Virginia B. Toulmin Orchestral Commissions Program: Commission Recipients

The Virginia B. Toulmin Orchestral Commissions Program for women composers is an initiative of the League of American Orchestras, in partnership with American Composers Orchestra (ACO) and supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.

Since its inception in 2014, the program has shown impressive results:

  • More than forty women composers benefitted from career development via the EarShot Readings
  • Twenty-two composers have now received commissions
  • Fourteen premieres have taken place: by Julia Adolphe, Courtney Bryan, Cindy Cox, Melody Eötvös, Stacy Garrop, Robin Holcomb, Chen-Hui Jen, Wang Jie, Hannah Lash, Fang Man, Andreia Pinto Correia, Leanna Primiani, Hilary Purrington, and Andrea Reinkemeyer

2019-2020 Commission Recipients

2019-2020 commission recipients were Niloufar Iravani, Leanna Primiani, and Hilary Purrington, each receiving orchestral commissions of $15,000.

Niloufar Iravani, Women Composers
Photo Credit: Ali Haghshenas
Niloufar Iravani

Niloufar Iravani has been selected as the 2019 Louisiana Music Teacher Association (LMTA) Commissioned Composer, first prize winner of the Southeastern Composers League’s (SCL) 2018 Philip Slates Memorial Competition, and third prize winner of the 2020 Darkwater Women in Music Festival Composition Competition. In addition to being selected in the American Composers Orchestra (ACO) EarShot 2018 Readings, she was a finalist in the fifth annual Smackdown String Quartet and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Foundation’s 2018 Morton Gould Young Composer Awards.

Iravani has received commissions from acclaimed musicians, ensembles, and associations, and several of her works are published by Conners Publications. She has served as an adjudicator for the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS) National Conference and as a reviewer for the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC).

Iravani’s music has been performed at distinguished venues by well-known soloists and ensembles, including the Constanta Symphony Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Louisiana Sinfonietta, and Invoke String Quartet. Her works have also been presented at prominent festivals and conferences such as the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS) 2018 National Conference, 2017 University of Tennessee Contemporary Music Festival, Cube Festival 2018, and the 2nd and 3rd Music by Women Festivals.

Iravani received a B.A. in Piano Performance and M.A. in Music Composition from the University of Tehran, Iran, and an M.M. and Ph.D. in Music Composition under the supervision of Dr. Dinos Constantinides from Louisiana State University, USA. www.niloufariravani.com

Niloufar Iravani’s work will be premiered by the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and music director Delta David Gier on April 29, 2023.

Leanna Primiani, Women Composers
Photo Credit: Noor Che’ree
Leanna Primiani

Leanna Primiani is a musical storyteller. Transforming traditional narratives, she writes music that changes how listeners see themselves and the world around them. Using electronics as well as orchestral instrumentation, she explores the limits of musical form, sound, and time. Starting out as a conductor, with credits including the National Symphony and LA Opera, she never imagined that composition would take over her life. Leanna channeled her kinesthetic experience of music-making as a conductor into her writing, with her music being championed by the Nashville Symphony, the Cabrillo Music Festival, and the Centre de Création Musicale Iannis Xenakis (Paris). Taking her story-telling further, she composes for film and television. Credits include the WIF/Fox Searchlight production of Signal, as well as the remake of the cult classic The Bad Seed, directed by and starring Rob Lowe. Variety’s Jon Burlingame calls the music “one of the most remarkable… scores of the past season.” Experimenting with electronics led Leanna to expand her sound palette as a solo ambient artist performing under the moniker, ANASIA. Described as “hauntingly evocative,” her latest album, Blurred, explores the landscape between the acoustic and electronic worlds. This offers listeners space to experience sound without boundaries. A native Californian, Leanna currently lives in Santa Monica with her husband and daughter. She earned a doctorate in composition from USC and studied with Leonard Slatkin, Peter Eötvös and Morten Lauridsen. She is published by Subito Music, and is a member of BMI and the Recording and Television Academies.  

Leanna Primiani’s work, Neither man nor money validate my worth, was premiered by ROCO (Houston, TX) and conductor Sarah Hicks on February 26, 2022 at 5:00pm CT (FREE LIVESTREAM).

Photo Credit: Jiji Kim
Hilary Purrington

Hilary Purrington is a New York City-based composer of chamber, vocal, and orchestral music. Her work has received recognition from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP); the International Alliance for Women in Music; and the National Federation of Music Clubs (NFMC), among others. 

Purrington’s chamber and orchestral music has been performed by many distinguished ensembles, including the Minnesota Orchestra, the American Modern Ensemble, the Albany Symphony, and the Yale Philharmonia. Recent commissions include new works for American Composers Orchestra, the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra, and the New York Youth Symphony. Upcoming projects include commissions from River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and guitarist JIJI. 

Also an accomplished vocalist, Purrington has developed a reputation as a skilled composer of solo and choral music. Her song For your judicious and pious consideration premiered on the 2016 NY Phil Biennial’s New Music New Haven concert, and in 2015, the Eric Stokes Fund commissioned Purrington to compose a new song cycle about the devastating effects of climate change. Other recent vocal commissions include new works for C4: The Choral Composer/Conductor Collective, the Melodia Women’s Choir of NYC, and Yale Glee Club. 

Purrington currently lives and works in New York, NY. She holds degrees from the Yale School of Music, The Juilliard School, and the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. www.hilarypurrington.com

Hilary Purrington’s Words for Departure was premiered by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and music director Nathalie Stutzmann on October 6, 8, and 9, 2022.

2018 Commission Recipients

2018 commission recipients were Courtney Bryan, whose work Rejoice was premiered by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and music director Carlos Miguel Prieto on November 21, 22, and 23, 2019; Cindy Cox, whose work Dreaming a world’s edge was premiered by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and conductor Pekka Kuusisto on May 20, 21, and 22, 2022; and Fang Man, whose work Song of the Flaming Phoenix: Concerto for Sheng and Orchestra was premiered by the San Francisco Symphony and music director Esa-Pekka Salonen, with soloist Wu Wei, sheng, on March 3, 4, and 5, 2022.

Courtney Bryan, Women Composers
Photo Credit: Arielle Pentes
Courtney Bryan

Courtney Bryan, a native of New Orleans, LA, is “a pianist and composer of panoramic interests” (New York Times). Her music is in conversation with various musical genres, including jazz and other types of experimental music, as well as traditional gospel, spirituals, and hymns. Focusing on bridging the sacred and the secular, Bryan’s compositions explore human emotions through sound, confronting the challenge of notating the feeling of improvisation. Bryan has academic degrees from Oberlin Conservatory (BM), Rutgers University (MM), and Columbia University (DMA) with advisor George Lewis, and completed an appointment as Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University. Bryan is currently an Assistant Professor of Music in the Newcomb Department of Music at Tulane University, the composer-in-residence with the Jacksonville Symphony, and serves as a board member of the Musical Arts Society of New Orleans (MASNO), Composers Now, and New Music USA. She was the 2018 music recipient of the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts.

Bryan’s work has been presented in a wide range of venues, including Lincoln Center, Miller Theatre, The Stone, Roulette Intermedium, La MaMa Experimental Theatre, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Gallery of Art, Blue Note Jazz Club, Bethany and Abyssinian Baptist Churches, Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and Ojai Music Festival. Upcoming commissions include compositions for the Jacksonville Symphony, Quince Ensemble, and Jennifer Koh. She has two recordings, “Quest for Freedom” (2007) and “This Little Light of Mine” (2010).

Courtney Bryan’s work Rejoice was premiered by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and music director Carlos Miguel Prieto on November 21, 22, and 23, 2019.

Cindy Cox, Women Composers
Photo courtesy of Cindy Cox
Cindy Cox

Transparent yet intricate, Cindy Cox’s compositions synthesize old and new musical designs. The natural world, ecological concerns, and the concept of emergence inspire many of the special harmonies and textural colorations in her works.

Cox is active as a pianist and has performed and recorded many of her own compositions, including the large-scale Hierosgamos and Sylvan Pieces. A number of her works feature technologies developed at UC Berkeley’s Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT), such as Pianos and the Etudes for piano sampler keyboards. Her compositions with text such as Singing the linesThe Other Side of the World, and The Shape of the Shell evolved through collaboration with her husband, poet John Campion. Together they are currently collaborating on a musical theater project, The Road to Xibalba, based on the ancient Mayan myth of creation The Popol Vuh.

She has received awards and commissions from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Fromm Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Guggenheim Foundation, the American Composers Forum, ASCAP, Meet the Composer, the Fulbright Foundation, and the Mellon Foundation. She has been a Fellow at Tanglewood, Aspen, the MacDowell Colony, Civitella Ranieri, and Giardini La Mortella.

Recent performances have taken place at the Venice Biennale, the Festival de la Habana in Cuba, the American Academy in Rome, Carnegie and Merkin Halls in New York City, the National Gallery in Washington, the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, and the Biblioteca National in Buenos Aires. Her music has been performed by the Kronos Quartet, the National Symphony, the California Symphony, the Alexander Quartet, the Paul Dresher Ensemble, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, and the Eco Ensemble. There are five monograph recordings of Cox’s music, and her scores are published by World a Tuning Fork Press (www.cacox.com).

Her music may also be accessed on https://soundcloud.com/cindy-cox. Cindy Cox is a Professor and Chair of the Music Department at the University of California at Berkeley.

Cindy Cox’s work, Dreaming a world’s edge was premiered by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and conductor Pekka Kuusisto on May 20, 2022 with repeat performances on May 21 and 22.

Fang Man, Women Composers
Photo Credit: Yi Sun
Fang Man

Hailed as “inventive and breathtaking” by the New York Times, Fang Man’s music has been performed worldwide by notable orchestras and ensembles such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra New Music Group under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen, Basel Sinfonietta, Slovak Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, National Orchestre de Lorraine, Minnesota Orchestra, Prism Saxophone Quartet, Dolce Suono Ensemble, Music from China, among others.

She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Koussevitzky Foundation Commission, an Underwood/ACO Commission, Toru Takemitsu Award (Japan), Opera America Discovery Grant, the National Endowment for the Arts Award, Siemens Berlin Music Foundation Commission, NewMusicUSA Commission, the 47th UWRF Commissioned Composer, USC Provost Grant, Bank of America Gallery Commission, the Darmstadt Stipend-Prize-Award, Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowship, Frank Huntington Beebe Fellowship, among others.

Her music has been heard at the Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space, Merkin Concert Hall, Miller Theater (NYC); Walt Disney Hall (Los Angeles); Espace de Projection of IRCAM-Centre Pompidou (Paris), Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall (Japan), Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (Philadelphia), etc. She has been invited to new music festivals such as the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Centre Acanthes (France); Darmstadt New Music Festival (Germany); Gaudeamus Music Week (the Netherlands); Cabrillo Festival, Aspen Music Festival, June in Buffalo (USA), etc. She was invited as a resident composer at the Hermitage Artist Retreat in Florida, Aldeburgh Music Centre (UK), and Civitella Ranieri Music Foundation (Italy).

Fang obtained the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Cornell University and a Computer Music and Composition certificate from IRCAM-Centre Pompidou in France. She obtained the Bachelor of Music degree from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. Fang is an Assistant Professor of Music Composition at the University of South Carolina. She previously held positions as the Composer-in-Residence at the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music, and a Visiting Assistant Professor at Duke University. www.fangmanmusic.com

Fang Man’s work Song of the Flaming Phoenix: Concerto for Sheng and Orchestra was premiered by the San Francisco Symphony and music director Esa-Pekka Salonen, with soloist Wu Wei, sheng, on March 3, 4, and 5, 2022.

2017 Commission Recipients

Stacy Garrop, Women Composers
Photo Credit: Frank Ishman
Stacy Garrop

Stacy Garrop’s music is centered on dramatic and lyrical storytelling. The sharing of stories is a defining element of our humanity; we strive to share with others the experiences and concepts that we find compelling. Stacy shares stories by taking audiences on sonic journeys – some simple and beautiful, while others are complicated and dark – depending on the needs and dramatic shape of the story.

New Music USA and the League of American Orchestras have chosen Stacy and the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra as one of five orchestra/composer pairings for Music Alive’s 2016-2019 residence program. She will also serve as the inaugural Emerging Opera Composer for Chicago Opera Theater’s new Vanguard Initiative in 2018-2020. Theodore Presser Company publishes her chamber and orchestral works; she self-publishes her choral pieces under Inkjar Publishing Company. Stacy is a recording artist with Cedille Records; her works are also commercially available on nine additional labels.

Stacy has received the Barlow Prize, a Fromm Music Foundation grant, three Barlow Endowment commissions, and the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Music Composition Prize, along with prizes from competitions sponsored by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Omaha Symphony, New England Philharmonic, Boston Choral Ensemble, Utah Arts Festival, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, and Sorel Organization. She has participated in reading session programs sponsored by the American Composers Orchestra and Minnesota Orchestra (the Composers Institute).

Stacy’s catalog covers a wide range, with works for orchestra, wind ensemble, choir, art song, various sized chamber ensembles, and an evening-length oratorio. She has been commissioned and performed by the Albany Symphony and Minnesota Orchestra; by the chamber groups Capitol Saxophone Quartet, Gaudete Brass Quintet, and Kronos Quartet; and by the choirs Chanticleer, Chicago a cappella, Piedmont East Bay Children’s Chorus, San Francisco Choral Society, and Volti. Additional performances have been given by the Cabrillo and Grant Park Music Festival Orchestras; Amarillo, Charleston, Columbus, Illinois, Omaha, and Santa Cruz Symphony Orchestras; by Aspen Music Festival Contemporary Ensemble, Fifth House Ensemble, Lincoln Trio, and Voices of Change; and by Grant Park Music Festival Chorus and Voices of Ascension.

Stacy earned degrees in music composition at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (B.M.), University of Chicago (M.A.), and Indiana University-Bloomington (D.M.). She taught composition full-time at Roosevelt University from 2000 to 2016 before leaving to launch her freelance career. For more information, please visit her website at www.garrop.com or her all-things-composition blog at www.composerinklings.com/

Stacy Garrop’s Goddess Triptych was premiered by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Stéphane Denève on March 12 and 13, 2022.

Robin Holcomb, Women Composers
Photo Credit: Peter Gannushkin DOWNTOWNMUSIC.NET
Robin Holcomb

Robin Holcomb has performed internationally as a solo artist and the leader of various ensembles. Following Sundanese gamelan performance studies at UC Santa Cruz and several years spent sharecropping tobacco in North Carolina, Holcomb was active in New York for many years as a composer and performer with deep roots in the downtown avant-garde as one of the original Studio Henry mavericks. She has recorded her music for Nonesuch, Tzakik, Songlines, and the New World labels. Holcomb is a founder and co-director of The New York Composers Orchestra and WACO (The Washington Composers Orchestra), ensembles for which she is also conductor, pianist and a principal composer. Other current performing ensembles include a longstanding duo project with cellist Peggy Lee and The Robin Holcomb Ensemble. Composing instrumental and vocal music for a wide variety of chamber ensembles and soloists, she has been commissioned to create scores for dance, film and theatre.

“Robin Holcomb is haunted. …It’s not that she isn’t an original.” (The
Georgia Straight

“Ms. Holcomb’s long form piece, Before the Comet Comes, is
staggeringly beautiful.” (New York Times

“…this fascinatingly eclectic pianist, composer, and singer has few
qualms about mingling folk, jazz, chamber music, and points between
and beyond in arresting original music.” (The New Yorker)

“Satie goes to Appalachia, Morricone goes to the Knitting Factory,
and you, dear art-folk fan, die and go to heaven.” (The Village Voice)

Robin Holcomb’s No Thing Lives to Itself was premiered by the Portland Symphony Orchestra (Maine) and music director Eckart Preu on January 19 and 21, 2020.

Andrea Reinkemeyer, Women Composers
Photo Credit: Frank Miller
Andrea Reinkemeyer

The music of American composer Andrea Reinkemeyer has been described as, “haunting,” “melodic and fun, dancing and almost running its way forward… whimsical,” “clever, funky, jazzy and virtuosic” (Detroit Free Press, Fanfare Magazine, Schenectady Daily Gazette); it explores the interplay of visual metaphors, nature, and sound to create lush textures against churning rhythmic figures.

Ms. Reinkemeyer has enjoyed recent commissions from: Albany (NY) Symphony Orchestra, H. Robert Reynolds and The Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings, Rodney Dorsey for the University of Oregon Wind Ensemble and University Singers, In Mulieribus, Lacroute Arts Series at Linfield College, Post-Haste Reed Duo, Jeffrey Heisler for the Primary Colors Trio, Miller Asbill and the Texas Tech University Concert Band, The Wild Swan Theater, Iowa Music Teachers’ Association, and many performers and visual artists.

Her music is distributed by the ADJ•ective Composers’ Collective; it has been performed both nationally and internationally, by the American Composers Orchestra Underwood New Music Readings, North-South Consonance Chamber Orchestra, fEAR no MUSIC, The Fire Wire Ensemble, Great Noise Ensemble, and Thailand International Composition Festival. Her electroacoustic compositions have been performed on the SEAMUS Conference, Spark Electronic Music Festival, University of Central Missouri New Music Festival, Electronic Music Midwest Festival, and Threshold Electronic Music Festival.

Reinkemeyer enjoys exploring music with students of all ages. In 2014, she joined the faculty of Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon as Assistant Professor of Music Composition & Theory. Previously, she served as a Part-time Lecturer in the Mahidol University International College, in Salaya, Thailand (2011-12) and as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Composition, Theory and Technology at Bowling Green State University, Ohio (2005-10). Reinkemeyer has been the Composer-in-Residence with the Michigan Philharmonic’s, “The Composer in Me!” Education Pilot Program (2010-11), American-Romanian Festival’s Fusion Project (2011), and Burns Park Elementary School (2004, 2005, 2010). Her work with young musicians has been supported by a Meet the Composer/MetLife Creative Connections Grant.

Dr. Reinkemeyer holds degrees in music composition from the University of Michigan and University of Oregon; her primary composition teachers include: Michael Daugherty, Bright Sheng, Evan Chambers, Susan Botti, James Aikman, Robert Kyr, Jack Boss, and Harold Owen. Born and raised in Oregon, she has also lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Bangkok, Thailand.

Andrea Reinkemeyer’s work, Water Sings Fire, was premiered by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and music director Carlos Miguel Prieto on January 10, 2019, with additional performances on January 11 and 12.

2016 Commission Recipients

Chen-Hui Jen, Women Composers
Chen-Hui Jen

Chen-Hui Jen is a composer whose music presents an imaginative, spiritual, and poetic space with subtlety and sophistication. She earned a Ph.D. degree in Composition at the University of California, San Diego, where her mentor was Chinary Ung.

Born in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Chen-Hui Jen received her M.F.A. in composition at the Graduate School of Music at the Taipei National University of the Arts and B.F.A. in composition at the Music Department of the National Sun Yet-San University, under the instruction of Prof. Hwang-Long Pan and Dr. Tzyy-Sheng Lee. She began studying piano at age four, under the instruction of professors including Aleck Karis and Ming-Fen Hsu.

Chen-Hui Jen writes music for music for orchestra, chamber, and solo, for both Western and Chinese instruments, and vocal and choral works as well as works with computer and electronics. Chen-Hui Jen’s works have been performed at multiple new music festivals and concerts, including the ISCM World Music Days, SEAMUS, Acanthes Music Festival, ACL Music Festival, EarShot San Diego  Workshop, New Music  Miami Season, Taipei International New Music  Festival, WOCMA T, and Contemporary Sizhu Music Festival. Chen-Hui Jen’s works have won numerous prizes in the Taiwan Literature and Fine Arts Composition Competition for chamber, choral, and solo works, the Formosa Composition Competition for violin concerto, the International Tsang-Houei Hsu Music Composition Competition for Chinese chamber music, the International Taiwan Music Center Composition Competition, and the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Composition Competition. She has also received multiple commissions from the Palimpsest Ensemble, Accordant Commons, The Living Earth Show, Ensemble ISCM-Taiwan, Taipei Chamber Singers, Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra, Ching-Yun Chorus, Kaohsiung Chamber Choir, and Muller Choir, as well as multiple grants from the Taipei Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Taiwan National and Arts Foundation.

Since 2010, Dr. Jen has performed piano in a duo with her husband, composer/computer musician Jacob David Sudol.  Together they’ve played many distinguished venues such as the Taipei National Recital Hall, Taiwan National Chiao Tung University, the Spectrum in New York City, Center for New Music in San Francisco, ISCM New Music Miami Festival, Root  Signal Festival, Miami Bakehouse Art Complex, University of California at San Diego, Mills College, California Institute of Arts, Chapman University, and Florida International University. She is currently also a pianist in the NODUS Ensemble and the White Ibis Ensemble. 

Chen-Hui Jen’s work, in eternal dusk, was premiered by the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and Music Director and Principal Conductor Matthew Kraemer on January 27, 2018. 

Wang Jie, Women Composers
Wang Jie

Part cartoon character, part virtuoso, musical whiz kid Wang Jie has been nudging serious music and its concert audiences into spectacular frontiers over the past few seasons. Her From New York, With Love transformed a classic percussionist into a dervish-like rock star. Her chamber opera Flown dramatized the end of a rocky love affair by having the two pianists attack each other and their shared instrument. Despite having the worst title in the history of music, Oboe Concerto For The Genuine Heart Of Sadness channeled the power of Liang Wang, the principle oboist of the New York Philharmonic, and the League of Composers Orchestra into an orgiastic whirlwind. An unexpected collaboration with comedy writer Paul Simms inspired a song cycle titled Lord?  Please Don’t Let Me Die in a Funny Way, coaxing belly laughs from an otherwise sedate Opera America audience. Not one to let herself off the hook at her Carnegie Hall debut with the American Composers Orchestra, she shape-shifted into a monkey god swiveling on stage between three keyboards during a performance of her concert opera From The Other Sky.

One day she spins a few notes into large symphonic forms, the next she calls Zodiac animals to the opera stage. It is no accident that Ms. Wang’s stylistic versatility is a rare trait in today’s composers. There is a mile-long dossier on Jie’s outside-the-box incidents. It begins with a thrilling escape from a Chinese ­military-run kindergarten at the age of four. Behind a touch of glorious madness to Jie’s music, the skill, theatricality, and method that once facilitated her youthful escape are now the engines for her appetite to “Engage • Explore • Play.” Jie credits her mentors at the Curtis Institute of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, and NYU’s PhD program for all the music mischief she didn’t think was possible.

Most recently, her Symphony No. 2, commissioned and premiered by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Leonard Slatkin, was streamed live to a worldwide audience. Upcoming, Symphonic Overture ‘America, The Beautiful’ will be premiered by the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, Chamber opera Rated R For Rat will receive a premiere production by Festival Opera, and her Symphony No.2 is on the bill at the Buffalo Philharmonic. Wang Jie is currently creating Phoenix Fallen, a prison opera. Supported by the McKnight Foundation, Jie will spend a year as a resident composer at the Shakopee Correctional Facility in Minnesota, where she will conduct field work and opera workshops in collaboration with the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra and the Shakopee prison choir.

For more information on Wang Jie, please visit her website.

Wang Jie’s work The Winter that United Us was premiered by the Buffalo Philharmonic and music director Joann Falletta on June 11, 2022.

Hannah Lash, Women Composers
Hannah Lash

Hailed by the New York Times as “striking and resourceful…handsomely brooding,” Hannah Lash’s music has been commissioned by The Fromm Foundation, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, the Library of Congress, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Columbia  University’s Miller Theatre, The Naumburg Foundation, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, as well as the Colorado and Aspen Music Festivals, among many others.

Lash has received numerous honors and prizes, including the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, a Charles lves Scholarship (2011) and Fellowship (2016) from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Fromm Foundation Commission, the Naumburg Prize in Composition, the Barnard Rogers Prize in Composition, and the Bernard and Rose Sernoffsky Prize in Composition, among others. 

In addition to performances of her music in the U.S.A., Lash’s music is well known internationally. In April of 2008, her string quartet Four Still was performed in Kyev in the Ukraine’s largest international new music festival, “Musical Premieres of the Season,” curated by Carson Cooman. In 2016, her chamber orchestra work This Ease was selected as “audience favorite” in performances by the Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Mainz, conducted by Hermann Baumer.

Recent premieres include Three Shades Without Angles, for flute, viola and harp, by the Boston Symphony Chamber Players; Two Movements for violin and piano, commissioned by the Library of Congress for Ensemble lntercontemporain; a new chamber opera, Beowulf, for Guerilla Opera; and new orchestral works for the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, as well as two concerti for harp premiered by the American Composers Orchestra and the Colorado Music Festival, both  with Lash as soloist. In 2016, Lash was honored with a Composer Portraits Concert at Columbia University’s Miller Theatre. In the 2016-2017 season, Lash receives the premiere of her Requiem with the Yale Choral Artists as well as the debut of The Voynich Symphony, a major large-scale orchestral work, with the New Haven Symphony.

Lash obtained her Ph.D in Composition from Harvard University in 2010. She has held teaching positions at Harvard University (Teaching Fellow), at Alfred University (Guest Professor of Composition), and currently serves on the composition faculty at Yale University School of Music.

For more information on Hannah Lash, please visit her website.

Hannah Lash’s Double Concerto for piano, harp, and orchestra was premiered by the Naples Philharmonic (Florida) and conductor Arvo Volmer on November 14 and 16, 2019.

2015 Commission Recipients

Andreia Pinto Correia, Women Composers
Photo Credit: Tiago Miranda-Expresso
Andreia Pinto Correia

The prestigious literary magazine Jornal de Letras describes Andreia Pinto Correia’s compositions as “a major contribution to the dissemination of Portugal’s culture and language, perhaps a contribution larger than could ever be imagined.” Her music — described by the Boston Globe as “compellingly meditative” and by the New York Times as an “aural fabric” — is characterized by close attention to harmonic detail and timbral color. Following a family tradition of scholars and writers, her work often reflects the influence of literary sources from the Iberian Peninsula and beyond.

Ms. Pinto Correia is a 2015 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow. Honors include commissions from the European Union Presidency, Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University, Boston Symphony Orchestra Brass Quintet, American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood Music Center, National Symphony and National Dance Company of Portugal, Albany Symphony Orchestra, and Culturgest National Bank of Portugal. Her work Timaeus, a concerto for orchestra commissioned by the Boston Symphony’s Tanglewood Music Center in memory of Elliott Carter, was recently premiered at the opening concert of the Contemporary Music Festival’s 75th anniversary.

Her works have been performed by the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra, Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Orchestra, Orquestra Metropolitana de Lisboa, and the Borromeo and the Mivos String Quartets. She has also been the recipient of a New Music USA Music Alive/League of American Orchestras Composer Residency, a Rockefeller Foundation Center Fellowship, a Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship, the Alpert Award in the Arts/Ucross Residency Prize, and the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award by the Japan Society. In addition, she was the curator of the Fertile Crescent Festival for Contemporary Music at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

Born in Portugal, Ms. Pinto Correia began her musical studies in her native Lisbon and received her Masters and Doctoral of Music degrees with Academic Honors from the New England Conservatory of Music as a student of Bob Brookmeyer and Michael Gandolfi. She attended the Minnesota Composer Institute, the European Network of Opera Academies (ENOA), the American Opera Projects (AOP), the Composers Conference, and the Tanglewood and Aspen Festivals. She was a participant in the first EarShot New Music Reading with the Memphis Symphony in 2009.

For more information about Andreia Pinto Correia, visit her website.

Andreia Pinto Correia’s Ciprés received its premiere by the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Rossen Milanov on April 6, 2018.

Xi Wang, Women Composers
Photo Credit: Eason Kong
Xi Wang

Since arriving in the USA from her native China in 2001, Xi Wang has pursued a whirlwind of musical activities that have made her a rising star in new music. Her unique fusion of Asian and Western instruments and techniques with theatrical and choreographic elements has captivated audiences. She is increasingly in demand for orchestral, chamber, and vocal music.

Xi Wang’s original concert music has been performed worldwide by notable orchestras and ensembles such as the Minnesota Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, Shanghai Philharmonic, Spokane Symphony, Voices of Change, Soli Chamber Ensemble, Tippet String Quartet, among others. She is the recipient of the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Endowment for the Arts award, Meet the Composer, New Music USA, American Music Center, MacDowell Colony residency, as well as prizes from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

Xi Wang received her B.M. from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, M.M. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and D.M.A. from Cornell University. Currently, she is an Associate Professor at the Meadow School of Arts of Southern Methodist University. She was a participant in ACO’s 2010 Underwood New Music Readings.

For more information on Xi Wang, visit her website.

Xi Wang’s Lotus Prayer will be premiered by the Berkeley Symphony and music director Joseph Young on June 4, 2023.

2014 Commission Recipients

Julia Adolphe, Women Composers
Photo Credit: Martin Chalifour
Julia Adolphe

Twenty-seven year old composer Julia Adolphe’s music has already been described as “alive with invention” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker), “colorful, mercurial, deftly orchestrated” (Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times) and a “mastery of dynamic as well as harmonic complexity” (Financial Times). Adolphe’s works have received performances across the U.S. and abroad by renowned groups such as the New York Philharmonic, Inscape Chamber Orchestra, the USC Thornton Symphony, JACK Quartet violinist Christopher Otto and cellist Kevin McFarland, Grammy-nominated pianist Aron Kallay, the What’s Next? Ensemble, Nouveau Classical Project, the Cornell University Chorus, and the Great Noise Ensemble, among others. In 2015, Adolphe received a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Adolphe is a native New Yorker living in Los Angeles.  

Current commissions include a viola concerto for the New York Philharmonic and a large choral work for James Conlon and the Cincinnati May Festival. The viola concerto, for Philharmonic Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps, is commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and the League of American Orchestras, with generous support from the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. This commission follows on the heels of the New York Philharmonic premiering Adolphe’s orchestral work Dark Sand, Sifting Light as part of the NY PHIL BIENNIAL in June 2014. A winner of the international EarShot New Music Readings’ competition, Adolphe’s first orchestral work was hailed as “remarkably assured…an upbeat to something grander” (The New Yorker). Additionally, Adolphe is composing an opera set in present-day Iran with librettist Nahal Navidar.

Adolphe currently pursues a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the USC Thornton School of Music. Prior teachers include Stephen Hartke, Steven Stucky, and Donald Crockett. Adolphe holds a Master of Music degree in music composition from USC and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and the College Scholar Program from Cornell University.

For more information about Julia Adolphe, visit her website.

Julia Adolphe’s Unearth, Release (Concerto for Viola and Orchestra) received its New York premiere November 17-19, 2016 by the New York Philharmonic, conductor Jaap van Zweden, and Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps as soloist.

Melody Eötvös, Women Composers
Photo Credit: Grant Heger
Melody Eötvös

Melody Eötvös (1984) is a Bloomington IN-based Australian composer whose work draws on both multi-media and traditional instrumental contexts.

She has studied with a variety of composers across the globe, including Gerardo Dirié (Australia), Simon Bainbridge (UK), and, most recently Claude Baker & David Dzubay (USA).  She has also studied electronic music with Jeffrey Hass, John Gibson, and Alicyn Warren.  Melody has had her music performed by ensembles/orchestras such as the London Sinfonietta, BBC Singers, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and the Australian String Quartet, and has participated in several electronic music festivals including SEAMUS 2011 (US), ACMC 2012 (Australia), and ICMC 2011 (New Zealand).  Current projects include a Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Orchestral Commission administered by the League of American Orchestras, the EarShot Foundation (world premiere: Carnegie Hall October 23rd 2015), guest composer for the Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music 2015, a commissioned composer for the Synergy 40×40 project (Sydney, AUS), was a composer fellow at the Aspen Music Festival & School 2015, and will be a Composer resident for the Copland House Residency in May 2016.

Melody holds a Doctor of Music (2014) from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music USA, and a Master of Music (2008) from the Royal Academy of Music, London UK. 

For more information about Melody Eötvös, visit her website

Melody Eötvös’ Red Dirt | Silver Rain received its world premiere at Carnegie Hall in October 2015, performed by American Composers Orchestra and ACO Music Director and Conductor George Manahan.

Banner Photo Credit: Sylvia Elzafon, Dallas Symphony, Women in Classical Music Symposium Panel

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