Osmo Vanska to Conduct Minnesota Orchestra's Future Classics Concert, 1/29

The Minnesota Orchestra performs new orchestral works by seven of today's top emerging composers in its eighth annual Future Classics concert, played under the baton of Music Director Osmo Vänskä. The concert, held on Friday, January 29, is the capstone of the 13th Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, co-presented with the American Composers Forum; the program has consistently earned national recognition. Returning for his second year as the director of the Composer Institute is composer Kevin Puts. All seven featured composers will be present to introduce their music at the concert, which will be emceed by Fred Child, who hosts American Public Media's Performance Today.

Minnesota Orchestra Director Emerita Hella Mears Hueg, a longtime advocate of new music initiatives, has recently contributed a major gift to the Orchestra to help support the annual Composer Institute for the next five years. "The Institute offers emerging composers an abundance of opportunities with a major Orchestra and it offers our audiences a chance to hear the newest music being created in the classical world today," says Kevin Smith, Minnesota Orchestra President and CEO. "Hella's generous gift assures the continuity of this unique program, and we are enormously grateful for her support."

The concert is performed at the Minnesota Orchestra's home venue in downtown Minneapolis, Orchestra Hall, on Friday, January 29, at 8 p.m., with tickets priced at $20 and $40. Individual tickets and subscription packages for all 2015-16 season concerts are available at minnesotaorchestra.org and by phone at 612-371-5656. For further purchasing details, see the information section at the conclusion of this press release.

Career breakthroughs for seven emerging talents

Collectively, the program's seven featured composers have studied at some of the nation's top music schools, including the Juilliard School, Yale University, the Curtis Institute of Music, Northwestern University and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. One composer, Kirsten Broberg, is a Minnesota native who grew up in White Bear Lake and holds degrees from Concordia College and the University of Minnesota. The pieces on this program encompass a variety of musical styles and most of these works are receiving their first performance by a major American orchestra during the Future Classics concert.

Kirsten Broberg's Celestial Dawning, the final work in a cycle inspired by nature, is an energy-filled piece depicting the formative moments of a planet in the solar system. Matthew Browne's Barnstorming Season is a polystylistic work inspired by the dangerous and exciting maneuvers in air shows of the 1920s. Joshua Cerdenia, a native of the Philippines, presents Mayagon, an emotional piece based on the tale of a beautiful maiden in Filipino mythology. Emily Cooley describes her Scroll of the Air as "a meditation on creativity and flight" which is at some moments industrial and at others serene. Nick DiBerardino's Asphodel reflects on Homer's The Odyssey and ponders notions of the afterlife. Michael Gilbertson's Sinfonia After Vivaldi, of which movements III and IV are performed at this concert, was inspired by motives and themes from Vivaldi's Four Seasons. In Anthony Vine's Transmission, the musicians traverse the extremes of their instruments and play along with electronic sounds in a work which the composer describes as an "attempt to transform the orchestra into a transistor radio."

"This will be an evening of compelling music by seven emerging composers who have put great craft and imagination into their works," says Kevin Puts, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his opera Silent Night, which was commissioned by the Minnesota Opera. "I'm delighted to be back for my second year as Composer Institute director, and it will be a thrill to help these composers further hone their skills during the week's seminars and private one-on-one sessions."

Music Director Osmo Vänskä's commitment lends additional prestige to event

In 2006 Osmo Vänskä expanded the then-five-year-old Composer Institute to include an evening Future Classics concert showcasing the composers and works selected for the week-long program. In addition to rehearsing and conducting the concert, he meets individually with all seven composers for private instruction sessions during the Institute.
"The Composer Institute is vital to the Orchestra and our community as we cultivate new music and a new generation of composers," says Mr. Vänskä. "We are entrusted to be curators of all orchestral repertoire-both the historic works as well as music of today."

Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute enters 13th season

The Orchestra's annual Composer Institute, co-presented with the American Composers Forum, is an acclaimed professional training program for emerging symphonic composers that includes five days of seminars, rehearsals, tutoring sessions and other events. Directed for the second time by composer Kevin Puts, the Composer Institute is now in its 13th season.

"The American Composers Forum is committed to nurturing the talent of living composers, and through the Composer Institute, we help ensure that the future of new orchestral music is vibrant and strong," says American Composers Forum President John Nuechterlein. The St. Paul-based organization manages the Institute's score submission process, brings word of the program to its large body of constituents and offers advice and resources, continually helping to fine-tune and expand the program.

The Composer Institute is an outgrowth of the Orchestra's "Perfect Pitch" program, an annual series of new music reading sessions for Minnesota composers launched during the 1995-96 season in collaboration with the American Composers Forum. Perfect Pitch was reformulated in 2001 as the Composer Institute, as the program's focus broadened and national participation was invited.

Many of the 113 composers who have taken part in Perfect Pitch and the Composer Institute in previous years have gone on to receive major commissions, prizes, grants and other opportunities, and several participants have had works played by the Orchestra at subsequent concerts, most recently Polina Nazaykinskaya, whose Winter Bells was offered on the classical subscription series in November 2014.

"The week at the Composer Institute was one of the best weeks in my life," says Ming-Hsiu Yen, a 2008 Institute participant. "The first-rate music education system in the United States is what brought me here from Taiwan, and the conservatory training that I received has been invaluable in making me a better musician. There has been nothing, however, that could compare to what I learned in a week at the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute."

The Institute's seminars bring composers directly in contact with professionals who can offer guidance in areas not typically explored in classroom settings, including aspects of building a career as a composer, legal issues, public speaking and self-publishing music. In addition, Minnesota Orchestra musicians will offer practical guidance on writing for specific instruments and sections of the orchestra.

The 2015 Composer Institute's seminar presenters include John Nuechterlein of the American Composers Forum; Norman Ryan, vice president of Schott Music; Frank J. Oteri of New Music USA; attorney James Kendrick of Kendrick Law and The Copland Fund; music publisher Bill Holab of Bill Holab Music; Fred Child of American Public Media; Minnesota Orchestra Director of Artistic Planning Kari Marshall; and Minnesota Orchestra musicians including Kristen Bruya, Tom Turner, Manny Laureano, Jason Arkis, Kevin Watkins, John Snow, Tim Zavadil, Roma Duncan, Chris Marshall and Kathy Kienzle.

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