Composers Festival Spotlight: Elizabeth A. Kelly

Elizabeth Kelly

Today, we begin a series of posts featuring the composers who will be taking part in the 2013 Mizzou International Composers Festival.

Our first subject is Elizabeth A. Kelly, one of this year’s eight resident composers, and someone who shares with MU’s Stefan Freund and many of the members of the Festival’s resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound a connection to the Eastman School of Music.

Born in New York and raised in the Los Angeles suburb of Los Altos Hills, Kelly earned her Ph.D. in composition from Eastman with the support of a Jacob Javits fellowship from the United States Department of Education and a Robert and Mary Sproull fellowship from the University of Rochester.

Prior to that, Kelly received her B.A. in music from Yale, and an M.M. in composition from the University of Michigan School of Music. She also was awarded a Frank Beebe Fellowship for studies at The Hague Royal Conservatory, where she earned a Master’s degree.

Since earning that degree, Kelly continues to make her home in The Hague – thus adding to the 2013 MICF’s international flavor – but has had her work performed at venues throughout the U.S. and Europe including Carnegie Hall and the Aspen, Bang on a Can Banglewood, Bowdoin, Brevard, Cabrillo, CCM Music03, Huddersfield, and Ostrava Days Festivals.

For example, earlier this year her piece “Addicted to Wah” received its world premiere performance from the Liverpool Philharmonic’s contemporary music ensemble, 10/10. You can read Kelly’s thoughts about creating the work in a blog entry she wrote for the website of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.

Other works of hers have been commissioned and performed by ensembles including the Ann Arbor Symphony, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra, New York Youth Symphony, Netherlands Youth Orchestra, Albany Symphony Dogs of Desire, ASKO Schoenberg, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, and California EAR Unit.

Kelly has been recognized with numerous honors, including two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, honorable mentions in the ASCAP Frederick Fennell and Rudolf Nissim competitions, second prize at the 2009 Apeldoorn Young Composers Meeting Final Competition and first prize at the 2011 Young Masters XXI competition in the Netherlands.

You can hear samples of Elizabeth A. Kelly’s music on her website, and you can hear an audio interview she did in 2010 with the podcast “No Extra Notes” here.

In the embedded video windows below, you can hear two pieces Kelly created recently for the duo SonoLab, which brings together instrument builders and composers to create cutting edge percussion works.

“SOS”

“Losing Touch” was composed by Kelly for PriZm, a new music instrument developed by Neon & Landa, aka Nanda Milbreta and Léon Spek, a sound-artist duo who make new acoustic instruments, sound sculptures and sound installations.

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