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  • WDCH
  • Sep. 26, 2002
  • A Collaboration Between the Los Angeles Philharmonic,
    the American Symphony Orchestra League, the American Music Center, and the USC Flora L. Thornton School of Music

    Eight musicians - four composers and four conductors - have been selected to participate in the Los Angeles Philharmonic presentation of Synergy: Composer and Conductor, a five-day intensive workshop. Synergy is a collaboration with the American Symphony Orchestra League, American Music Center (AMC), and the University of Southern California Flora L. Thornton School of Music. This one-of-a-kind partnership is designed to highlight the unique relationships that can exist between composers and conductors, and to illustrate the meaningful bond which can enrich both artists through their work together. The workshop includes a public performance on September 26 at 7:00 p.m. in USC's Bing Theatre. Admission: $18 general, $12 students, seniors and USC alumni, free with USC ID. Tickets: 213.740.4672.

    Synergy composers are Mason Bates (Oakland, CA); Steven Burke (New York, NY); Carlos Carrillo-Cotto (Chestnut Ridge, NY); and Naomi Sekiya (Los Angeles, CA). Conductors are James Gaffigan (Houston, TX), Sarah Ioannides (New York, NY), Scott O'Neil (Salt Lake City, UT), and Alastair Willis (Seattle, WA).

    Participants were selected through competitive application. The League and AMC implemented preliminary screenings with independent panels of music professionals, with final decisions being made by Esa-Pekka Salonen. Conducting applicants were expected to have some professional experience, but to be still in the early stages of their careers. Composers should have demonstrated orchestral technique but not have a significant number of professional orchestral performances. Undergraduate students were not eligible, but graduate and post-graduate students were encouraged to apply. There was no age restriction.

    During the workshops, which take place from September 22-27, 2002 on the USC campus, each of the four conductors rehearse and perform an existing work by one of the four composers with an orchestra comprised of musicians from the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the USC Thornton Symphony. The faculty for the workshops includes Philharmonic Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, who provides coaching and guidance; Philharmonic Associate Conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya; Philharmonic Consulting Composer for New Music Steven Stucky; and selected Philharmonic musicians and staff. In addition, staff from the partner groups lead a professional development curriculum. The week culminates with a live concert performance of the participants' work on September 26. Partial funding for this project was provided by The Geraldine C. and Emory M. Ford Foundation.

    Designed to foster relationships between young conductors and composers and to grant them valuable working time with a full symphony orchestra that includes professional musicians, the Synergy workshops were conceived by the League and Los Angeles Philharmonic Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen. Salonen himself initially turned to conducting in order to hear his own works performed, and the result of being successful at both has helped him recognize the importance of developing collaborations across the two disciplines.

    Composer MASON BATES is a Ph.D. candidate at UC Berkeley, having received his B.A. and M.M. from Columbia College and The Juilliard School in New York. He has been a Fellow in Composition at the Tanglewood Music Center and Aspen Music festival, where he was awarded the Jacob Druckman Prize for his Free Variations for Orchestra. Bates received both a Scholarship and Fellowship at the Academy of Arts and Letters and has received commissions for works by the Koussevitzky Foundation, Young Concert Artists, and the Phoenix Symphony.

    STEVEN BURKE, of New York, NY, has received numerous honors for his compositions, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He studied at Sarah Lawrence College, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Yale University, and Cornell, and was awarded the first White Flowers Residency from Yaddo. His music has been performed by the Seattle Symphony and Ensemble X. Upcoming performances include works with the Albany Symphony, St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble, Rascher Saxophone Quartet, and the National Symphony Orchestra. Burke is on the faculty of Sarah Lawrence College.

    Composer CARLOS CARRILLO-COTTO is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his training at the Eastman School of Music and Yale University, and last year was awarded the American Composers Orchestra Composer Fellowship. Carrillo-Cotto has received commissions from the Concert Artists Guild, Music at the Anthology, the New York Youth Symphony, and the Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association, and has earned honors from ASCAP, BMI, and the Academy of Arts and Letters. He resides in Chestnut Ridge, NY.

    JAMES GAFFIGAN is a native of New York City and currently a graduate conducting student at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. This summer, he returns to the Aspen Music Festival and School as the first recipient of the Robert Harth Conducting Award. He will make his debut with The Cleveland Orchestra in August 2002 at the Kent/Blossom Festival, in a joint program with David Zinman. Mr. Gaffigan graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.

    SARAH IOANNIDES was recently appointed Assistant Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. She is also associate conductor to composer Tan Dun, as well as Principal Guest Conductor for the Oxford University Chamber Orchestra. Born in Australia, she earned her M.A. at Oxford University, and subsequently attend The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, and New York's Juilliard School. Ms. Ioannides has worked as assistant conductor at Covent Garden and the Evian and Spoleto festivals, as well as with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and London Sinfonietta.

    SCOTT O'NEIL is currently serving as Associate Conductor of the Utah Symphony Orchestra, having been recently promoted from Assistant Conductor there. He attended the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Eastman School of Music, receiving his MA from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. He has appeared as guest conductor with the Houston and Utah symphonies, the Florida and Tulsa philharmonics, and the Portland (ME) Symphony.

    Los Angeles native NAOMI SEKIYA is a doctorate student at USC, having received her MM there, and a BM and MA at UCLA. Sekiya has been awarded prizes at the Witold Lutoslawski, Dmitri Mitropoulos, and Michele Pittaluga International Competitions, and was honored with the Ojai Music Festival Award in 2000. Her works have been performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Women's Philharmonic, and Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, among others.

    ALASTAIR WILLIS has been the Assistant Conductor of the Seattle Symphony since September 2000. Previously, he served as Assistant Conductor with the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops, and was Music Director of the Cincinnati Youth Orchestra. Mr. Willis has conducted the Chicago, Seattle, Detroit and Indianapolis symphonies, as well as the orchestras of San Antonio and Knoxville.

    ESA-PEKKA SALONEN, the tenth conductor to head the Los Angeles Philharmonic, began his tenure as Music Director in October 1992. Salonen made his American debut conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic in November 1984, and he has conducted the orchestra every season since. Among the many highlights of Salonen's activities with the Philharmonic have been world premieres of new works by composers John Adams, Bernard Rands, Rodion Shchedrin, Steven Stucky, and Salonen himself, well-received Ligeti and Stravinsky Festivals, appearances at the Ojai Festival, seven critically acclaimed international tours since 1992, and his extensive discography with the orchestra for Sony Classical. Salonen was born in Helsinki, Finland in 1958. He made his conducting debut with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in 1979, and he has been one of the world's most sought-after conductors since his debut in London with the Philharmonia Orchestra in September 1983. He served as principal guest conductor of the Philharmonia from 1985 to 1994 and as principal conductor of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1985 to 1995.

    Each year since its founding in 1919, the Los Angeles Philharmonic has been hailed as Southern California's leading performing arts institution. Today, under the dynamic leadership of Esa-Pekka Salonen, who became the orchestra's tenth music director in 1992, the Philharmonic is recognized as one of the world's outstanding orchestras. Both at home and abroad it has, as the Berliner Zeitung stated, "...proved that it belongs among the best in the United States." This is a view shared by the more than one million Southern Californians who experience performances by the Los Angeles Philharmonic each year. There is a 30-week winter subscription season at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and a 12-week summer festival at the legendary Hollywood Bowl, where "Music Under the Stars" has been a popular tradition since 1922. But the orchestra's involvement with Los Angeles extends far beyond regular symphony concerts in a concert hall. It embraces the schools, churches, and neighborhood centers of a huge and vastly diverse community. In fact, the Los Angeles Philharmonic devotes much of its energy and resources to ensuring that its presence is felt in every corner of Los Angeles.

    The American Symphony Orchestra League provides leadership and service to American orchestras while communicating to the public the value and importance of orchestras and the music they perform. Founded in 1942 and chartered by Congress in 1962, the League serves more than 850 member symphony, chamber, youth, and collegiate orchestras of all sizes. The League links a national network of thousands of musicians, conductors, managers, board members, volunteers, staff members, and business partners, providing a wealth of services, information, and educational opportunities to its members. Membership in the League is open to orchestras, individuals, students, other arts organizations and non-profits, businesses serving orchestras, volunteer associations, libraries, and career centers.

    The American Music Center is a national service and information center for new music. For more than 60 years the AMC has been a leader in the creation of a variety of innovative new programs and services including:, an award-winning monthly internet magazine for new American music; a series of Professional Development Workshops presented across America; and the monthly Opportunity Update, a listing of opportunities including calls for scores, competitions, and other new music performance information. Each year, AMC's Information Services Program fields over 35,000 requests concerning composers, performers, data, funding, and support programs. The AMC awards over $1.5 million annually through its grantmaking programs including the Copying Assistance Program, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music programs, and the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust's Live Music for Dance Program.

    The USC Flora L. Thornton School of Music brings together a distinguished faculty of world-renowned teachers and musically gifted students from around the globe. It is in this wonderfully diverse cultural milieu that students are offered instruction in virtually all professional and scholarly branches of music, including instrumental performance, voice, opera, composition, scoring for motion pictures and television, choral and sacred music, music education, jazz studies, early music performance, recording arts and music industry. The Thornton School is consistently rated among the top 1% of the nation's music schools and conservatories. In addition, the School produces more than 500 concerts annually on the University Park campus and in venues throughout Southern California.

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  • Contact:

    Elizabeth Hinckley, (323) 850-2047; Rachelle Roe, (323) 850-2032