Award winners and the groups co-sponsoring their commissions are Lei Liang and Art of Élan for the Formosa Quartet; Colin Matthews and the London Sinfonietta; Bent Sørensen and Quattro Mani; Dan Visconti and the California Symphony Orchestra; and Nina C. Young and The Nouveau Classical Project.
In addition, a special commission was awarded this past year to renowned composer Gunther Schuller, who completed the song-cycle “Singing Poems,” co-commissioned by the Boston ensemble Collage New Music, shortly before his death in June 2015.
Serge Koussevitzky, conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1924 to 1949, was a champion of contemporary music. Throughout his distinguished career, he played a vital role in the creation of new works by commissioning such composers as Béla Bartók, Leonard Bernstein and Igor Stravinsky. He established the Koussevitzky Foundation in the Library to continue his lifelong commitment to composers and new music. Applications for commissions are accepted annually.
The Koussevitzky commissioning program is designed primarily for established composers who have demonstrated considerable merit through their works and for orchestras and chamber groups that have a record of excellence in the performance of contemporary music. For more information, visit www.Koussevitzky.org.
Lei Liang is a Chinese-born American composer who serves as chair of music composition at the University of California, San Diego. Following studies at the New England Conservatory and at Harvard University, he embarked on a distinguished teaching career and became active as a scholar devoted to the research and preservation of traditional Asian music. He is a recipient of the prestigious Rome Prize and has been commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and the Taipei Chinese Orchestra. His new string quartet will feature the composer’s recent research into folk songs, many of which have been important to him since childhood.
Colin Matthews’ new commission for the London Sinfonietta will celebrate the ensemble’s 50th anniversary. Over many years, music by the London-born Matthews has been commissioned and featured by Britain’s leading performing groups, including the London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Hallé Orchestra and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, as well as by ensembles from around the world. Matthews is active as administrator of the Holst Foundation, chair of the Benjamin Britten Estate and founder-trustee of the Britten-Pears Foundation. He is special professor at Nottingham University and serves as Prince Consort Professor of Music at the Royal College of Music. Matthews was appointed to the Order of the British Empire in 2011.
Bent Sørensen is professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in his native country, as well as a visiting professor of composition at London’s Royal Academy of Music. Sørensen collaborated with playwright Peter Asmussen on an opera commission from the Royal Danish Theatre and a large-scale orchestra work for the Bergen International Festival, which has been an outlet for several other works by the celebrated composer. He received the Nordic Council Music Prize for his violin concerto and the Willhelm Hansen Composer Prize. His new commission will turn to the performing forces of two pianos for the duo Quattro Mani.
Dan Visconti will write a concerto for guitar and orchestra for the California Symphony, where he is composer-in-residence. Visconti studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Yale School of Music. He received the Rome Prize and Berlin Prize, among others. Active as a writer, Visconti contributes to the Huffington Post and since 2008 has written a weekly column for NewMusicBox, the web magazine of the American Music Center. He was awarded a 2014 TED Fellowship and delivered a TED talk in Vancouver.
Nina C. Young is a New-York-based composer, where, as a doctoral student, she teaches in the Columbia University Computer Music Center. Recent commissions include works for the American Composers Orchestra Underground, the Metropolis Ensemble and the Divertimento Ensemble. In addition to concert music, Young writes for theater, dance and film. Her commission for The Nouveau Classical Project will be scored for vocal forces and mixed chamber ensemble.