the BRASS PROJECT
Call for Proposals
We are excited to announce our 2020 call for proposals winners! Submissions were evaluated by Brass Project members and our composer in residence, Saad Haddad. These new works will be premiered throughout our 2020/2021 season.
Zvony Nagy-Top Prize
Zvony Nagy's proposal is inspired by the Emma Lazarus poem "The New Colossus", which is engraved at the base of the Statue of Liberty. "Being born in Croatia, and having immigrated to the United States, the Lazarus poem strongly resonates with me". By exploring the themes of home, belonging, and the American dream through musical and artistic lenses, Zvony will create a multi-layered work whose evocative narrative will unfold the lines of the poem. "As an immigrant calling America my home, through music and poetry I want to ask a question, namely—has humanity not always been in a state of migration, thus making all of us migrants in our right?"
Zvony Nagy is a Croatian-born American composer based in Texas. He composes acoustic, choral, electroacoustic, and multimedia music. His compositions are informed by cognitive and computer sciences of music and are shaped by technology, spirituality, and social issues. His compositions also employ computer-assisted processes for music composition, notation, and analysis, as well as self-referential and dynamic systems, along with more intuitive approaches to compositional techniques and processes.
Nagy is the recipient of the first prize in the Cremona Music Yamaha Disklavier Competition, Seattle Symphony Composition Prize, the Iron Composer Award, and the Swan Prize in Music Composition. His music is released on PARMA Recordings, Albany Records, and MSR Classics He serves on the music faculty at Tarleton State University (Texas A&M), and he holds a Doctor of Music in Composition degree from Northwestern University. For more information, visit www.nagymusic.com
Nell's proposal is inspired by the visionary abstract paintings of early 20th century Swedish mystic, Hilma af Klint. "When I first saw Klint's works at the Guggenheim Museum's retrospective over a year ago (the museum's most highly-attended exhibition ever), I had a powerful and immediate impulse to match the unique timbres and characteristics of brass instruments with the vibrant colors and dynamic imagery of Klint's paintings." Structured into 3-4 brief, contrasting movements that would each respond to one of the several sub-series from Klint's Paintings for the Temple—for example, Evolution, The Swan, or The Tree of Knowledge. Each of these sub-series is characterized by a distinctive color palette and a set of symbols or recurring visual devices. Performances could be accompanied by video projections, timed to the music and featuring the paintings that inspired each movement.
Nell Shaw Cohen evokes visual art, landscapes, and the lives of mavericks in her lyrical works for the concert hall, stage, and digital media. Her commissions have included Houston Grand Opera, Boston Choral Ensemble, Skylark Vocal Ensemble, and Montage Music Society. Her operas have had workshops with Fort Worth Opera, American Opera Projects, New Dramatists, New York University, and University of New Mexico. She’s been Artist-in-Residence at the Brush Creek Foundation and Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and she’s an alumna of AOP’s Composers & the Voice and New Dramatists Composer-Librettist Studio. Her honors include the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Arts Award and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich Prize from the International Alliance for Women in Music. As Director of LandscapeMusic.org, an international composers' network, she advocates for music inspired by nature and place. Cohen studied at NYU and New England Conservatory and lives in Brooklyn, NY. Learn more at nellshawcohen.com.
William's proposal is to compose a piece in several movements that takes the form of abstract contrapuntal variations, inspired by the consort music of Tallis, Byrd, and Gibbons, while also continuing to explore the elements of polytonal harmony, and blurred, altered recapitulation "that I have been experimenting with in my recent works". "I strongly believe that the most beautiful brass writing treats the brass vocally, and contrapuntally. This goes back to some of the earliest notated brass music by Gabrielli, Praetorius, Monteverdi et. alia, and, I believe, is resuscitated in the music dramas of Richard Wagner."
William David Cooper is a composer, conductor and organist based in Boston, MA. His two-act opera Hagar and Ishmael has been featured by Fort Worth Opera, West Edge Opera, and the National Opera Association, and has been praised by the San Francisco Chronicle for its “richly soaring vocal lines.” His Requiem was commissioned by St. Peter’s Church, NYC, and his choral music has also been performed by The New York Virtuoso Singers, and C4. He has received awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Prize and ASCAP, and fellowships from the Aspen Music Festival, the Composers Conference, Brush Creek, I-Park, Ucross and VCCA. An alumnus of UC Davis and the Juilliard School, Cooper serves on the faculty of the Walnut Hill School for the Arts, and as organist and choirmaster at St. James Episcopal Church in New London, CT.
"I feel there’s a lot to be angry about at the moment, a lot of angry faces shouting angry words at each other, a lot of angry rhetoric from all sides of the political and cultural spectrum. Anger can be a really positive force though - it can motivate people to get up and fight against injustice, to challenge the system, to bring down the enemies of freedom…" Florence wants to explore the feelings of anger and alienation that everyday people feel within their own communities when they feel challenged by change - the anger experienced by those seen as “different” or “outsiders” - as “unwanted immigrants” or “you’re sort ain’t welcome here” - and wants to do so using the words of the people on both sides as projected text, and as an electronic soundtrack in which we will hear people speak in their own (angry) words.
Florence Anna Maunders is rapidly gaining a reputation for exciting, original and appealing compositions. Much of her
output explores the ideas of synthesis, fusion and transformation. In particular she draws extensively from her background
and experience as a producer of electronic dance music, her many years of performing as a jazz pianist & her abiding
fascination with the melodies, rhythms and techniques of the music of the Middle East & the Punjab. In all of her work there
is a strong feeling of pulse and "dance-ability". Flori completed her undergraduate studies at the RNCM with Anthony Gilbert, Adam Gorb, Robin Walker & Simon Holt, and then developed a career as an educator, conductor, performer, EDM producer and composer. In recent years composition has become her main focus, although she continues to direct a number of choirs and orchestras, and performs and teaches regularly. She has worked with orchestras, choirs, soloists and ensembles too numerous to list, and her music has been frequently performed across the UK, Europe and the USA. Some selected highlights for 2020 include performances with the Ligeti Quartet (Leeds), London Contemporary Chamber Orchestra, Bromley Symphony Orchestra, a solo piano piece in Carnegie Hall (NYC), two premieres of new pieces commissioned by Amiee Johnson (Belfast), a performance by Ensemble Black Pencil (Amsterdam) and Red Note Ensemble (Glasgow) as well as solo pieces for Matt Farthing (percussion) and Carla Rees (Bass Flute). Later in the year Flori will be resident at the Vale of Glamorgan Festival where two of her pieces will be premiered. For more details check out her website: www.florencemaunders.com
"There are three stages of twilight before evening- civil, nautical, and astronomical twilight. This piece, "Nightfall", will mirror these three stages in addition to evening as the fourth section. Musical changes of color, light, and texture will come from changes in combinations of modes, triads, orchestration, and other musical material. I will compose this piece with a blend of multiple contemporary and impressionistic compositional techniques as well as some of my own that I have been exploring over the last year. My structuring of this piece is partly inspired by the work of Arvo Pärt, the philosophical world of tintinnabuli, and a number of his specific compositional techniques: working with combinations of modes and triads as a way of mapping out and structuring a piece on micro and macro levels. I am currently exploring further, or perhaps in a different way, the spaces between these modes and triads. My process for composing this piece will involve watching a large number of sunsets while freely writing single lines of music in the moment. Free writing single lines of music is a daily discipline I have adopted and one I have found allows me to enter into a contemplative state of being."
Matthew W. Langford is a composer and trumpet player based in Denver, Colorado. Drawn to the nuance and complexities he sees in nature and in people, Langford’s compositional styles blend elements of both impressionism and expressionism to create worlds of sound and meaning that relate deeply with the human subconscious experience of the world. Some of his current compositional explorations involve transitional space, light and color play, and an unusual attention to how sound fills its environment. Langford holds a Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music and he is the Founder of Remnants Collaborative Arts. He resides west of Denver in Lakewood, Colorado with his wife, violist Nicole Langford.