Composer Updates November 2017 Edition
We feel so fortunate to we've had the opportunity to get to know 42 composers through the FNMC Composition Contest between 2014 and 2016. This year, we’ll add nine new (and two returning) composers to the group. We’ve been able to feature 38 of the 42 in composer spotlights and we’ll begin featuring the 2017 composer very soon!
But, of course, their work doesn’t stop with their first composer spotlight! They are a very productive group of individuals and we thought it would be a great idea to check in with them and share their major activities since we featured them. Today, we share the first round of composer updates. We’re sure you’ll also be pleased to see that they are busy and achieving great success (and producing more works for flute!) There are lots of premieres, recordings, awards, new positions, and other exciting projects!
Oliver Caplan (Finalist 2014, My Elephant Cloud for Pierrot ensemble)
Oliver was recently appointed the Artistic Director of Juventas New Music Ensemble, a Boston-based ensemble which focuses on supporting the work of emerging composers. The Juventas New Music Ensemble also sponsors the Boston New Music Festival. A new album of his works, entitled You Are Not Alone, will be released December 12. The album includes several chamber works: Connect All. We All Connect for soprano, horn, and piano, Love Letters for flute, clarinet, 2 violins, viola, and cello, To the Sea for 2 violins, viola, and cello, and You Are Not Alone for violin, cello, and piano.
Nicole Chamberlain (second place 2014 French Quarter for flute quartet, honorable mention 2016 for Asphyxia for flute alone, finalist 2016 for Orion’s Belt for flute trio and Three Nine Line for flute and piano)
Nicole is very excited to announce the release of an album of her flute music through MSR Classics in January 2018. The album features flutists Matthew Angelo, Nicole herself (she is a flutist and composer!) and Dr. Mary Matthews (an FNMC member!) and pianist Jessica Niles. The album will include FNMC awarded pieces Asphyxia, Three-Nine Line, and Mintaka from Orion's Belt.
Her compositions have received several awards including:
She has several new commissions that will be premiered and made available by next year:
1. Death Whistle for solo piccolo commissioned by FNMC Vice-President Dr. Elizabeth Robinson
2. Acrophobia for flute/picc, flute, and soprano saxophone commissioned by FNMC member flutist Dr. Mary Matthews, flutist Matthew Angelo, and saxophonist Alyssa Hoffert.
2. Flute, Horn, and piano work commissioned by The Kitchen Sync (FNMC member Dr. Katherine Isbell Emeneth)
3. Contrabass flute work commissioned by Beth Devlin
4. Flute and Clarinet work commissioned by PM Woodwind Project
5. Solo Alto Flute work commissioned by Kelly Mollnow Wilson
6. Flute Choir Work commissioned by Charter Oak Flute Choir of Connecticut
7. Another HUGE work including flute soloists with string orchestra is a done deal, just waiting for signed contract before I can go public.
She also recently released several pieces for publication including: Capsaicin for two flutes and cello, Unity for solo flute, and Shenanigans for flute, clarinet, and bassoon.
Andrew Davis (finalist 2015, What’s Next for flute, bassoon, and piano)
Andrew shared with us that he has recently completed a new piece for orchestra entitled, Seek. You can listen to the entire work on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/andrewdavis33/seek. Seek features a significant piccolo solo which is really beautiful! He expertly employs the lower and mid-range of the piccolo, which is such a wonderful color and one we don't often get to hear in the context of the orchestra due to scoring challenges.
Paul Elwood (finalist 2014 Marfa Lights for flute duo (doubling piccolo and alto flute)
Like many of the other composers Paul has been busy writing new works, which have been premiered all around the word! Several of the works have also been recorded and will be available on commercially released discs in the next year.
Paul also has upcoming performances and lectures scheduled at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand (Nov. 20-24) and at the Universiti Teknologi MARA in Malaysia (Nov. 25-28).
Charles Halka (honorable mention, chamber music 2016 Por la Fuerza las Tierras for Pierrot ensemble)
Charles’ Por la Fuerza las Tierras (HM 2016) is achieving wide acclaim! It was also named the winner of Division 1 of the 2017 Young Composer Competition. It has been performed all over the United States this fall including:
The Odessa Philharmonic will perform Scherzo, for orchestra, alongside works by Stravinsky and Ukrainian composer Bohdana Frolyak on November 17, 2017 in Odessa, Ukraine at Philharmonic Hall, 7:00pm.
John Moody (honorable mention newly composed category 2016, Tutti Frutti for two Virtuoso Flutti)
John was so inspired by the success and support of Tutti Frutti that he’s decided to write another work for flute! He’s currently working on a five movement piece with the current title of Canzoni for Flute and Piano. He reports that it is different in style from Tutti Frutti, but we’re sure that we will love it too! He also recently completed a new work for orchestra, entitled Eclipse.
Xingzimin Pan (honorable mention 2014 for Kaidan for flute and piano)
Xing has been focusing on choral composition. His works are being widely performed in his native country of China as well as in the US, where he has lived for many years. He is currently a PHD candidate at in music composition the University of Utah. He shared some of his recent accomplishments with us!
Dandelion, for Children’s Choir, published by Fudan University Publishing House
The newly published choral work Dandelion has been performed frequently in different cities China, as well as the US, Hungary, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Future performances will be held in Canada, Poland and Taiwan within the next two years.
Bekah Simms (winner Newly Composed category in 2015 for a relic of adolescent heat for flute, cello, and piano)
Bekah was awarded the Canadian Music Centre's Toronto Emerging Composers Award in 2017, valued at $6000, it's one of the more substantial awards in the country for composition. She was also featured in Musicworks Magazine:https://www.musicworks.ca/sound-bite/bekah-simms’-music-discomfort. Bekah was also selected, through member vote, as the commissioned composer for the first FNMC Flute Artist competition. Her new work for flute and pre-recorded sound, Skinscapes, will be performed by all of the finalists on March 3, 2017.
Asha Srinivasan (winner 2014 for Dviraag for flute and cello)
Asha is pleased to announce a newly commissioned work by Pan Pacific Ensemble. The work will be recorded in January and released on Albany Records. We look forward to hearing it!
Dana Wilson (winner 2016 for The Conjurer for solo flute and chamber wind ensemble)
Dana limited his update to news about his flute and piccolo works. Fortunately, there’s a lot of good news to share! (The Conjurer was performed by Wendy Mehne at the NFA convention this past August. He has also produced a piano reduction that is now available for purchase and performance! There is also a recording available of Conjurer!
FNMC member Christie Beard performed his piece for piccolo and piano entitled, Whispers from another time, at the NFA convention and a recording is in the works! It’s a really lovely work we’re sure our many piccolo playing members will want to check out!
He’s also pleased to share that there is a transcription of his and longing to be the singing master of my soul, originally for flute and piano, for flute and harp; there’s also now a piccolo version of the work. The flute and harp version will be recorded in the spring.
Thank you to all of the composers for sharing these updates. We love to hear about their successes and look forward to hearing (and playing) their works!
Get to Know...Charles Halka
Charles Halka’s work for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano, Por las Fuerza las Tierras, received a lot of recognition last year. It earned an Honorable Mention in the Chamber Music Category of the 2016 FNMC Composition Contest and was the winning piece in this year’s Tribeca New Music’s Young Composer Competition. We are excited that the first performance by an FNMC member will occur on Saturday April 29th when John Ross performs it in Tallahassee, Florida. We look forward to more performances in the near future.
Q&A with Charles…
What about new music for the flute appeals to you?
The sheer amount of good and unique new music for flute is overwhelming, partly because of the flexibility of the instrument in terms of color, character, and virtuosity, but also because flutists are some of the most enthusiastic performers of new music. I think these are the reasons why composers keep writing such good music for flute - there's such a rich palette to explore and plenty of performers eager to accompany them into risky or uncharted territory. Every flutist I know is an adventurous and thoughtful performer, so it's the ideal collaborative experience when writing new music for flute.
Describe your musical background and current activities.
I came to composition a little later than many composers do nowadays, but I'm grateful for some pretty diverse musical experiences throughout school and into college (Peabody Conservatory), where I was a piano performance major before pursuing graduate degrees in composition (both at Peabody and at Rice University). Having been involved in classical music as well as jazz and popular music really helped develop my intuition as a composer and performer, but my interest (though certainly not expertise) in electronic music, graphic design, and other literary and visual art informs a good deal of my compositional plans and decisions. My current activities include teaching composition, orchestration, theory, and ear-training at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where I also co-direct our new-music concert series, and I just finished (March 2017) a new work for dance that will be performed next month in Houston.
Do you have any upcoming events that you would like our friends and followers to know about?
I'm really excited about an upcoming performance in Boston of "Potato Face Blind Man," a piece for voice and mixed chamber ensemble (including flute) I was commissioned to write last year. Callithumpian Consort will perform it on April 20 at New England Conservatory (http://www.callithumpian.org/apr-20th-sicpp-2016-commission/). Also, the work that received Honorable Mention in FNMC's Competition, "Por la Fuerza las Tierras," was the winning piece in this year’s Tribeca New Music’s Young Composer Competition
(http://www.tribecanewmusic.org/2014results/), and TNM will perform the piece NYC sometime this summer or fall.
More About Charles…
Charles Halka’s works have been performed in North America, Europe, and Hong Kong by the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra led by Marin Alsop, the Mexican National Symphony Orchestra, the Lviv Philharmonic, Mivos Quartet, Fort Worth Opera Studio, counter)induction, Volti, Callithumpian Consort, ÓNIX Ensamble (Mexico), PRO ARTE eNsemble (Russia), Aquarius (Belgium), and Jauna Muzika (Lithuania), among others. Performances have taken place at venues and events such as the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, The Kennedy Center, ISCM World Music Days, Foro Internacional de Música Nueva, the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress, and the Intimacy of Creativity partnership led by composer Bright Sheng.
Halka is a recipient of the Copland House Residency Award, and over the last few years, was in residence with Houston’s critically acclaimed Musiqa (2014-15) and the Foundation for Modern Music (2011-14). Other residencies include those at the MacDowell Colony and the Sarbievijaus Cultural Center in Kražiai, Lithuania, where he wrote And Jill Came Tumbling After, a chamber opera (libretto by John Grimmett) for the Baltic Chamber Opera Theater that was selected for Fort Worth Opera’s 2015 Frontiers showcase. Imaginary Spaces, a dance and percussion project in collaboration with Frame Dance Productions, was awarded support from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music.
Charles earned undergraduate and master’s degrees from The Peabody Conservatory and a doctorate from Rice University. He is Visiting Lecturer at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he teaches composition, orchestration, and musicianship, and co-directs Nextet, UNLV’s contemporary music ensemble.
More information at www.charleshalka.com
The Flute New Music Consortium is an organization dedicated to the creation and support of new music for the flute.