The New York Philharmonic
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100 years ago, American women gained the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment.
This year, the New York Philharmonic introduces Project 19 — a multi-year initiative to commission and premiere 19 new works by 19 women composers — the largest women-only commissioning initiative in history.
Project 19 was born of the conviction that an orchestra can participate in conversations about social imperatives and even change the status quo. Through Project 19, the Philharmonic can mark a “tectonic shift in American culture,” says President and CEO Deborah Borda, by giving women composers a platform and catalyzing representation in classical music and beyond. Project 19 launches in February 2020 with the first six World Premieres. The Orchestra will premiere the next two commissions in May–June 2020. 11 more premieres will follow in future seasons.
Writes music that appeals and challenges
Strives to create unique sonic environments that have wide appeal while still challenging boundaries and perception
The music of New York–based composer Nina C. Young is characterized by an acute sensitivity to tone color, manifested in aural images of vibrant, arresting immediacy. Her experience in the electronic music studio informs her acoustic work, which takes as its given not melody and harmony, but sound itself, continuously metamorphosing from one state to another. Her musical voice draws from elements of the classical canon, modernism, spectralism, American experimentalism, minimalism, electronic music, and popular idioms. Her projects strive to create unique sonic environments that can be appreciated by a wide variety of audiences while challenging stylistic boundaries, auditory perception, and notions of temporality.
Ms. Young’s works have been presented by Carnegie Hall, National Gallery of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Next on Grand, and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series. Her music has garnered international acclaim through performances by the American Composers, Milwaukee Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, and Phoenix Symphony orchestras and Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Argento Chamber Ensemble, Either / Or, JACK Quartet, mise-en, wild Up, and Yarn / Wire. Winner of the 2015–16 Rome Prize at the American Academy in Rome, Ms. Young has also received a Koussevitzky Commission, Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship, Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Salvatore Martirano Memorial Award, Aspen Music Festival’s Jacob Druckman Prize, and honors from BMI, IAWM, and ASCAP / SEAMUS. Recent commissions include a violin concerto for Jennifer Koh from The Philadelphia Orchestra and a new work for the American Brass Quintet and EMPAC’s wavefield synthesis audio system.
A graduate of McGill University and MIT, Nina C. Young completed her DMA at Columbia University. She is assistant professor of composition at USC’s Thornton School of Music and a visiting composer at the Peabody Institute. She is co-artistic director of New York’s Ensemble Échappé.
Pushes vocal boundaries
Composer, performer, sound artist, and actor who pushes the boundaries of the human voice
Joan La Barbara — composer, performer, sound artist, and actor — is renowned for her unique vocabulary of experimental and extended vocal techniques, influencing generations of composers and singers. Awards include the Foundation for Contemporary Arts John Cage Award (2016); Premio Internazionale Demetrio Stratos; DAAD-Berlin and Civitella Ranieri Artist-in-Residencies; Guggenheim Fellowship; seven National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and The American Music Center’s Letter of Distinction for her significant contributions to contemporary American music. Her numerous commissions include composing for multiple voices, chamber ensembles, orchestra, interactive technology, and soundscores for dance, video, and film, including for voice and electronics for Sesame Street, broadcast worldwide since 1977. Her multilayered textural compositions were presented at Brisbane Biennial, Festival d’Automne à Paris, Warsaw Autumn, MaerzMusik Berlin, and Lincoln Center, among others. She was artistic director of the multiyear Carnegie Hall series When Morty Met John, and co-founder of the performing composers collective Ne(x)tworks.
Ms. La Barbara’s film work includes appearing as actor in artist Matthew Barney’s River of Fundament and Aleksandar Kostic’s award-winning Parallel Dreams; with Jóhann Jóhannsson, she co-composed cues for Arrival (2016), incorporating her original music from Erin. Recordings include ShamanSong, Sound Paintings, Voice is the Original Instrument, Tapesongs, 73 Poems, and The Early Immersive Music of Joan La Barbara. For her sound painting in solitude this fear is lived, inspired by Agnes Martin’s minimalist drawings, she seated the American Composers Orchestra around and among the audience in Carnegie’s Zankel Hall.
Joan La Barbara is a member of the Music Composition Artist Faculty at New York University and the College of Performing Arts Faculty at Mannes / The New School. Composer and publisher member of ASCAP, and member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA, she is composing a new opera, Dreams of Water Beyond One’s Depth, with a libretto by Monique Truong inspired by the lives and work of Virginia Woolf and Joseph Cornell.
Writes for video games, vintage games, karaoke tapes
Writes music incorporating video game consoles, ouija boards, vintage games, and karaoke tapes
Nicole Lizée is a Montreal-based, award winning composer and video artist. Her music and video reflect inspiration from an eclectic mix of influences including the earliest MTV videos, turntablism, rave culture, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Cage, Alexander McQueen, and 1960s psychedelia. She is fascinated by the glitches made by outmoded and well-worn technology and captures, notates, and melds them into live performance.
Ms. Lizée’s compositions include works for orchestra and solo turntablist, featuring techniques fully notated and integrated into a concert music setting, and other unorthodox instrument combinations, including works calling for the Atari 2600 video game console, omnichords, stylophones, Simon™, Merlin™, ouija boards, and karaoke tapes. In the broad scope of her evolving oeuvre she explores such themes as malfunction, reviving the obsolete, and the harnessing of imperfection and glitch to create a new kind of precision and expression.
She has been commissioned by more than 50 organizations, including the Kronos Quartet, BBC Proms, San Francisco Symphony, Carnegie Hall, Sō Percussion, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Bang On A Can, s t a r g a z e, Ecstatic Music Festival, Southbank Sinfonia, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and Banff Centre. Ms. Lizée’s works are regularly performed worldwide to international acclaim, and she has received several awards, including the Canada Council for the Arts Jules Léger Prize, Prix Opus Composer of the Year, SOCAN Jan. V. Matejcek Award, and the Canada Council Robert Fleming Prize for achievements in composition. She has received two JUNO nominations for composition of the year. Ms. Lizée is a Lucas Artists Fellow (California) and a Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellow (Italy). In 2016 she was selected by acclaimed composer and conductor Howard Shore to be his protégée as part of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards.
Nicole Lizée is a Korg and Arturia artist.
Empowers female, trans, and non-binary composers
Started the Hildegard Competition for emerging female, trans, and non-binary composers
Composer Paola Prestini is co-founder and artistic director of the Brooklyn-based arts institution and incubator National Sawdust. Since 1999, when she co-founded the multimedia production company VisionIntoArt (subsequently re-launched as National Sawdust Projects), she has collaborated with poets, filmmakers, and scientists in large-scale multimedia works that chart her interest in extra-musical themes ranging from the cosmos to the environment. She was recently named an “Innovator” on the list of Top 30 Professionals of the Year by Musical America; she is on Brooklyn Magazine’s latest list of “influencers of Brooklyn culture … in perpetuity,” alongside US Senator Charles Schumer and film director Spike Lee; and is one of the Top 35 Female Composers in Classical Music (Washington Post). As part of her commitment to the next generation and equity, she started the Hildegard Competition for emerging female, trans, and non-binary composers and the Blueprint Fellowship for emerging composers with The Juilliard School.
Ms. Prestini’s works have been commissioned by and performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Barbican Centre, Cannes Film Festival, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Los Angeles Philharmonic, LA Opera, Roomful of Teeth, Choir of Trinity Wall Street, and Young People’s Chorus, among others. Her next steps include the following commissions: the grand opera Edward Tulane (Minnesota Opera), the chamber opera Sensorium Ex (Atlanta Opera and Beth Morrison Projects PROTOTYPE Festival), and the foley chamber opera Silent Light (Banff’s Opera in the 21st Century). She is writing a piano concerto for Awadagin Pratt and A Far Cry; a piano concerto for Lara Downes and the Louisville Symphony, Oregon Bach Festival, and Ravinia; and music for The Amazon, a documentary and arts event (and follow up to Murat Eyuboglu’s The Colorado) recently screened at the Margaret Mead Film Festival at the American Museum of Natural History. She has collaborated with artists such as writers Mark Campbell, Rinde Eckert, Brenda Shaughnessy, and Royce Vavrek; astrophysicist Mario Livio and conservationist William deBuys; VR writer and director Eliza McNitt; throat singer Tanya Tagaq; directors Julian Crouch and Robert Wilson; and musicians including Helga Davis and Jeffrey Zeigler. A graduate of The Juilliard School, she was a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow and a Sundance Fellow.
Named Dance Theatre of Harlem’s first music director
Pulitzer Prize nominee and first music director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem
Born in Havana, Cuba, Tania León is highly regarded as a composer and conductor, and recognized for her accomplishments as an educator and advisor to arts organizations. A longtime resident of New York, she has played important roles at its institutions, such as the Dance Theater of Harlem, Brooklyn Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra and its Sonidos de las Américas festivals, and the New York Philharmonic, which she served as New Music Advisor.
Ms. León is the founder and artistic director of Composers Now, a nonprofit in New York City that celebrates the diversity of composers in the city and honors their contributions to the cultural fabric of society. A professor at Brooklyn College since 1985 and at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), she was named Distinguished Professor Emeritus of CUNY in 2006.
Her recent commissions include works for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), and Ursula Oppens with the Cassatt Quartet. Ms. León is at work on her second opera, The Little Rock Nine, to a libretto by Thulani Davis, with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., serving as historical consultant; the opera was commissioned by the University of Central Arkansas College of Fine Arts and Communication. Her first opera, Scourge of Hyacinths, based on a play by Wole Soyinka with staging and design by Robert Wilson, received more than 20 performances in France, Switzerland, and Mexico.
Tania León has received Grammy and Latin Grammy nominations for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. She has appeared as guest conductor throughout the US and on all continents of the world. Her honors include induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; recognition from the Fromm, Koussevitzky, and Guggenheim foundations; the ASCAP Victor Herbert Award; and a 2018 United States Artists Fellowship.
Won 2019 Pulitzer Prize / co-founded Luna Lab
2019 Pulitzer Prize winner and co-founder of the Luna Composition Lab, for young self-identified female and gender non-conforming composers
Ellen Reid is a composer and sound artist whose breadth of work spans opera, sound design, film scoring, and ensemble and choral writing. She was awarded the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Music for her opera p r i s m. Musicians from the New York Philharmonic performed a selection from her Pulitzer Prize–winning work on the GRoW @ Annenberg Sound ON series in 2019.
Along with composer Missy Mazzoli, Ellen Reid co-founded the Luna Composition Lab, a mentorship program for young, female-identifying, non-binary, and gender non-conforming composers. She has served as creative advisor and composer-in-residence for Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra since fall 2019.
Ellen Reid received her BFA from Columbia University and her MA from California Institute of the Arts. She is inspired by music from all over the globe, and she splits her time between her two favorite cities: Los Angeles and New York. Her music is released on Decca Gold.
First woman commissioned by Vienna Staatsoper
First woman commissioned by the Vienna Staatsoper for her 2019 opera, Orlando, based on Virginia Woolf’s gender-fluid novel
Born in Graz, Austria, Olga Neuwirth attended the Vienna Academy of Music and San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and studied painting and film at San Francisco Art College. Her composition teachers included Adriana Hölszky, Tristan Murail, and Luigi Nono. She sprang to international prominence in 1991, at age 22, when two of her mini operas with texts by Nobel Prize–winner Elfriede Jelinek were performed at the Vienna Festwochen.
Highlights of her presentations worldwide include two Salzburg Festival portrait concerts (1998); her multimedia opera Baa-Lambs Fest (1993 / 1998) with Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek after Leonora Carrington; Clinamen / Nodus for Boulez and the London Symphony Orchestra (2000); serving as Lucerne Festival composer-in-residence (2002 / 2016); the World Premiere of her music-theatre work Lost Highway (2003), after David Lynch (English National Opera, 2008; South Bank Show Award); and the operas The Outcast — Homage to Herman Melville and American Lulu, based on Berg’s Lulu (2010 / 11).
Olga Neuwirth’s works have explored a range of forms and genres: operas, radio plays, sound installations, art works, photography, and film music. From early on she fused live musicians, electronics, and video into an immersive audio-visual experience. Her numerous prizes include being the first woman to receive the Grand Austrian State Prize in the music category (2010).
Her immersive electronics / space / ensemble work Le Encantadas (2014) has received multiple performances throughout Europe. Masaot / Clocks without Hands, for the Vienna Philharmonic under and Daniel Harding, was premiered in 2015, and reprised by co-commissioner Carnegie Hall, conducted by Valery Gergiev; The Cleveland Orchestra, under Franz Welser Möst, performs it in autumn 2019.
The BBC Proms programmed Aello-ballet mecanomorphe in 2018 for Claire Chase and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Neuwirth’s Orlando, a new opera after Virginia Woolf, will be premiered at Vienna Staatsoper in December 2019 — she is the first woman commissioned in the house’s 150-year history.
Writing an opera about Hildegard von Bingen
Composing an opera on the life and legacy of prolific medieval composer, nun, mystic, and polymath Hildegard von Bingen
Sarah Kirkland Snider’s compositions have been commissioned and performed by the New York Philharmonic (which presented her trio Thread and Fray on its new-music series in 2018) as well as the Residentie Orkest Den Haag, American Composers Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the San Francisco, National, Detroit, Indianapolis, and North Carolina symphony orchestras; percussionist Colin Currie, violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, and vocalist Shara Nova; and eighth blackbird, The Knights, Ensemble Signal, yMusic, and Roomful of Teeth, among many others.
Her music has been heard at New York’s Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, as well as at Washington, DC’s Kennedy Center, Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, and London’s Wigmore Hall, and at festivals including Big Ears, BAM Next Wave, Cross-linx, Aspen, Ecstatic, and Sundance. Her two orchestral song cycle records, Penelope (2010) and Unremembered (2015), graced top five lists on NPR, The Washington Post, The Nation, and Time Out New York.
Recent and upcoming commissions include Mass for the Endangered, for Trinity Wall Street Choir and NOVUS NY; Embrace, a 40-minute orchestral ballet for Birmingham Royal Ballet; and O Ecclesia, an opera co-commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects.
The winner of Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s 2014 Elaine Lebenbom Award, Sarah Kirkland Snider has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Opera America, New Music USA, the Sorel Organization, and the Jerome Composers Commissioning Fund. A co-founder and co-artistic director of Brooklyn-based non-profit New Amsterdam Records, she has an M.A. and A.D. from the Yale School of Music, and a B.A. from Wesleyan University. Her music is published by G. Schirmer.
Won Philharmonic’s Kravis Prize for New Music
Winner of The Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music at the New York Philharmonic in 2018
Unsuk Chin was born in 1961 and has lived in Germany since 1985. She studied with Sukhi Kang in Seoul and with György Ligeti in Hamburg. Her music has attracted the attention of international conductors including Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Kent Nagano, Gustavo Dudamel, Alan Gilbert, Myung-Whun Chung, Susanna Mälkki, David Robertson, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Leif Segerstam, Markus Stenz, Hannu Lintu, Peter Eötvös, Jakub Hrůša, George Benjamin, Marc Albrecht, Kazushi Ono, and François-Xavier Roth. Ms. Chin’s career has been celebrated with a series of new-music awards, which so far include the 1985 Gaudeamus Award, the 2004 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition for her Violin Concerto, the 2005 Arnold Schoenberg Prize, the 2010 Prince Pierre Foundation Music Award, the 2012 Ho-Am Prize, the 2017 Wihuri Sibelius Prize, and, now, The Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music at the New York Philharmonic. She has been composer-in-residence of the Lucerne Festival, Festival d’Automne, Stockholm International Composer Festival, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Cologne Philharmonic’s Eight Bridges festival, São Paulo Symphony, Casa da Música, BBC Symphony’s Total Immersion Festival, Melbourne Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, and many others. In 2007 Ms. Chin’s first opera, Alice in Wonderland, received its World Premiere at the Bavarian Staatsoper, opening the Munich Opera Festival. Portrait CDs and DVDs of Ms. Chin’s music have appeared on the Deutsche Grammophon, Kairos, Unitel, and Analekta labels. Regularly commissioned by leading performing organizations around the world, her music has been performed by the New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, and Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, among others. Unsuk Chin has also been active as a concert curator, overseeing the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra’s Ars Nova series (which she founded) from 2006 to 2017 and serving as artistic director of the Music of Today series at London’s Philharmonia Orchestra since 2011. Her works are published exclusively by Boosey & Hawkes.
Writes music as documentary to explore conflict
Draws on her Armenian heritage and interest in music as documentary to explore social and political conflicts
Composer Mary Kouyoumdjian’s projects range from concert works to multimedia collaborations and film scores. As a first generation Armenian-American and having come from a family directly affected by the Lebanese Civil War and Armenian Genocide, she uses a sonic palette that draws on her heritage, interest in music as documentary, and background in experimental composition to explore social and political conflicts. In 2016 the New York Philharmonic presented Become Who I Am, comprising her interviews with teenagers in the Brooklyn Youth Chorus about gender barriers. She has received commissions from the Kronos Quartet, New York Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Alarm Will Sound, Roomful of Teeth, OPERA America, Beth Morrison Projects, American Composers Forum, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, REDSHIFT, The Nouveau Classical Project, Music of Remembrance, Friction Quartet, and Experiments in Opera. She is pursuing her DMA in composition at Columbia University; holds an MA in composition from Columbia University and an MA in scoring for film and multimedia from New York University; and a BA in composition from the University of California–San Diego. Ms. Kouyoumdjian is a co-founder of the annual new-music conference New Music Gathering and is on the composition faculty of Mannes Prep.
Inspired by scientific phenomena, visual art, languages
Inspired by scientific phenomena, visual art, languages, and the propagation of sound
Caroline Mallonee is a composer and performer based in Buffalo, NY. Her music has been programmed at venues in New York City including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, Merkin Hall, Bargemusic, Tenri Cultural Center, Town Hall, Roulette, and Tonic, as well as further afield at the Long Leaf Opera Festival (NC), Carlsbad Music Festival (CA), Bennington Chamber Music Conference (VT), Cambridge Music Festival (UK), Tokyo Opera City (Japan), Corcoran Gallery (Washington, DC), Turner Ballroom (Milwaukee, WI) ,and Jordan Hall (Boston, MA).
Inspired by scientific phenomena, visual art, languages, and the propagation of sound, Ms. Mallonee has been commissioned by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Spektral Quartet, Firebird Ensemble, Present Music, Wet Ink Ensemble, Antares, PRISM Quartet, Ciompi Quartet, and the Buffalo Chamber Players, for whom she serves as composer-in-residence. In 2015 Musicians from the New York Philharmonic performed her music on its new-music series at National Sawdust in 2015. She has been recognized through commissions and awards from the Fromm Foundation, Meet The Composer, Jerome Fund for New Music, and ASCAP, from which she received a Morton Gould Young Composers Award.
Ms. Mallonee is a professional singer in the Vocalis Chamber Choir and director of the Walden School Creative Musicians Retreat, a week-long festival for composers and improvisers held in New Hampshire each June.
Caroline Mallonee holds degrees from Harvard University, Yale School of Music, and Duke University, and in 2005 she received a Fulbright Fellowship to the Netherlands, where she studied with Louis Andriessen.
Influenced by Lower East Side activist upbringing
Born and raised on the Lower East Side, where her parents would take her to rallies, performances, and parties
Composer, violinist, and educator Jessie Montgomery is the recipient of the Leonard Bernstein Award from the ASCAP Foundation. Performed frequently around the world, her works interweave classical music with elements of vernacular music, improvisation, language, and social justice, placing her squarely as one of the most relevant interpreters of 21st-century American sound and experience. Her music has been described as “turbulent, wildly colorful and exploding with life” (The Washington Post). In the 2019–20 season, her new works will be premiered by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the National Choral Society, and ASCAP Foundation. She is working with Jannina Norpoth to reimagine Scott Joplin’s opera Treemonisha, produced by Volcano Theatre and co-commissioned by Washington Performing Arts, Stanford University, London’s Southbank Centre, Ottawa’s National Arts Centre, and the Banff Centre for the Arts. Since 1999 she has been affiliated with the Sphinx Organization, which supports young African-American and Latinx string players. She currently serves as composer-in-residence for the Sphinx Virtuosi, the organization’s professional touring ensemble. A graduate of The Juilliard School and New York University, Jessie Montgomery is currently a graduate fellow in music composition at Princeton University.
Writes for accordions, robots, toys, electronics
Puerto Rican–born composer and multi-instrumentalist
Puerto Rican–born composer and multi-instrumentalist Angélica Negrón writes music for accordions, robotic instruments, toys, and electronics, as well as for chamber ensembles, orchestras, and choir. Her music has been described as “wistfully idiosyncratic and contemplative” (WQXR) and The New York Times noted her “capacity to surprise.” Ms. Negrón has been commissioned by Bang on a Can All-Stars, A Far Cry, MATA Festival, loadbang, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Sō Percussion, and the American Composers Orchestra. As the first composer-in-residence at the New York Botanical Garden, she composed an immersive work for electronic soundscape and 100-voice chorus performed in the Thain Family Forest. Upcoming premieres include works for the New York Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra (co-commission for orchestra and organ), and San Francisco Girls Chorus. Angélica Negrón continues to perform and compose for film.
Has won Grammy Awards in multiple genres
Strong voice for music advocacy, and one of the few artists who have received Grammy Awards in multiple genres
Maria Schneider’s music blurs the lines between genres, and her commissioners have ranged from Jazz at Lincoln Center to The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in addition to collaborations with David Bowie. She is one of the few artists who have received Grammy Awards in multiple genres, having earned the award in both jazz and classical categories and for her collaborations with David Bowie. She has worked with more than 90 groups in 30 countries as a composer and conductor.
Maria Schneider began to develop her personal way of writing for what would become her 18-member jazz collective, the Maria Schneider Orchestra, tailoring her compositions to highlight the uniquely creative voices of the group. The orchestra became widely known starting in 1994 with its first recording, Evanescence, and has performed at festivals and concert halls worldwide. Ms. Schneider and her orchestra have received twelve Grammy nominations and five Grammy Awards. Their collaboration with David Bowie resulted in his single Sue (Or in a Season of Crime), which earned Ms. Schneider a 2016 Grammy Award (Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals), and she and the orchestra received a 2016 Grammy for The Thompson Fields (Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album). Their next recording project, Data Lords — produced through ArtistShare, the first-ever crowdfunding platform for artists — is set to be released on April 1, 2020.
Ms. Schneider’s album Concert in the Garden (2004) was the first recording to win a Grammy with internet-only sales as the first release on ArtistShare. She has received numerous honors by the Jazz Journalists Association and Downbeat and Jazztimes Critics and Readers Polls. The University of Minnesota, her alma mater, presented her with an honorary doctorate in 2012, and she received the ASCAP Concert Music Award in 2014. In 2019 the National Endowment for the Arts named her an NEA Jazz Master, the nation’s highest honor in jazz.
Maria Schneider has become a strong voice for music advocacy. In 2014 she testified about digital rights before the United States Congressional Subcommittee on Intellectual Property. She has also appeared on CNN, participated in round-tables for the United States Copyright Office, and has been quoted in numerous publications for her views on Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, Google, digital rights, and music piracy.
Youngest recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music
Youngest-ever recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music who once sang three-part harmony with Sara Bareilles and Ben Folds
Caroline Shaw is a New York-based musician — vocalist, violinist, composer, and producer — who performs in solo and collaborative projects. She was the youngest recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2013 for Partita for 8 Voices, written for the Grammy-winning Roomful of Teeth, of which she is a member. Recent commissions include new works for Renée Fleming with Inon Barnatan, Dawn Upshaw with Sō Percussion and Gil Kalish, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s with John Lithgow, the Dover Quartet, TENET, The Crossing, the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, the Calidore Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and Roomful of Teeth with A Far Cry. In the 2018–19 season her works will be premiered by pianist Jonathan Biss with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Anne Sofie von Otter with Philharmonia Baroque, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Juilliard 415.
Ms. Shaw’s film scores include Erica Fae’s To Keep the Light and Josephine Decker’s Madeline’s Madeline as well as the upcoming short 8th Year of the Emergency by Maureen Towey. She has produced for Kanye West (The Life of Pablo; Ye) and Nas (NASIR), and she has contributed to records by The National and by Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry. She had the opportunity to sing three-part harmony with Sara Bareilles and Ben Folds at the Kennedy Center.
Caroline Shaw has studied at Rice, Yale, and Princeton universities; she currently teaches at New York University and is a creative associate at The Juilliard School. She has held residencies at Dumbarton Oaks, the Banff Centre, Music on Main, and the Vail Dance Festival. Ms. Shaw loves the color yellow, otters, Beethoven opus 74, Mozart opera, Kinhaven, the smell of rosemary, and the sound of a janky mandolin.
Listens to landscapes and nature
Writes music that reveals the presence of sustained sound materials, reflecting her imaginative listening to landscapes and nature
Composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir frequently works with large sonic structures that reveal the presence of a vast variety of sustained sound materials, reflecting her sense of imaginative listening to landscapes and nature. Her music tends to portray a flowing world of sounds with an enigmatic lyrical atmosphere.
Ms. Thorvaldsdottir was named the New York Philharmonic’s Kravis Emerging Composer in 2015. Portrait concerts of her works have been presented at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, Miller Theatre’s Composer Portraits Series, Phillips Collection’s Leading International Composers series, Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, National Sawdust, London’s Spitalfields Music Festival, and Munich Chamber Orchestra’s Nachtmusic der Moderne series. She is the recipient of the prestigious Nordic Council Music Prize 2012, for her work Dreaming, and Lincoln Center’s 2018 Emerging Artist Award and 2018 Martin E. Segal Award. Ms. Thorvaldsdottir holds a PhD from the University of California–San Diego.
Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s music has been performed by the Berlin Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Ensemble intercontemporain, London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, NDR Elbphilharmonie, and Bang on a Can All-Stars. The New York Philharmonic commissioned and premiered her METACOSMOS in 2018, led by Esa-Pekka Salonen. The Berlin Philharmonic gave its European premiere in 2019, led by Alan Gilbert, and its UK premiere was at the BBC Proms in 2019. Ms. Thorvaldsdottir’s latest orchestral work — the large-scale AION — was commissioned by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and premiered in May 2019.
Anna Thovaldsdottir’s debut portrait album, Rhízōma, was released in 2011 through Innova Recordings. This was followed by Aerial, released by Deutsche Grammophon in 2014, and In the Light of Air, performed by ICE on Sono Luminus in 2015. Her most recent album, AEQUA, featuring a selection of chamber works performed by ICE, was released in November 2018.
First woman to win the Grawemeyer Award
First woman to win the Grawemeyer Award and first composer chosen for a Ford Made in America consortium commission of 65 orchestras
Joan Tower — Musical America’s 2020 Composer of the Year — is regarded as one of today’s most important living American composers. During a career spanning more than 50 years, she has made lasting contributions to musical life in the United States as composer, performer, conductor, and educator. Her works have been commissioned by major ensembles, soloists, and orchestras, including the Emerson, Tokyo, Muir, Enso, Daedalus, and Jasper quartets; soloists Evelyn Glennie, Carol Wincenc, David Shifrin, Paul Neubauer, John Browning, Peter Kolkay, and Bella Hristova; and the orchestras of Chicago, New York, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Nashville, Albany, and Washington, DC, among others. Ms. Tower was the first composer chosen for a Ford Made in America consortium commission of 65 orchestras. Leonard Slatkin and the Nashville Symphony recorded Made in America in 2008 (along with Tambor and Concerto for Orchestra); the album received three Grammy Awards, for Best Contemporary Classical Composition, Best Classical Album, and Best Orchestral Performance. Nashville’s latest all-Tower recording includes Stroke, which received a 2016 Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Classical Composition.
Ms. Tower’s recent works include Wild Summer (2017), premiered by the Jasper String Quartet; Power Dance (2016), premiered at the American Guild of Organists Convention; and Sixth Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman (2016), premiered by the Baltimore Symphony.
In 1990 Joan Tower became the first woman to win the prestigious Grawemeyer Award, for Silver Ladders, which she wrote for the St. Louis Symphony where she was composer-in-residence from 1985 to 1988. Other orchestra residencies include the Orchestra of St. Luke's (1997–2007) and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (2010–11), and she was the Albany Symphony’s mentor composer partner in the 2013–14 season. Ms. Tower was co-founder and pianist for the Naumburg Award–winning Da Capo Chamber Players, 1970–85. She has received honorary doctorates from Smith College, New England Conservatory, and Illinois State University.
Third woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music
Third woman to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music, for her Concerto for Flute, Strings, and Percussion in 1999
Melinda Wagner’s esteemed catalog of works embodies music of exceptional beauty, power, and intelligence. She received widespread attention when her colorful Concerto for Flute, Strings, and Percussion earned her the Pulitzer Prize in 1999. Since then, her major works have included Concerto for Trombone, for Joseph Alessi and the New York Philharmonic; a piano concerto, Extremity of Sky, commissioned by the Chicago Symphony for Emanuel Ax; and Little Moonhead, commissioned by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra as part of its New Brandenburgs series. Mr. Ax has also performed Extremity of Sky with the National Symphony Orchestra (on tour), Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, and the Staatskapelle Berlin.
Championed early on by Daniel Barenboim, Ms. Wagner has received three commissions from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO); the most recent of these, Proceed, Moon, was premiered by the CSO under the baton of Susanna Mälkki in 2017. Other recent performances have included the American Composers Orchestra, United States Marine Band, Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), American Brass Quintet, and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.
Among the honors Ms. Wagner has received is a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the 2018 ASCAP Masters Award. She was given an honorary doctorate from Hamilton College, and a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and serves on the Board of the American Composers Orchestra.
A passionate and inspiring teacher, Melinda Wagner has given master classes at many fine institutions across the United States. She currently serves as chair of the Composition Department at Juilliard, and is a distinguished composer-in-residence at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami.
Won Pulitzer Prize for human trafficking allegory
2017 Pulitzer Prize winner for her opera Angel’s Bone, an allegory for human trafficking in the modern world
Known for her “relentless originality and unflinching social conscience” (The New Yorker), Du Yun works at the intersection of orchestral, opera, chamber music, theater, cabaret, musical theater, oral tradition, public performances, electronics, visual arts, and noise. Her second opera, Angel’s Bone (libretto by Royce Vavrek), won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Music. She was named a Guggenheim Fellow (2018) and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Classical Composition (2019). An avid performer and bandleader (Ok Miss), she has appeared in many assorted holes and halls, sites and museums. Her onstage persona has been described by The New York Times as “an indie pop diva with an avant-garde edge.”
Du Yun is currently professor of composition at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and distinguished visiting professor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. The New York Philharmonic presented her Tattooed in Snow on its new-music series in 2018.
As a curator, she was a founding member of the International Contemporary Ensemble; served as artistic director of MATA Festival (2014–18); conceived the Pan Asia Sounding Festival (National Sawdust); and founded the FutureTradition Initiative in China, in which she works with folk musicians from around the world to champion more cross-regional collaborations. In 2018 Du Yun was named one of 38 Great Immigrants by the Carnegie Foundation.
February 8, 11–12, and 14
The Philharmonic will co-present a new, site-specific staging of Virgil Thomson’s The Mother of Us All — an opera on the life of Susan B. Anthony with a libretto by Gertrude Stein — with The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s MetLiveArts performance series and The Juilliard School.
The Philharmonic will partner with the Academy of American Poets, the nation’s leading champion of poets and poetry, in commissioning 19 new works by award-winning women poets, including a Pulitzer Prize nominee, MacArthur “Genius Grant” winner, a former US Poet Laureate, and New York’s State Poet.
The New York Philharmonic Archives will present The Case of the New York Philharmonic’s First Woman: Steffy Goldner’s Untold Story, a multimedia installation by artist Nives Widauer celebrating the Philharmonic’s first woman member, harpist Stephanie “Steffy” Goldner.
The League of Women Voters of the City of New York will host voter registration and provide information on civic engagement at Project 19 performances.
New York Philharmonic President & CEO Deborah Borda and Lorraine Hariton, President & CEO of Catalyst — a global nonprofit aiming to build workplaces that work for women — will lead a free webinar.
The season’s final Young People’s Concert will feature music by women who spotlight women’s rights and by women who helped pave the way.
“It makes me absolutely joyful and very honored.” Hear from the composers themselves in the Project 19 video.
Get to know the music of the Project 19 composers by checking out this Spotify playlist.
The New York Philharmonic gratefully acknowledges our Project 19 supporters.
Join us in championing women’s voices by contributing to the Project 19 Fund today.
Lead support for Project 19 is provided by the Donald A. Pels Charitable Trust and Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Mr. Oscar L. Tang.
Generous support is also provided by The Hauser Foundation; Margaret Morgan and Wesley Phoa; Kimberly V. Strauss, The Strauss Foundation; the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation; and an anonymous donor.
Project 19 is supported in part by a generous grant from the American Orchestras’ Futures Fund, a program of the League of American Orchestras made possible by funding from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.
Project 19 partners include the Academy of American Poets, Catalyst, The Juilliard School, Kaufman Music Center’s Special Music School High School (M. 859), League of Women Voters of the City of New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s MetLiveArts performance series, and New-York Historical Society.
Last Updated May 2018
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New York Philharmonic
Attn.: Marketing Department
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New York Philharmonic
132 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023
New York Philharmonic
Attn.: Marketing Department
10 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023