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PHILADELPHIA MUSIC PROJECT PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

New Frontiers in Music: Composer Symposium Thursday, April 26, 2007 Curtis Institute of Music 1726 Locust Street, Philadelphia

To RSVP for this event, please complete the accompanying form and return it by fax to 267 350 4998 no later than Friday, April 20, 2007. For more information, please call 267 350 4960.

Featuring Tristan Murail Roberto Sierra Augusta Read Thomas

PMP convenes a panel of three distinguished composers whose work spans an extraordinary range of musical styles. The leading exponent of “spectral” music, Tristan Murail has invented an original and often disconcertingly strange musical world inspired by the fundamental acoustical properties of sound. It has been said that Roberto Sierra has done for the Aztec, Afro-Cuban, Sephardic Jewish and other folk cultures dear to him what Bartok did for the Eastern European, creating a landscape where the ancient and the modern magically coexist.* Augusta Read Thomas’ work has been described as challenging yet immediate, and is noted for its lyricism and brilliant use of instrumental color.

Moderated by Robert Capanna, composer and Executive Director of Settlement Music School 9:45 to 10:00 am Registration 10:00 am to 12:30 pm Composer Roundtable 12:30 to 1:30 pm Luncheon This event is produced by the Philadelphia Music Project, a program of the Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by The University of the Arts. This event is free and by invitation only.

*From the American Record Guide

The panel will share audio and video recordings of their work, and discuss their influences and approaches to composition. They will also explore practical aspects of composition with topics including: commissioning, publishing, marketing, and career development.


Tristan Murail, born in 1947 at Le Havre, France, received degrees in classical and North African Arabic (at the National School of Oriental Languages) and in economics (at the Paris Institute of Political Science) before turning to composition. A student of Olivier Messiaen, he won the Prix de Rome in 1971 and spent two years at the Villa Médicis. Upon his return to Paris in 1973, he founded the Itinéraire ensemble with a group of young performers and composers, among them Gerard Grisey; the group became widely renowned for its groundbreaking explorations of the relationship between instrumental performance and many aspects of electronics. In the 1980s, Mr. Murail began using computer technology to further his research into acoustic phenomena. This lead him to years of collaboration with the IRCAM, where he directed the composition program from 1991 to 1997 and helped develop the Patchwork composition software. Mr. Murail has also taught at numerous schools and festivals worldwide, including the Darmstadt Ferienkurse, the Abbaye de Royaumont, and the Toho University in Tokyo. Mr. Murail’s works have won many awards and have been widely performed throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, and both Americas. Recent notable works include the orchestral work Le Partage des eaux and the chamber ensemble works Bois flotté, L’Esprit des dunes, and Serendib, which was commissioned by the Ensemble InterContemporain in 1991. These works explore ever-more complex sound objects—whereas earlier pieces had used relatively abstract objects, later works use sources as disparate as Mongolian overtone singing, Tibetan traditional instruments, and even natural sounds such as the noise of water flowing against rocks. Mr. Murail is currently a professor of composition at Columbia University. For more than a decade the works of American composer Roberto Sierra have been part of the repertoire of many of the leading orchestras, ensembles and festivals in the USA and Europe. At the inaugural concert of the 2002 world renowned Proms in London, his Fandangos was performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra in a concert that was broadcast throughout the UK and Europe. Sierra’s numerous commissions include works for many of the major American orchestras as well as ensembles in Europe, including the orchestras of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, New Mexico, Houston, Minnesota, Dallas, Detroit, San Antonio and Phoenix, as well as by the American Composers Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Kronos Quartet, Continuum, England’s BBC Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Tonhalle Orchestra of Zurich, the Spanish orchestras of Galicia, Castilla y León and Barcelona, and at Wolf Trap, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Festival Casals, and France’s Festival de Lille, among others. In 2003 he was awarded the Academy Award in Music by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His Sinfonía No. 1, a work commissioned by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, won the 2004 Kenneth Davenport Competition for Orchestral Works. In 1989 Roberto Sierra became the Composer-in-Residence of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Sierra contributed to the musical life of Milwaukee with a number of new works, including pieces for local chamber and choral ensembles, and for individual musicians. Sierra has also been the Music Alive Composer-In-Residence with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New Mexico Symphony. Roberto Sierra was born in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, and studied composition in Europe, where one of his teachers was György Ligeti at the Hochschule für Musik in Hamburg, Germany. Augusta Read Thomas was the Mead Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from May 1997 through June 2006. She was an assistant then associate professor of composition at the Eastman School of Music from 1993-2001, and from 2001 until 2006 was the Wyatt Professor of Music at Northwestern University. Having recently resigned from her teaching position, she continues her involvement with Northwestern University by serving on the Dean’s Music Advisory Board. Presently, in 2007, Thomas is a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Music in the Division of the Humanities at the University of Chicago. Augusta Thomas has received prizes and awards from the Siemens Foundation in Munich; ASCAP; BMI; the National Endowment for the Arts; the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation; the Koussevitzky Foundation; the Naumburg Foundation; the Fromm Foundation; the Barlow Endowment; Chamber Music America; and the French International Competition of Henri Dutilleux. In 2001 she received the American Academy of Arts and Letters lifetime achievement award, its highest honor for music composition. Upcoming projects include HELIOS CHOROS, a triptych for orchestra commissioned by the Dallas Symphony; HELIOS CHOROS II, co-commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestra; and HELIOS CHOROS III, commissioned by the Orchestra of Paris. Ms. Thomas’s orchestral works have been performed by the Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Seattle Symphony, and the American Composers Orchestra. Augusta Read Thomas studied with Jacob Druckman at Yale University, and with Alan Stout and Bill Karlins at Northwestern University; she also studied at the Royal Academy of Music.


Composer Symposium: Murail, Sierra, Thomas