Composer-in-Residence Program Expands.
Sister Bay, Wis. (March 22, 2021) –Midsummer’s Music announces a new program designed to provide a platform for more talented young composers that expands on its Composer-in-Residence Program instituted in 2016 with the appointment of Jacob Beranek.
The Emerging Composers Initiative adds two Program Fellows to its Composer-in-Residence position. All three appointees will present new works, educate audiences, and participate in outreach engagements during Midsummer’s Music 2021 Season. The Composer-in-Residence’s work will be a new commission by Midsummer’s Music, while the Fellows will present recent works from their portfolios.
This initiative stems from the recent appointment of Will Healy as the chamber music organization’s Composer-in-Residence for 2021. A New York-based composer, pianist, and recent graduate of Juilliard, Will is the artistic director of ShoutHouse, a collective of hip-hop, jazz, and classical musicians. He is noted for his “lushly bluesy” sound and “adroitly blended … textures,” according to the New York Times.
“During the process of Will’s selection, we were moved by the wonderful quality of applicants,” noted Jim Berkenstock, Midsummer’s Artistic Director. “We decided to expand our program.”
Adds Allyson Fleck, Midsummer’s Music Executive Director and Assistant Artistic Director, “We thought there might be only a handful of applicants. I guess we did a good job of messaging, because over 140 composers applied.”
In addition to Berkenstock and Fleck, the selection committee included David Utzinger, a resident of Sturgeon Bay who holds a Ph.D. in composition from UCLA and serves on the Midsummer’s Music Board, and Beranek, who will continue with the program in the role of Program Advisor following his four years as its first Composer-in-Residence.
Each of the 140 applicants provided written scores and sound recordings of three recent works, along with program notes and bios. “After each committee member reviewed the materials for a quarter of the prospects and chose the top six from their group, we collectively narrowed the pool down to three, but then it got really difficult,” said Berkenstock. “That’s when we developed the idea of expanding our program to include not only a Composer-in-Residence, but to add two ‘Fellows’ to our ranks.”
The two Emerging Composers Initiative Fellows are Paul Frucht of New York and Quinn Mason of Dallas. Frucht holds a D.M.A. and M.M. in composition from Juilliard and a B.A. from New York University, where he currently serves as an adjunct professor. Quinn Mason has studied at Richland College in Dallas, Texas Christian University, and Southern Methodist University.
● Will Healy’s 40-minute song cycle for rappers, soloists, and chamber orchestra, “Cityscapes,” was released on New Amsterdam Records in 2019. Recent projects include commissions for Copland House and Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, arranging music for the World Peace Forum and the New York Philharmonic, and writing a full-length musical that was recorded remotely by a cast of 30 musicians.
● Paul Frucht has been commissioned and performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Juilliard Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, American Modern Ensemble, Ulysses Quartet, Buffalo Chamber Music Society, Music Mountain Festival, and the New York City Ballet Choreographic Institute, among others.
● Quinn Mason’s music has been performed in concert by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Utah Symphony Orchestra, South Bend Symphony Orchestra, West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, New England Conservatory Philharmonia, Orchestra Seattle, Mission Chamber Orchestra, loadbang, Voices of Change, Atlantic Brass Quintet, UT Arlington Saxophone quartet, the Cézanne, Julius and Baumer string quartets, and concert bands throughout the United States and Canada.
● Jacob Beranek graduates Vanderbilt University this spring and will then head to graduate school. He will continue his relationship with Midsummer’s Music as Advisor to the Emerging Composers Initiative and is expected to collaborate with projects involving the Griffon String Quartet, the outstanding ensemble of young professionals sponsored by Midsummer’s Music, Fine Arts Institute at East High (Green Bay), and St. Norbert College during the coming year.