Thursday, March 12, 2009

Classical Music Matters: At All Times One Must Look To The Future, As Well As Sideways And Straight Up

“On Tuesday, February 17, at a press conference held at Yoshi's in Oakland, Michael Morgan announced the winners of the New Visions/New Vistas commissioning project, made possible by a grant from The James Irvine Foundation. Scott Amendola, Benedikt Brydern, Rebeca Mauleón and Narada Michael Walden, all innovative composers with backgrounds in non-classical genres including jazz, Afro-Cuban, soul, R&B and electronic music, were selected by Morgan out of a total of 130 submissions.

Composers who are legal residents of California and have not had any of their music publicly performed by a professional symphony orchestra were eligible to enter samples of their work along with a written description of their proposed piece for the Oakland East Bay Symphony.

"The quality of the submissions and the imagination in many of the proposals made it difficult to choose only four composers," said Morgan. "There were at least ten composers I would commission if I could. I hope in the future to work with some of those not chosen today. The process was very enlightening."

Amendola, Brydern, Mauleón and Walden will be paired with composer mentors for an intensive, one-on-one creative process focused on the practical aspects of writing for symphony orchestra, including advice on score and parts preparation and orchestration. The distinguished mentors are Elinor Armer, David Conte, Laurie San Martin and Laurence Rosenthal. The four finished pieces will be performed and recorded by the Symphony in subscription concerts at the Paramount Theatre in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons.”

Oakland East Bay Symphony

Header: American classical composers Michael Morgan and John Baltimore were overlooked for next season by the guest conductor planning committee of the National Symphony Orchestra, in favor of three comparably experienced conductors who all happen to be European born and European professionally managed. They are shown above with their American classical music colleagues Harolyn Blackwell and Denyce Graves.

Photo credits: (c) Copyright controlled. All rights reserved. Via Oakland East Bay Symphony and D.C. Philharmonic websites. With thanks.


Washington, D.C. born John Baltimore has guest conducted orchestras all over the globe, including the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, the Oltenia Philharmonic in Romania, the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra in Russia, and the Cairo Symphony Orchestra in Egypt. In 2006, he recorded his first album with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, UK.


Michael Morgan was born and raised in Washington, D.C, where he attended public schools and began conducting at the age of 12. While a student at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, he spent a summer at the Oberlin College Conservatory at Tanglewood. There he was a student of Gunther Schuller and Seiji Ozawa, and it was at that time that he first worked with Leonard Bernstein.

In 1980, he won first prize in the Hans Swarovsky International Conductors Competition in Vienna, Austria and became Assistant Conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, under Leonard Slatkin. His operatic debut was in 1982 at the Vienna State Opera in Mozart's "The Abduction from the Seraglio". In 1986, Sir Georg Solti chose him to become the Assistant Conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for five years under both Georg Solti and Daniel Barenboim.



Blogger Garth Trinkl said...

E-mail received:

So much D.C. based talent! I went to high school with Michael Morgan. Harolyn Blackwell and Denyce Graves also are both from D.C. Coincidence, or something in the water?

7:28 AM  

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