Posts Tagged ‘ Nina Shekhar

Composers Festival spotlight: Nina Shekhar

Resident composer Nina Shekhar is a first generation Indian American who grew up in Detroit and now lives in New Jersey, where she is pursuing her PhD in composition at Princeton University.

She previously completed composition graduate studies at the University of Southern California and undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan, earning dual degrees in composition and chemical engineering.

Shekhar (pictured) has the unusual distinction of having three of her pieces programmed as part of the 2021 MICF. The new work she wrote as a resident composer, “Turn Your Feet Around,” will be performed by Alarm Will Sound as part of the “World Premieres II” online concert on Saturday, July 31.

In addition, her composition “Don’t Beat a Word” will be performed by Khemia Ensemble during the “Mizzou New Music” online concert on Wednesday, July 28, and “[redact]” will be presented as part of the ANTiCX event “Entry Points of Empathy” on Friday, July 30. (Shekhar is only the second composer to have three works performed during one year of the MICF; the first was resident composer inti figgis-vizueta in 2019.)

Her other recent and upcoming events include performances by the New York Philharmonic, LA Philharmonic (with soloists Nathalie Joachim and Pamela Z), Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and New World Symphony. More current projects include commissions for the Grand Rapids Symphony, Albany Symphony, The Crossing, 45th Parallel Universe Chamber Orchestra (sponsored by GLFCAM), saxophonist Timothy McAllister, and Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) (sponsored by LA Phil and New Music USA).

Shekhar’s music has been commissioned and performed by leading artists including Eighth Blackbird, International Contemporary Ensemble, LA Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, JACK Quartet, and many more. Her work has been featured at venues including Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Walt Disney Concert Hall (LA Phil’s Noon to Midnight), Library of Congress, National Gallery of Art, National Sawdust, and numerous others.

Shekhar recently was appointed as the 2021-2023 Composer-in-Residence for Young Concert Artists. She also is the recipient of the 2021 Rudolf Nissim Prize; two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, in 2015 and 2019; and the 2018 ASCAP Foundation Leonard Bernstein Award.

An active educator, Shekhar is a composer teaching artist fellow for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and is on faculty at the Idyllwild Arts Academy and Brightwork newmusic‘s Project Beacon initiative. She also has held composition residencies at Western Michigan University and Portland State University, and recently served as an inaugural debut fellow of the Young Musicians Foundation, mentored by violinist and social activist Vijay Gupta.

In addition to composing, Shekhar also works as a flutist, pianist, and saxophonist. She has performed in the Detroit International Jazz Festival and as a soloist with the USC Thornton Symphony and the Lublin Philharmonic in the Poland International Piano Festival.

You can hear samples of Nina Shekhar’s music on her SoundCloud page and in the embedded players below.

“red,” recorded February 23, 2020 at First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica, featuring the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, with Robert Walker (oboe), Yasmina Spiegelberg (clarinet), Jessica Maxfield (alto sax), Benjamin Mitchell (bass clarinet), and Nick Akdag (bassoon).

Cajón,” performed in March 2021 by Barry Gold (cello).

“DEAR ABBY,” recorded in August 2020 as part of Dogs of Desire’s series “Hot w/Mustard.”

Composers Festival spotlight: ANTiCX

Founded in 2021, ANTiCX is an artist collective of composers and makers. The group’s name is an acronym of the first letters of the first names of its members. They are (pictured clockwise from upper left):

Annika Socolofsky is a composer and avant-folk vocalist who is assistant professor of composition and artistic director of Pendulum New Music at the University of Colorado Boulder

Nina Shekhar currently is pursuing her PhD in composition at Princeton University. She is a composer teaching artist fellow for Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and is on faculty at Idyllwild Arts Academy and Brightwork newmusic‘s Project Beacon initiative.

Tanner Porter is a composer-performer and songwriter. She earned her BM in composition from the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance, and an MM in composition from the Yale School of Music.

inti figgis-vizueta is a composer who maintains a private studio in New York City, with regular guest composition workshops and presentations of her practice at music programs around the country.

Carolina Heredia is a composer of acoustic and electronic music, intermedia producer, violinist, and educator. She currently is assistant professor of music composition at the University of Missouri, and the assistant director of the Mizzou New Music Initiative.

Xuan is a new media artist, filmmaker, and pianist working at the intersection of music, visual art, and technology. She currently teaches experimental filmmaking as an adjunct professor of humanities at Eastman School of Music and works as a freelance video artist.

ANTiCX will debut at the 2021 Mizzou International Composers Festival with “Entry Points of Empathy,” an online multimedia performance on Friday, July 30. The program will feature individual and collaborative works, including a live “sound sculpture,” with live performances by Mizzou faculty member Wesley Warnhoff (clarinet), Mizzou student Eve Werger (piano), and guest artists Leigh Muñoz (bassoon) and Ellen Sommer (piano).

It also will include a video art premiere by guest artist Katina Bitsicas, assistant professor in Mizzou’s School of Visual Studies, in collaboration with MU alumni Wilson Minshall.

The works to be performed are:
Nina Shekhar – “[redact]”
Tanner Porter – “Two movements for clarinet” (world premiere)
Carolina Heredia – “Tango Americano”
Xuan – “Interludes 1 and 2” (world premiere)
Annika Socolofsky – “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows: the meantime”
inti figgis-vizueta – “a bridge between starshine and clay”
Katina Bitsicas and Wilson Minshall – “Eye Thorn Forrest” (world premiere)
ANTiCX – “Entry Points of Empathy” (world premiere)

The title work “Entry Points of Empathy” is “a piece for fixed media, live improvisation and sound sculpture that explores communication through both personal and technological lenses,” said Carolina Heredia. “The visuals draw from the sounds directly with some being generated in real-time and others interpreted through pre-made animations. Each composer’s sound is connected to a distinct visual aesthetic and then pieced together like a mosaic on the Olga 3D screens structure.”

You can hear samples of music composed by the members of ANTiCX at their individual websites, linked above, and in the embedded players below.

“Rise” by Annika Socolofsky, recorded in October 2018 at Princeton University by Jonathan Hulting-Cohen (alto sax) and Nicholas Shaneyfelt (piano) .

“if these walls” by Nina Shakhar, recorded in May 2021 by Left Coast Chamber Ensemble .

“Propellers in the Sun” by Tanner Porter, performed by the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Kenneth Kiesler.

“Openwork, knotted object”/”Trellis in bloom”/”lightning ache” by inti figgis-vizueta, recorded in June 2019 at National Sawdust in Brooklyn, NY by the National Sawdust Ensemble, featuring Allison Loggins-Hull (flute), Oran Etkin (clarinet), Sugar Vendil (piano), Ian Rosenbaum (percussion), Miranda Cuckson (violin), Jeffrey Zeigler (cello), and Charles Hagaman (technician), conducted by Lidiya Yankovskaya.

“Ausencias” by Carolina Heredia, recorded in 2016 by JACK Quartet.

“Reactions” is an experimental animation created in 2016 by Xuan in collaboration with composer Tomek Arnold.

Mizzou International Composers Festival to return
July 26-31 with nine world premieres and more

After a year in which the COVID-19 pandemic forced last-minute changes in programming, the Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF) is back in 2021 in a more familiar form.

Presented Monday, July 26 through Saturday, July 31 by the Mizzou New Music Initiative (MNMI) and the University of Missouri School of Music, the twelfth annual MICF will showcase the world premieres of new works from nine resident composers and more, with all four concerts streamed online for free. The schedule of performances is:

Tuesday, July 27: “World Premieres I,” featuring resident ensemble Alarm Will Sound performing new works by three of the festival’s resident composers, plus the premiere of an excerpt from distinguished guest composer David T. Little’s monodrama “What Belongs to You,” featuring singer Karim Sulayman.

Wednesday, July 28: “Mizzou New Music,” featuring the Mizzou New Music Ensemble playing music by David Little and Chen Yi, and Khemia Ensemble premiering new works by Stefan Freund, Phillip Sink, and Nina Shekhar.

Friday, July 30: “Entry Points of Empathy,” a world premiere multi-media event with music composed by inti figgis-vizueta, Carolina Heredia, Tanner Porter, Annika Socolofsky, and Nina Shekhar, performed by Mizzou faculty and guests, plus video interludes and live graphics by Xuan Zhang.

Saturday, July 31: “World Premieres II,” featuring Alarm Will Sound performing new works from six resident composers, plus the American premiere of Stefan Freund’s arrangement of “Sparkle” by distinguished guest composer Chen Yi.

All concerts will begin at 7:30 p.m. Central Daylight Time, and can be viewed on the Mizzou New Music Facebook page and on the University of Missouri School of Music YouTube channel.

The concerts on Tuesday and Saturday will feature world premieres of new works written by each of the festival’s nine resident composers. Listed with their current places of residence, they are:

(Four of the composers – Alcocer, Fitzpatrick, Mortilla and Shekar – were newly selected this year to participate in the 2021 MICF; the other five originally were chosen for the 2020 MICF, but their works could not be premiered when COVID-related restrictions forced the festival to be reconfigured. Three more composers chosen in 2020 were unable to participate this year, but will be invited to be part of a future festival.)

The MICF’s distinguished guest composers for 2021 are Chen Yi and David T. Little. Chen is a distinguished professor of composition at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. A finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Music for her composition “Si Ji” (“Four Seasons”), she was born and raised in Guangzhou, China and is known as a prolific composer who blends Chinese and Western traditions, transcending cultural and musical boundaries.

Little currently chairs the composition program at Mannes – The New School in New York City. He previously served as Executive Director of MATA and on the board of directors at Chamber Music America, and from 2014–2017 was composer-in-residence with Opera Philadelphia and Music-Theatre Group.

During the festival, the resident composers will receive composition lessons from Chen and Little and take part via Zoom in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound. The resident composers also will give public presentations online about their music, and after the premiere performances, will receive professional live recordings of their new works.

For more information on the 2021 Mizzou International Composers Festival, including a complete schedule of events, times, and dates, please visit http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/.

Mizzou International Composers Festival announces resident composers for 2021

Clockwise from top left: Ana Paola Santillán Alcocer, Daniel Fitzpatrick, Paul Mortilla & Nina Shekhar

The Mizzou New Music Initiative (MNMI) has selected four resident composers to participate in the 2021 Mizzou International Composers Festival (MICF).

Presented by MNMI and the University of Missouri School of Music from Monday, July 26 through Saturday, July 31 in Columbia, the twelfth annual MICF will feature world premieres of new works written by each of the selected composers. Listed with their current places of residence, they are:

* Ana Paola Santillán Alcocer – Mexico City, Mexico
* Daniel Fitzpatrick – Columbia, MO
* Paul Mortilla – Coral Gables, FL
* Nina Shekhar – Princeton, NJ

These four composers will be featured in the 2021 MICF along with the eight composers who were chosen for the 2020 festival, but whose works could not be premiered when COVID-related restrictions forced the festival to be reconfigured as an online event.

Those composers are Yu Kuwabara (Tokyo, Japan), Pascal Le Boeuf (New York, NY), Shuying Li (Spokane, WA), Celka Ojakangas (Los Angeles, CA), DM R (Diana M. Rodriguez) (New York, NY), Niko Schroeder (Columbia, MO), Andrew Tholl (Los Angeles, CA), and Felipe Tovar-Henao (Bloomington, IN).

The premieres of the new works from all 12 composers will be presented during festival week in two concerts, six per concert, along with music by the distinguished guest composers. However, because the COVID pandemic makes future conditions difficult to predict, MNMI will have several contingent plans for the 2021 MICF if safety concerns, University policy, or state or local laws make it impossible to present the festival “in-person” on the campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Those plans may include (but are not limited to) an online-only festival, a limited in-person experience, or some combination of online and in-person activities, such as additional concerts featuring music from the guest composers and other contemporary creators, workshops, master classes, and other events.

The Festival’s distinguished guest composers for 2021 will be Chen Yi and David T. Little. Chen is a distinguished professor of composition at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. A finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Music for her composition “Si Ji” (“Four Seasons”), she was born and raised in Guangzhou, China and is known as a prolific composer who blends Chinese and Western traditions, transcending cultural and musical boundaries.

Little currently chairs the composition program at Mannes – The New School in New York City. He previously served as Executive Director of MATA and on the board of directors at Chamber Music America, and from 2014–2017 was composer-in-residence with Opera Philadelphia and Music-Theatre Group.

The acclaimed new music group Alarm Will Sound, conducted by artistic director Alan Pierson, once again will serve as resident ensemble, as they have since the MICF began in 2010.

During the festival, the resident composers will receive composition lessons from Chen and Little and, if conditions permit, take part in rehearsals with Alarm Will Sound. The composers also will give public presentation on their music, and after the premiere performance, will receive professional live recordings of their new works.

A complete schedule of events, times, dates and venues for the 2021 Mizzou International Composers Festival will be announced at a later date. For more information, please visit http://composersfestival.missouri.edu/.