Archive for July 6th, 2010

Spotlight on Paul Dooley

Here’s another in our series of profiles of the resident composers at the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival:

Paul M. Dooley (pictured) is a composer, pianist, and percussionist currently working for his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Michigan, where he is the Graduate Student Instructor in Electronic Music.

He was born and raised in Santa Rosa, CA and began composing music at age 12. His work today is inspired by dance, nature and travel, and has earned praise from famed composer Steve Reich, who said Dooley has “clearly learned how to deal with the orchestra,” and the Omaha World-Herald, which wrote that his music “shimmered beautifully.”

“El Mirador” (2010), about Paul’s travels to ancient Mayan ruins in Guatemala, was named the winner of the Pacific Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble’s American Composers Competition, which resulted in a commission for that group. Dooley’s composition “Dani’s Dance” (2007) received a 2008 Morton Gould Young Composer Award, and “Encaenia” (2008) was featured in a master class with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. His orchestral work Pomo Canyon Air (2005) has been performed by five different orchestras and read by the Detroit Symphony, conducted by Leonard Slatkin.

Dooley also earned a degree in music composition and a second bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Southern California. Recent awards include a fellowship from the Aspen Music Festival and commissions from the Michigan Music Teachers Association and members of the San Francisco Ballet. You can hear samples of many of Dooley’s compositions and see copies of his scores on his website.

You can see performances of two of Dooley’s works in the embedded video windows below. The first clip shows part one of his composition “Pagoda” (2010), as performed by vibraphonist Samuel Livingston and the Yersinia Saxophone Quartet, with Robert Young, soprano sax; Zachary Stern, alto sax; Joseph Girard, tenor sax; and Daniel Blumenthal, baritone sax. (Part two can be seen here.)

In the second window, you can see cellist Paul Dywer performing the first movement of  “Gradus,” a composition for solo cello in seven movements. Originally commissioned by the Michigan Music Teachers Association and written especially for Dwyer, it was first performed at the MMTA State Conference in October 2009, and received the BMI Student Composer Award in 2010. (You also can watch online videos of Dwyer playing movements no. 2, 5, 6 and 7.)

Spotlight on Amy Beth Kirsten

Here’s another in our series of profiles of the resident composers taking part in this year’s Mizzou New Music Summer Festival:

Born in East St. Louis, Illinois, Amy Beth Kirsten grew up in Kansas City and Chicago, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Vocal Jazz Studies from Benedictine University and a master’s degree in Composition from Chicago College of Performing Arts.

She currently lives and works in New Haven, CT, and graduated from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in May 2010 with a doctorate in music composition.

Kirsten was honored in 2009 to have the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Marin Alsop, read her new orchestra piece “The Girl He Drew.” In 2009 she also held a Creative Arts residency at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center in Italy; was a finalist for the 2009 Rome Prize in Musical Composition; and held summer composition fellowships at the Norfolk New Music Workshop and Bang on a Can Summer Festival.

Previously, Kirsten was chosen to participate in the American Composers Orchestra’s 16th Annual Underwood New Music Readings and won the 2006-07 Volti Choral Arts Lab Commissioning and Residency competition in San Francisco. She also recently was named a 2010 Composer Fellow for the Music10 New Music Festival in Switzerland with 8th Blackbird.

In addition to participating in the Mizzou New Music Summer Festival, Kirsten has another recent Missouri connection. Previously, she was commissioned by Missouri Verses and Voices to create a musical setting for “Hall of Waters” by Missouri Poet Laureate Walter Bargen, which had its debut performance in February 2010 at the Capitol in Jefferson City.

Before moving to the East Coast, Kirsten was a regular fixture on the Chicago singer/songwriter scene, performing at such venues as Fitzgerald’s Nightclub, Quenchers Saloon, The Subterranean, Katerina’s, and Uncommon Ground. She got her start as a singer by studying the great improvisors of jazz, and continues to use the skills developed in her jazz training as a tool in her work as a composer of contemporary concert music.

To hear samples of Amy Beth Kirsten’s music, you can visit her website.

In the embedded video window below, you can see a performance of part one of Kirsten’s composition “Little Falling Red,” which was written for Norfolk New Music Workshop. (For more about the piece, see Kirsten’s comments to NYC classical music radio station WQXR here.) The video was made July 3, 2009, and features soprano Alice Teyssier and the Norfolk New Music Ensemble, withe Sarunas Jankauskas, clarinet; Jennifer Griggs, trombone; Chun-Chien Chuang, violin; Brian Ellingson, double bass; Julia Den Boer, piano; and Ian Rosenbaum, percussion.

Mizzou New Music Summer Festival featured in Columbia Daily Tribune

The Mizzou New Music Summer Festival was the subject of a couple of stories published this past Sunday, July 4 in the Columbia Daily Tribune.

Staff writer Aarik Danielsen penned an extensive overview of the festival, covering its concept and origins, guest composers and performers, and more. You can read his article online here.

Danielsen also wrote a profile of one of the Festival’s resident composers, Jeremy Podgursky, which you can see here.

UPDATE: You can read the entire unedited Q&A session with Podgursky on the Tribune‘s “Art Axis” blog. The Tribune‘s Danielsen also promises ongoing coverage throughout the festival, so you may want to bookmark the Art Axis main page.