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Osmo Vänskä /// Music Director

Composer Institute

2015 Composer Institute Participants

The Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, co-presented each season by the Minnesota Orchestra and American Composers Forum and directed by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts, provides the opportunity for emerging symphonic composers from across the nation to participate in an intensive immersion into the world of a major American symphony orchestra.

Apply for the 2017 Composer Institute (pdf)


The 13th annual Composer Institute was held the week of January 25, 2016, and culminated in a public Future Classics concert on January 29, led by Music Director Osmo Vänskä. Download 2016 Program Book (pdf).

Photo gallery from the 2016 Future Classics concert »

The 2016 Composer Institute Participants:


Kristen Broberg

Kirsten Broberg’s music has been performed by internationally-recognized ensembles such as the Kronos Quartet, Chicago Symphony Orchestra MusicNOW Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble, New York New Music Ensemble, Jack Quartet, New Millennium Orchestra, Sonic Inertia Dance and Performance Group, Third Coast Percussion, Ensemble Dal Niente, University of Minnesota Symphony Orchestra and St. Olaf Philharmonia. Her music has been heard at music festivals from New York to Chicago to Edinburgh, Britain. She has received composing honors from Harvard University, the American Composers Forum, Cincinnati Conservatory and the University of Minnesota. Originally from White Bear Lake, Minnesota, she holds degrees from Concordia College in Moorhead, the University of Minnesota, and Northwestern University in Chicago, where she was a student of Augusta Read Thomas, Jay Alan Yim and Jason Eckardt. She has also studied music composition privately with Kaija Saariaho, Tristan Murail and Philippe Hurel. She is currently an assistant professor in music composition at the College of Music at University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. More: kirstenbroberg.com.


Matthew Browne

Matthew Browne’s music has been described as “compelling” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) and “beautifully crafted and considered” (What’s On London). He has recently received honors such as a BMI Student Composer Award (2015) and an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers award (2014). He was the winner of the New England Philharmonic Call for Scores in 2014, and in 2013 he was a participant in the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s First Annual Composers Institute. He is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor. His past teachers include Michael Daugherty and Kristin Kuster. More: matthewbrownecomposer.com.


Joshua Cerdenia

The music of Joshua Cerdenia is strongly driven by dramatic narrative, often gleaned from extra-musical sources. Committed to making a distinctly Filipino contribution to the global repertoire of 21st-century concert music, he has recently focused on creating works inspired by Filipino and Asian themes. His music—spanning chamber, vocal, and orchestral works—has been performed across Southeast Asia and in the United States by ensembles including the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble TIMF in Korea, and the Lunar Ensemble in Baltimore. His forthcoming projects include a new work inspired by Filipino painter Juan Luna’s Spoliarium for the New Juilliard Ensemble. Born and raised in the Philippines and currently residing in New York City, Cerdenia holds a bachelor’s degree in composition jointly awarded by the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music at the National University of Singapore and the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. He is currently completing his master’s degree at the Juilliard School. More: joshuacerdenia.com.


Emily Cooley

Emily Cooley composes orchestral, chamber and vocal music that ranges from delicate intensity to a pulsing, energetic sound. She has received commissions and performances from ensembles such as the Louisville Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Berkeley Symphony, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Sioux City Symphony Orchestra, Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, JACK Quartet, Fifth House Ensemble and Music from Copland House. Her music has received additional awards and recognition from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, American Composers Orchestra, Tribeca New Music, ASCAP, the Renée B. Fisher Foundation and the LA Phil National Composers Intensive, among other organizations. A native of Milwaukee, she is a recent graduate of the USC Thornton School of Music and Yale University. Her teachers have included David Ludwig, Stephen Hartke, Donald Crockett, Andrew Norman, Kathryn Alexander and John K. Boyle. She currently studies with Jennifer Higdon at the Curtis Institute of Music. More: emilycooley.com.


Nick DiBerardino

Nick DiBerardino’s music is diverse in style, but always oriented toward meaningful narrative arcs. His work has received recognition from many institutions, including ASCAP. He is also an active film composer, having recently scored an award-winning adaptation of Jon Klassen’s book This is Not My Hat. A Rhodes Scholar, he earned his bachelor’s degree at Princeton University, where he founded the Undergraduate Composers Collective. At the University of Oxford, he obtained a master’s degree with distinction, and co-founded and chaired the Oxford Laptop Orchestra. He also holds a master’s degree from the Yale School of Music, and he is now pursuing a post-baccalaureate diploma at the Curtis Institute of Music. A passionate advocate for new music, he has spoken to listeners both at home and abroad, via outlets ranging from BBC Radio Oxford and London’s Barbican Theatre to a televised conversation about the arts in Westport, Connecticut. He also served as co-founder of “Back in Tune,” an initiative to provide underserved students in Bridgeport, Connecticut, with musical instruction and to collect, refurbish, and distribute used instruments on their behalf. More: nickdiberardino.com.


Michael Gilbertson

The works of Michael Gilbertson earned praise from such major outlets as The New York Times, the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post. He studied at the Juilliard School with John Corigliano and Christopher Rouse, and at the Yale School of Music with Martin Bresnick, Christopher Theofanidis, and Aaron Jay Kernis. His works have been performed by the Pittsburgh Symphony, Juilliard Orchestra, Washington National Opera, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony, Symphony in C, New England Philharmonic, Cheyenne Symphony, Yale Philharmonia, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, and professional choirs including Musica Sacra, The Crossing, and The Esoterics.

Gilbertson’s music has earned five Morton Gould Awards, a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a BMI Student Composer Award. His music can be heard in the 2006 documentary Rehearsing a Dream, which was nominated for an Academy Award. His published music includes choral works with Boosey & Hawkes and G. Schirmer. He has composed five ballets, including commissions from the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and the New York Choreographic Institute. He serves as artistic director of ChamberFest Dubuque, an annual summer music festival he founded in 2009 in his hometown of Dubuque, Iowa. He has also served on the faculties of the Walden School, the Educational Center for the Arts and the Northeast Iowa School of Music, and as a lecturer at the Yale School of Music. More: michaelgilbertson.net.


Anthony Vine

Brooklyn-based composer and guitarist Anthony Vine conceptualizes music through a sculptural lens: treating sound as a moldable, physical object. Many of his compositions are influenced by visual artists and choreographers including Agnes Martin, Maguy Marin, and Rika Noguchi. His collaborations include performances by Yarn/Wire, Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble SurPlus, Trio Surplus, Bozzini Quartet, Ensemble Modelo62, Bearthoven, and the Illinois Modern Ensemble, among others. He has attended summer courses and residencies including the Schloss Solitude Summer Academy, Mizzou International Composers Festival and EtM Con Edison Composers Residency. His awards and honors include a 2015 Jerome Fund for New Music award, 2015 Salvatore Martirano Memorial Composition Award (2nd prize), NPR/Q2 Radio Top Composers under 40, and the 2010 and 2009 Ruth Friscoe Composition Prizes; he is also a nominee for the 2016 Gaudeamus Award. He holds degrees from the University of Washington and the Ohio State University, and studied with Huck Hodge and Thomas Wells. More: anthonyvine.com.


More about the Composer Institute

The Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute is unique in the nation in its combination of orchestral rehearsals, public performance and numerous targeted workshops, with music industry leaders speaking on musical, career, business and professional development issues. The Institute nurtures the participants’ musical acumen and broadens their career management skills, assisting in their growth as artists and community leaders. Seminar topics include many not offered elsewhere, including advanced instrumental and orchestral writing, copyrights, commissioning, licensing, publishing, promotion, music preparation, public speaking, working with conductors and union orchestras, community residencies, CD and media production, and working in educational settings, among others.

“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 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.


About the Composer Institute's leaders and seminar faculty

In June 2014 the Orchestra announced that Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts has been appointed director of the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute. The Composer Institute was founded in 2002 by the Orchestra and composer Aaron Jay Kernis, who directed the program for its first 11 seasons. Music Director Osmo Vänskä oversaw the program’s expansion in 2006 to include a public “Future Classics” performance of works by Composer Institute participants, which he conducts annually. The Institute’s past seminar faculty have included such industry leaders as American Composers Forum president and CEO John Nuechterlein; Ed Harsh, president of New Music USA; composer and music engraving expert William Holab of Bill Holab Music; attorney James M. Kendrick; composer advocate Frank J. Oteri of New Music USA; composers Stephen Paulus, Alex Shapiro and Steven Stucky; and numerous musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra.


The 2016 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute is generously sponsored by The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, The Amphion Foundation, Inc., Hella Mears Hueg and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

We gratefully acknowledge the American Composers Forum as our partner in presenting the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute.

American Composers Forum