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Women Composers Commissions Announced

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Women Composers Commissions Announced

Composers Niloufar Iravani, Leanna Primiani, and Hilary Purrington will each receive orchestral commissions of $15,000 as part of the Women Composers Readings and Commissions program, an initiative of the League of American Orchestras, in partnership with American Composers Orchestra (ACO) and supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.

Hilary Purrington 's Words for Departure will be premiered by The Philadelphia Orchestra, conductor Stéphane Denève, the Westminster Symphonic Choir, and director Joe Miller on February 12, 13, and 14, 2021. Niloufar Iravani 's work will be premiered by the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and music director Delta David Gier, and Leanna Primiani's, by ROCO (dates to be announced).

"This program is providing an extraordinary career boost and professional opportunity for so many women composers while introducing the orchestra community to this rich reservoir of talent," said Jesse Rosen, the League's President and CEO. "We are grateful for the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation's support for this vital program."

"The body of exciting and excellent new work generated by this program is genuine cause for celebration during these difficult times," said ACO President and CEO Ed Yim. "As a partner of the League, ACO is proud to support and share these important women creators' work with the field."

The Women Composers Readings and Commissions program is embedded in EarShot, an initiative of American Composers Orchestra in collaboration with American Composers Forum, the League of American Orchestras, and New Music USA. EarShot is the nation's first ongoing program for identifying and promoting the most promising orchestral composers on the national stage. ACO's artistic and administrative staff collaborates with participating orchestras, assisting with planning, program design, and execution. EarShot residencies include mentorship from the most accomplished orchestral composers in the country, orchestra readings, and musician and conductor feedback sessions. The program is customized to each host orchestra's aesthetic, demographic, community, and educational interests.

The current recipients were selected from all female/female identifying/non binary composers who have participated in EarShot residencies, including participants during the 2018-2019 season from Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony, Sarasota Orchestra and ACO's Underwood New Music Readings.

The program has been renewed for an additional cycle; female/female identifying/non binary composers participating in 2019-20 EarShot residencies will be added to the pool of candidates for a new round of commissions next year. The 2019-20 residencies include Aguascalientes Symphony Orchestra (Mexico) (August 12-14, 2019) Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (January 28-29, 2020), and American Composers Orchestra's Underwood New Music Readings (March 13, 2020). Houston Symphony readings, previously scheduled for May 5-7, 2020, have been postponed due to the pandemic.

Since its inception in 2014, the Women Composers Readings and Commissions program has shown impressive results: forty women composers benefitted from career development via the EarShot Readings and sixteen composers have now received commissions, with eight (premieres by Julia Adolphe, Courtney Bryan, Melody Eötvös, Robin Holcomb, Chen-Hui Jen, Hannah Lash, Andreia Pinto Correia, and Andrea Reinkemeyer) completed.

2014 commission recipient Julia Adolphe's Unearth, Release (Concerto for Viola and Orchestra) received its New York premiere November 17-19, 2016 by the New York Philharmonic, conductor Jaap van Zweden, and Prinicipal Viola Cynthia Phelps as soloist. Melody Eötvös's Red Dirt | Silver Rain was premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2015 by American Composers Orchestra as part of the orchestra's SONiC: Sounds of a New Century, a festival devoted to new music written in the 21st century by composers age 40 and under.

The recipients of the 2015 Women Composers Readings and Commissions were composers Andreia Pinto Correia and Xi Wang. Andreia Pinto Correia's Ciprés was premiered on April 6 and 7, 2018 by the Columbus Symphony. Xi Wang is working on a piece for the Berkeley Symphony (California) and music director Joseph Young, to be premiered in a future season.

2016 program recipients were Chen-Hui Jen, whose work in eternal dusk was premiered by the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra on January 27, 2018; Hannah Lash, whose Double Concerto for piano, harp, and orchestra was premiered by the Naples Philharmonic and conductor Arvo Volmer on November 14 and 16; and Wang Jie (details tbd).

2017 commission recipients were Andrea Reinkemeyer, whose Water Sings Fire was premiered by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and music director Carlos Miguel Prieto on January 10, 11, and 12, 2019; Stacy Garrop, whose Goddess Triptych will be premiered by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Stéphane Denève on September 25, 26, and 27, 2020; and Robin Holcomb, whose No Thing Lives to Itself was premiered by the Portland Symphony Orchestra (Maine) and music director Eckart Preu on January 19 and 21, 2020.

2018 commission recipients were Courtney Bryan, whose work Rejoice was premiered by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and music director Carlos Miguel Prieto on November 21, 22, and 23, 2019; Cindy Cox, whose premiere by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and conductor Pekka Kuusisto was postponed due to the pandemic; and Fang Man, whose work will be premiered by the San Francisco Symphony and music director designate Esa-Pekka Salonen on March 11, 12, and 13, 2021.

2019 commission recipients are Niloufar Iravani, whose work will be premiered by the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and music director Delta David Gier (date tbd); Leanna Primiani, whose work will be premiered by ROCO (dates tbd); and Hilary Purrington, whose work Words for Departure will be premiered by The Philadelphia Orchestra, conductor Stéphane Denève, the Westminster Symphonic Choir, and director Joe Miller on February 12, 13, and 14, 2021.


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