Nashville Symphony Composer Lab and Workshop Brings Four Emerging Composers To Nashville Next Week

Nashville Symphony Composer Lab and Workshop Brings Four Emerging Composers To Nashville Next WeekFollowing a nationwide call for submissions, the Nashville Symphony selected four promising young composers to participate in the second edition of its Composer Lab and Workshop, an initiative designed to cultivate the next generation of great American composers.

The four composers - Emily Cooley, James Diaz, Liliya Ugay and Shen Yiwen - arrive in Nashville this weekend to take part in the comprehensive program, led by Symphony music director Giancarlo Guerrero and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis, during which they will showcase their music and learn about every facet of working with a major American orchestra.

"This program is an important part of the Symphony's long-standing commitment to promote the creation of new, forward-thinking American music," said Guerrero. "Each of these gifted artists represents the vibrancy and diversity of our country today, and each is helping to shape the sound of orchestral music in the 21st century. We're so thrilled to welcome them to Nashville and to help them take the next step in their careers - and we invite the community to hear what we believe will be the classics of the future."

The program will culminate with an open rehearsal at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 14, when the GRAMMY-winning Nashville Symphony will perform works by all four Composer Lab participants at Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Admission is free and open to the public. Audio samples of the selected composers' work are available on Soundcloud HERE.

Following the highly successful launch of Composer Lab & Workshop in 2015, the Symphony issued a nationwide call for submissions in February of this year for the second edition of the program, open to American-based composers between the ages of 18 and 33. Sixty-five scores were submitted, and the four finalists were selected by Guerrero and Kernis, who serves as the Composer Lab's workshop director and developed a similar initiative at the Minnesota Orchestra.

One of the most comprehensive programs of its kind anywhere in the United States. the Composer Lab will immerse the four participants in a hands-on learning experience with workshop sessions covering key aspects of composing, performing and music industry practices, including:

  • Reading sessions with the Nashville Symphony;
  • Individual mentoring sessions with Giancarlo Guerrero and Aaron Jay Kernis;
  • Meetings with composer Chen Yi, Copland House executive director Michael Boriskin and Nashville Symphony assistant conductor Enrico Lopez-Yañez;
  • Group meetings with Nashville Symphony musicians to sharpen instrumental writing;
  • "Self-Marketing with Social Media" led by Nashville Symphony's Digital Media manager;
  • A "Business Essentials for Composers" briefing led by Jim Kendrick of ASCAP, covering copyrights, licenses, contracts and negotiations, commissions, publishing and more.

Guerrero may also select one or more of the composers' works to be performed as part of the Symphony's 2018/19 Aegis Sciences Classical Series. The inaugural Composer Lab & Fellow, Bay Area native GabriellaA. Smith, had her original piece Tumblebird Contrails featured during Aegis Sciences Classical Series concerts in October of 2016.

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About the Nashville Symphony Composer Lab and Workshop Fellows:
Emily Cooley is a Philadelphia-based composer of orchestral, chamber and vocal music whose works have been performed by the Minnesota, Louisville, Milwaukee, Berkeley, Sioux City and Eastern Connecticut symphony orchestras and the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra. She has been a fellow at Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, Norfolk New Music Workshop, CULTIVATE at Copland House, and Cabrillo Conductors/Composers Workshop, and she was honored with a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2015. A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she is a graduate of Curtis, USC and Yale. In 2012, she co-founded Kettle Corn New Music, a new music presenting organization in New York City, and currently serves as its director of publicity. Emily is also a Community Artist Fellow at the Curtis Institute of Music, where she designs collaborative music programming for Philadelphians who are incarcerated or returning citizens.

Originally from Colombia, New-York based composer James Diaz is the winner of the 2015 National Prize of Music in Composition from the Ministry of Culture of Colombia. His work was selected for the 2017 Underwood New Music Readings, hosted by the American Composers Orchestra in New York, and won second place in the 2017 Manhattan Prize and the 2014 Prize of Music in Composition for the reopening of the Teatro Colón. James also earned the 2015 Choral and Symphony Composition Award from the Bogotá Philharmonic, the 2013 Composition Prize of the International Winter Festival of Campos do Jordão, and the XV National Award for Musical Composition, City of Bogotá, from the Bogotá Philharmonic. He was also a two-time composition fellow at International Winter Festival of Campos do Jordão - Brazil. James studied composition with Moisés Bertrán, Harold Vázquez and Gustavo Parra at the Colombian National Conservatory of Music and is currently studying composition with Dr. Reiko Fueting at the Manhattan School of Music.

Award-winning composer and pianist Liliya Ugay is the recipient of the 2016 Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the 2017 Horatio Parker Memorial Prize from the Yale School of Music. Ugay has collaborated with the Albany Symphony, New England Philharmonic, Yale Philharmonia, Raleigh Civic Symphony, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Molinari Quartet, Antico Moderno, Omnibus Ensemble and Paul Neubauer. Her music has been featured at the Aspen, American Composers, New York Electroacoustic Music, June in Buffalo and Darmstadt New Music festivals, as well as the 52nd Venice Biennale. Born in the USSR in what is now Uzbekistan and raised in a Russian-Korean musical family, Liliya combines elements of various cultures in her works while prioritizing harmonic clarity, structural complexity and dramatic completeness. One of Liliya's passions is the music of repressed composers from the Soviet era. She came to the United States as a Woodruff Scholarship recipient to study piano with Alexander Kobrin and composition with Fred Cohen at Columbus State University. She received an MM in composition at the Yale School of Music, where she is currently a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate and Teaching Fellow, studying with Aaron Jay Kernis, Martin Bresnick, Christopher Theofanidis and David Lang.

Dr. Shen Yiwen is a Chinese composer, conductor and pianist. His music has been performed in six continents, and his compositional awards include the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award, Gena Raps String Quartet Award, Arthur Friedman Prize and first prize from SCI/ASCAP Composition Commission. He was the winner of the Minnesota Orchestra's Composer Institute and the Albany Symphony's Composer to Center Stage Competition, and he received two prizes from Chinese national composition competitions. Dr. Shen has been commissioned by Carnegie Hall, the Minnesota Orchestra, American Symphony, Beijing Symphony, Albany Symphony, Juilliard Orchestra and Bard Conservatory Orchestra. His music has also been commissioned and performed by the National Ballet of China, Shanghai Opera House Orchestra, Bowling Green Philharmonic, Aeolus String Quartet, Colorado String Quartet, Da Capo Chamber Players, Music from China Ensemble, TALEA Ensemble, Dal Niente Ensemble and The New York Virtuoso Singers. He was invited to the artist colony Yaddo and has been a composer-in-residence at the Staunton Music Festival. He holds degrees from Bard College and its Conservatory, and Juilliard. His composition mentors are Joan Tower, George Tsontakis, Samuel Adler and Robert Beaser. He is currently studying orchestral conducting with James Ross and José-Luis Novo at University of Maryland, while serving as co-director and conductor of the school's Repertoire Orchestra and assistant conductor of the Symphony Orchestra.

About the Nashville Symphony:
The GRAMMY Award-winning Nashville Symphony has earned an international reputation for its innovative programming and its commitment to performing, recording and commissioning works by America's leading composers. The Nashville Symphony has released 28 recordings on Naxos, which have received 20 GRAMMY nominations and 11 GRAMMY Awards, making it one of the most active recording orchestras in the country. With more than 170 performances annually, the orchestra offers a broad range of classical, pops and jazz, and children's concerts, while its extensive education and community engagement programs reach up to 60,000 children and adults each year.

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