Composer Institute History

The Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute is an outgrowth of the Orchestra’s Perfect Pitch program, an annual series of new music reading sessions for emerging composers launched during the 1995-96 season in collaboration with the American Composers Forum. These sessions, initially for Minnesota composers only, were later opened to composers from surrounding states. By 2001 the reading sessions developed into a much more extensive program, now called the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute and open to talented emerging composers throughout the country. New Music USA—previously the American Music Center—joined as a program partner to offer participants its invaluable legal and business seminars for composers. Composer Aaron Jay Kernis directed the Institute for its first 11 seasons.

In December 2006 the Orchestra added a public concert of the composers' new works, titled Future Classics and conducted for six seasons by Music Director Osmo Vänskä. Besides preparing for the concert, participating composers attend a week of intensive professional development workshops with orchestral administrators and other national experts in the field, along with advanced musical seminars with the Minnesota Orchestra’s musicians, music director and Composer Institute director—all intended to advance the careers and musical experience of those attending.

Information on past Composer Institutes, including links to biographies, program notes, composer websites, blog postings and Minnesota Public Radio features, is provided below. Click here to view a complete list (PDF) of Composer Institute and Perfect Pitch participants since the program’s inception.


2016-17 Composer Institute: January 30 to February 3, 2017

KATHERINE BALCH Leaf Catalogue
MICHAEL BOYMAN Tightrope Walker
JUDY BOZONE Spilled Orange
MICHAEL-THOMAS FOUMAI Music from the Castle of Heaven
TONIA KO Strange Sounds and Explosions Worldwide
PHIL TAYLOR
Chiaroscuro
CONRAD WINSLOW Old Motion Parade

Composer biographies and program notes

Composer Institute participant Tonia Ko's blog
Read composer Tonia Ko's daily blog reports from the 2015-16 Composer Institute.
Post 1 | Post 2 | Post 3


2015-16 Composer Institute: January 25 to 30, 2016

KIRSTEN BROBERG Celestial Dawning
MATTHEW BROWNE Barnstorming Season
JOSHUA CERDENIA Magayon
EMILY COOLEY Scroll of the Air
NICK DiBERARDINO Asphodel
MICHAEL GILBERTSON
Sinfonia After Vivaldi
ANTHONY VINE Transmission

Composer biographies and program notes

Composer Institute participant Emily Cooley's blog
Read composer Emily Cooley's daily blog reports from the 2015-16 Composer Institute.
Post 1 | Post 2 | Post 3


2014-15 Composer Institute: January 12 to 16, 2015


2011-12 Composer Institute: January 2 to 7, 2012

BRIAN CIACH Collective Uncommon, Seven Orchestral Studies on Medical Oddities
MICHAEL R. HOLLOWAY Rhythm: Theta Beta Theta
ADRIAN KNIGHT Manchester
HANNAH LASH  God Music Bug Music
ANDREIA PINTO-CORREIA Xántara
SHEN YIWEN  First Orchestral Essay

Composer biographies and program notes

Composer Institute participant Hannah Lash's blog
Read composer Hannah Lash's daily blog reports from the 2011-12 Composer Institute, posted on NewMusicBox.org.
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4


2010-11 Composer Institute: October 24 to 30, 2010

TAYLOR BRIZENDINE Mandragora Officinarum
WANG JIE Symphony No. 1
POLINA NAZAYKINSKAYA Winter Bells
CLINT NEEDHAM The Body Electric
BEN PHELPS Overture Maximus
NARONG PRANGCHAROEN Namaskar
DAVID WEAVER Mutatis Mutandis

Composer biographies and program notes

Composer Institute participant Taylor Brizendine's blog
Read composer Taylor Brizendine's daily blog reports from the 2010-11 Composer Institute, posted on NewMusicBox.org.
Introduction | Days 1 & 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Days 5 & 6


2009-10 Composer Institute: November 17 to 22, 2009

ANGEL LAM In Search of Seasons
SPENCER TOPEL Incendio
ROGER ZARE Aerodynamics
FERNANDO BUIDE Antiphones
KATHRYN SALFELDER Dessin No. 1
CARL SCHIMMEL Woolgatherer’s Chapbook
GEOFF KNORR Shadows of the Infinite

Composer biographies and program notes

Composer Institute participant Spencer Topel's blog
Read composer Spencer Topel's daily blog reports from the 2009-10 Composer Institute, posted on NewMusicBox.org.
Introduction Part 1 & Part 2 | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5


2008-09 Composer Institute: November 1 to 8, 2008

TED HEARNE  Patriot
ANTONIO CARLOS DeFEO Four Portraits: por los ojos de los niños
ANDREW McMANUS  Identity
MING-HSIU YEN  Yun
WANG LU  Wailing
DAVID SCHNEIDER  Automation
JUSTIN MERRITT  River of Blood

Composer biographies and program notes

Composer Institute participant Ted Hearne's blog
Read composer Ted Hearne's daily blog reports from the 2008-09 Composer Institute, posted on NewMusicBox.org.
Introduction | Post 1 | Post 2 | Post 3

Composer Institute participant Justin Merritt's blog
Read composer Justin Merritt's daily blog reports from the 2008-09 Composer Institute, posted on NewMusicBox.org.
Introduction | Post 1 | Post 2 | Post 3 | Post 4


2007-08 Composer Institute: October 20 to 27, 2007

TREVOR GURECKIS  Very Large Array
WES MATTHEWS Terraces
DANIEL BRADSHAW Chaconne
ELLIOTT MILES McKINLEY Four Moments for Grand Orchestra: A "Pocket" Symphony
XI WANG Above Light—a conversation with Toru Takemitsu
STEPHEN WILCOX  Cho-Han
JACOB COOPER Odradek

Composer biographies and program notes

Minnesota Public Radio feature
Click here for Melissa Ousley’s Composer Institute coverage throughout the week. See four audio links on the right side for features with hosts Steve Staruch and John Birge.

Composer Institute participant Jacob Cooper's blog
Read composer Jacob Cooper's daily blog reports from the 2007-08 Composer Institute, posted on NewMusicBox.org.
Days 1 & 2 | Day 3 | Days 4 & 5 | Day 6 | Day 7


2006-07 Composer Institute: November 26 to December 2, 2006

These Worlds in Us
Diaphony
ASHLEY NAIL
...At the end of the tunnel
La tristesse durera
Toccata for Orchestra
Tango Loops 2B
Black Bend
GARRETT BYRNES Solace
rewind

Composer biographies

Minnesota Public Radio feature
Click here to listen to Tom Crann's interview of Nov-Dec 2006 Composer Institute participant Ashley Nail, featured on All Things Considered.

Composer Institute participant Missy Mazzoli's blog
Read composer Missy Mazzoli's daily blog reports from the 2006-07 Composer Institute, posted on NewMusicBox.org.
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Days 4 & 5 | Final Posting


2005-06 Composer Institute: May 6-11, 2006

Sunder
Liquid Song
Hubble Space Telescope Views
Surreal Abundance
Estampie
surface tension
REYNOLD THARP
Cold Horizon
The Palace of Nine Perfections

Composer Institute participant Sean Shepherd's blog
Read composer Sean Shepherd's daily blog reports from the 2005-06 Composer Institute, posted on NewMusicBox.org.
Introduction | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Final Posting


2004-05 Composer Institute: October 27-30, 2004

Mood Swing
Aqua
Sacred Geometry
JOHN CHRISTIAN ORFE
Strateia
Classical Walpurgis Night
Subtle Electric Fire
Push

Minnesota Public Radio feature
Click here to listen to Minnesota Public Radio's 2004 radio documentary about the Composer Institute by Chris Roberts, featured on All Things Considered and State of the Arts.


2003-04 Composer Institute: May 1-4, 2004

Electric Traction
Electric Lines
Symphony No. 1
WILLIAM A. WARE
Das Juengste Kind
Elements 4
Voyage to the Sun
Entropy

2002-03 Composer Institute: October 25-31, 2002

Canti Arioso
Sound, Asleep
LU PEI
Rhapsody No. 1, Dance of the Dragon
Love Unlimited
ERICH STEM
Escape
Subtleties Lost, Prelude and Fugue for Orchestra
Beatitudes
Xylem

2001-02 Composer Institute: March 9-14, 2002

Symphony No. 1
Roam
Serendipitous Scenes
Shadow
The Whispering Wind
KEITH MURPHY
Amok
STEPHAN PROCK
Garden Varieties, Four Dance Vignettes
Canter into Black

Click here to view a complete list (PDF) of Composer Institute and Perfect Pitch participants since the program's inception.

Composer Institute

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.

The 15th annual Composer Institute will be held from November 6 to 10, 2017, culminating in a public Future Classics concert on November 10, led by Music Director Osmo Vänskä. Click here to download the 2017-18 Composer Institute and Future Classics concert program, and click here to read the press release announcing the 2017 Composer Institute participants.


2017-18 Composer Institute: November 6 to 10, 2017

SAAD HADDAD
Los Angeles, California
Takht
ANDREW HSU
Fremont, California
vale
CHARLES PECK
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Mosaic
HILARY PURRINGTON
New Haven, Connecticut
Likely Pictures in Haphazard Sky
DANIEL SCHLOSBERG
Brooklyn, New York
Small Talk
PETER S. SHIN
Kansas City, Missouri
Relapse
NINA C. YOUNG
New York, New York
Agnosco Veteris

Click here for tickets to the Future Classics concert on November 10, 2017.

Click here to read the November 2017 Composer Institute and Future Classics program.

Click here to read the press release announcing the 2017 Composer Institute participants.


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 November 2017 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute is generously sponsored by The Amphion Foundation, the American Composers Forum, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and Hella Mears Hueg.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

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

American Composers Forum