the NJSO, receiving feedback from Lacombe and NJSO musicians, and will participate in one-on-one coaching sessions and group master classes with Institute Director Steven Mackey. The Institute will also provide career-enriching sessions with music-publishing industry leaders, including Boosey & Hawkes, Inc., President Zizi Mueller, to broaden awareness of current practices in publishing, licensing, promotion and music preparation. By the conclusion of this laboratory experience, participants will have gained invaluable musical and practical feedback about writing for orchestra.

Mackey says: "This Institute is a major opportunity to workshop with a professional orchestra. Over the past 15 years, I have seen firsthand what excellent mentors these musicians are for emerging composers in the reading sessions the NJSO has held for Princeton University composition graduate students. Their desire to give feedback and help young composers strengthen their work will serve the Institute's participants well.

"What is truly unique about this Institute is the multifaceted experience the composers will receive. The business of composing goes beyond the creative musical process, and at the Institute, industry leaders will illuminate key elements of publishing, promotion and other important practical issues these composers will encounter as they launch and sustain successful careers."

The NJSO will present the world premiere of each composer's work at a special public concert on July 19 at Richardson Auditorium on the Princeton University campus. Lacombe conducts the performance, which begins at 8 pm. General-admission tickets are $15 and are available for purchase online at www.njsymphony.org or by phone at 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476).

The Orchestra may program Institute composers' works on future regular-season concerts, Lacombe says. "The NJSO believes strongly in finding and sharing new talents in soloists, conductors and composers. We hope this will be the beginning of a relationship between these composers and the Orchestra."

The launch of the NJSO Edward T. Cone Composition Institute coincides with the NJSO's presentation of the world premiere of Cone's Symphony at a special July 18 concert/lecture at Richardson Auditorium. Cone has been a connective element through the five seasons of the Orchestra's critically lauded New Jersey Roots Project, which celebrates composers born in New Jersey or influenced by their time spent in the Garden State. Through the project, the NJSO has presented not only Cone's music but also the work of composers whose artistic identity was influenced by the late Princeton University professor. The Institute further celebrates Cone's legacy as both a composer and a teacher.

Additional information about the Institute is available at www.njsymphony.org/institute.


Saturday, July 19 at 8 pm | Richardson Auditorium in Princeton

Jacques Lacombe, conductor

Steven Mackey, Institute director

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

LEMBIT BEECHER Kalevipoeg in California

DAVID BIEDENBENDER Strange, Beautiful Noises

DANIEL J. CHOI Scaena Ager

CHRIS ROGERSON Night and the City

Additional concert information is available at www.njsymphony.org/events/detail/cone-composition-institute.

World-Premiere Weekend Special Offer: five world premieres in two days

A special World-Premiere Weekend package for the NJSO Edward T. Cone Institute world premieres and the NJSO's world premiere of Cone's Symphony on Friday, July 18, is available for $25. The World-Premiere Weekend package is available for purchase online at www.njsymphony.org or by phone at 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476).


Lembit Beecher

Praised by The San Francisco Chronicle for his "hauntingly lovely and deeply personal" music and by The New York Times for his "alluring, emotive" work, Lembit Beecher is a composer who strives to create intimate, heartfelt and dramatically potent musical experiences. Beecher is currently serving a three-year term as the first composer in residence of Opera Philadelphia in collaboration with Gotham Chamber Opera and Music Theatre Group of New York. Gotham Chamber Opera premiered his chamber opera I Have No Stories To Tell You at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in February 2014, in what The Wall Street Journal dubbed an "ingenious project."

Born to Estonian and American parents, Beecher grew up under the redwoods in Santa Cruz, California, a few miles from the Pacific Ocean. He has lived in Boston, Houston, Ann Arbor, Berlin and New York, earning degrees from Harvard, Rice and the University of Michigan. This varied background has made him particularly sensitive to place, ecology, memory and the multitude of ways in which people tell stories. Beecher's work has been performed at the Tanglewood, Aspen and Cabrillo Music Festivals and by the Del Sol String Quartet, Aizuri Quartet, Shepherd School Symphony, New York Youth Symphony and Opera Philadelphia, among others. He has been in residence at the Copland House and Scrag Mountain Music; he was a fellow at the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities. More information is available at www.lembitbeecher.com.

David Biedenbender

David Biedenbender's first musical collaborations were in rock and jazz bands as an electric bassist and in wind and jazz bands as a bass trombone and euphonium player. A musical omnivore and a passionate collaborator, Biedenbender is inspired by a diverse array of interests and experiences, and his creative interests include working with diverse artists from classically trained musicians to improvisers, acoustic chamber music to large ensembles, and interactive electronic interfaces to live brain data. Biedenbender has collaborated with many renowned performers and ensembles, including Alarm Will Sound, the PRISM Saxophone Quartet, Stenhammar String Quartet (Sweden), Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, VocalEssence, United States Navy Band, Eastman Wind Ensemble, Philharmonie Baden-Baden (Germany), Atlantic Chamber Ensemble, Detroit Symphony Orchestra bass trombonist Randall Hawes and University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Choir, among others.