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...Oliver Caplan
One of the things we love about the FNMC Composition Contest is that it provides us with an opportunity to learn about so much great new music of such diverse styles, all of which is beautiful in its own way. Often times people make certain assumptions about what “new” music sounds like. But new music is anything that is recently composed, there is no one new music style. Oliver Caplan is a composer who unabashedly embraces a Romantic style and composes some really beautiful music in the process. His work, My Elephant Cloud for flute, clarinet, violin, and cello, was named an honorable mention in 2014 FNMC Composition Contest. It can be heard on his first album Illuminations and on his Soundcloud page.
Q&A with Oliver…
What inspires you as a composer?
In my music, the geographies of people, places and ideas intertwine to become tales of transformation. From nature to world affairs, my compositions have included works inspired by Jane Goodall, Frederick Law Olmsted, and the Chinese Folk Novel Journey to the West. My goal as a composer is to create an emotional journey for audience members and connect them to music’s incredible ability to touch something deeply human inside of us, a place that words do not always reach.
Tell us a bit about your compositional process
The two instruments in my composing studio are a piano and a piccolo. One of my composing secrets, is that when I am working on breathing and articulation for winds and brass, I play all the parts on my piccolo. So if I’m working on orchestration for a 75-piece symphony, you might find me testing the Tuba part three octaves up! When I was young, I learned to play the flute in 5th grade, and performed on piccolo with the Stuyvesant High School Symphonic Band and the Dartmouth College Marching Band. The flute remains near and dear to my heart; whenever I’m composing for flute, I feel like I’m writing for my kin.
Do you have any upcoming events that you would like our friends and followers to know about?
Recently, a nationwide consortium of 12 ensembles commissioned me to compose a companion piece for the instrumentation of Stravinsky’s beloved Octet (flute, clarinet, 2 bassoons, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones). Leave it to Stravinsky to think up such a quirky and bottom-heavy instrumentation! My composition Krummholz Variations is a set of variations inspired by the alpine world. I had fun finding my own voice with these sonorities, and have really enjoyed being part of a larger conversation with this work.
I’m currently working on my next album You Are Not Alone, with performances by Juventas New Music Ensemble (Lidiya Yankovskaya, Artistic Director). You Are Not Alone will raise awareness about breast cancer, marriage equality and the environment through four deeply personal chamber works: Love Letters (flute, clarinet, string quartet), You Are Not Alone (piano trio), To the Sea (string quartet), and Connect All (soprano, horn, piano).
You can listen to samples of my music on my website, www.olivercaplan.com. Also, NewMusicShelf is carrying sheet music from my catalog (there are a few works up right now, with more coming soon). If you like what you hear, don’t hesitate to drop a line. I’m always looking for new collaborators!
More About Oliver….
With memorable melodies and colorful interplay, composer Oliver Caplan’s music expresses a deeply felt romanticism. Mr. Caplan’s music has been presented in over 120 public performances, including the Nebraska Chamber Players, North/South Consonance, Trio Veritas and Schola Cantorum of Boston. He has been commissioned by the Atlanta Chamber Players, Bronx Arts Ensemble, Bella Piano Trio, Columbia University Wind
Ensemble, Brookline Symphony Orchestra, Juventas and El Sistema Somerville, among others. Accolades include a Special Citation for the American Prize in Orchestral Composition, Veridian Symphony Competition Wins, the Fifth House Ensemble Young Composer Competition Grand Prize, seven ASCAP Awards, and fellowships at VCCA and the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts. Recordings of Mr. Caplan’s music include his 2012 debut album Illuminations, 2015 EP Moon Over Appalachia, and a track on the Sinfonietta of Riverdale’s 2016 album New World Serenade (Albany Records). Mr. Caplan (b. 1982) resides in Medford, Massachusetts. He was raised in the Bronx, New York, studied Music and Geography at Dartmouth College (B.A. 2004) and Composition at the Boston Conservatory (M.M. 2006). An avid hiker, Mr. Caplan finds inspiration through time outdoors.
If you liked My Elephant Cloud…
A Midsummer Night’s Dream flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano 11’ 2010
Chasing Dreams for Later Light nonet 30’ 2014
Every Iridescent Chip of Ice SSAA w/flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano 8’ 2009
Four flute, bassoon, guitar, vibraphone 4’ 2004
Is There a Word That Means Return? narrator, bass/baritone, pierrot 10’ 2010
Journey to the West orchestra w/ solo flute and solo Erhu (or solo violin) 16’ 2011
Krummholz Variations octet 13’00 2016
Laugh • Stay • Dance flute, clarinet, violin, cello 7’ 2006
Love Letters flute, clarinet, string quartet 15’ 2015
My Elephant Cloud flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano 8’ 2011
Quintet flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano 3’ 2004
Revelry vocal quartet, flute, violin 4’ 2003
Song on May Morning SATB w/ flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano 5’ 2011
The Flute New Music Consortium is an organization dedicated to the creation and support of new music for the flute.