Women Composers Readings and Commissions Program

Previous Commission Recipients

The League of American Orchestras’ Women Composers Readings and Commissions program is administered by American Composers Orchestra and supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.

Over the first three years, the program's results have been impressive. Through the Women Composers Readings and Commission program, twenty women composers benefited from career development via EarShot Readings and seven composers have now received commissions, with four (premieres by Julia Adolphe, Melody Eötvös, Chen-Hui Jen, and Andreia Pinto-Correia) completed.

2014 commission recipient Julia Adolphe’s Unearth, Release (Concerto for Viola and Orchestra) received its New York premiere November 17-19, 2016 by the New York Philharmonic, conductor Jaap van Zweden, and Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps as soloist. Melody Eötvös’s Red Dirt | Silver Rain was premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2015 by American Composers Orchestra as part of the orchestra’s SONiC: Sounds of a New Century, a festival devoted to new music written in the 21st century by composers age 40 and under.

The recipients of the 2015 Women Composers Readings and Commissions were composers Andreia Pinto-Correia and Xi Wang, who were both awarded $15,000 and an orchestral commission. Andreia Pinto-Correia's Ciprés received its premiere by the Columbus Symphony Orchestra on April 6, 2018, and Xi Wang is working on a piece for the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra.

2016 commission recipient Chen-Hui Jen's work, in eternal dusk, was premiered by the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra on January 27, 2018. Composers Wang Jie and Hannah Lash also received commissions in 2016 (premiere dates tbd).

Read about 2017 commission recipients here. 

Read past program press releases:


2016 Commission Recipients

Chen-Hui Jen

Chen-Hui Jen is a composer whose music presents an imaginative, spiritual, and poetic space with subtlety and sophistication. She earned a Ph.D. degree in Composition at the University of California, San Diego, where her mentor was Chinary Ung.

Born in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Chen-Hui Jen received her M.F.A. in composition at the Graduate School of Music at the Taipei National University of the Arts and B.F.A. in composition at the Music Department of the National Sun Yet-San University, under the instruction of Prof. Hwang-Long Pan and Dr. Tzyy-Sheng Lee. She began studying piano at age four, under the instruction of professors including Aleck Karis and Ming-Fen Hsu.

Chen-Hui Jen writes music for music for orchestra, chamber, and solo, for both Western and Chinese instruments, and vocal and choral works as well as works with computer and electronics. Chen-Hui Jen's works have been performed at multiple new music festivals and concerts, including the ISCM World Music Days, SEAMUS, Acanthes Music Festival, ACL Music Festival, EarShot San Diego  Workshop, New Music  Miami Season, Taipei International New Music  Festival, WOCMA T, and Contemporary Sizhu Music Festival. Chen-Hui Jen's works have won numerous prizes in the Taiwan Literature and Fine Arts Composition Competition for chamber, choral, and solo works, the Formosa Composition Competition for violin concerto, the International Tsang-Houei Hsu Music Composition Competition for Chinese chamber music, the International Taiwan Music Center Composition Competition, and the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Composition Competition. She has also received multiple commissions from the Palimpsest Ensemble, Accordant Commons, The Living Earth Show, Ensemble ISCM-Taiwan, Taipei Chamber Singers, Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra, Ching-Yun Chorus, Kaohsiung Chamber Choir, and Muller Choir, as well as multiple grants from the Taipei Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Taiwan National and Arts Foundation.

Since 2010, Dr. Jen has performed piano in a duo with her husband, composer/computer musician Jacob David Sudol.  Together they've played many distinguished venues such as the Taipei National Recital Hall, Taiwan National Chiao Tung University, the Spectrum in New York City, Center for New Music in San Francisco, ISCM New Music Miami Festival, Root  Signal Festival, Miami Bakehouse Art Complex, University of California at San Diego, Mills College, California Institute of Arts, Chapman University, and Florida International University. She is currently also a pianist in the NODUS Ensemble and the White Ibis Ensemble. 

Chen-Hui Jen's work, in eternal dusk, was premiered by the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and Music Director and Principal Conductor Matthew Kraemer on January 27, 2018. 

 

Wang Jie

Part cartoon character, part virtuoso, musical whiz kid Wang Jie has been nudging serious music and its concert audiences into spectacular frontiers over the past few seasons. Her From New York, With Love transformed a classic percussionist into a dervish-like rock star. Her chamber opera Flown dramatized the end of a rocky love affair by having the two pianists attack each other and their shared instrument. Despite having the worst title in the history of music, Oboe Concerto For The Genuine Heart Of Sadness channeled the power of Liang Wang, the principle oboist of the New York Philharmonic, and the League of Composers Orchestra into an orgiastic whirlwind. An unexpected collaboration with comedy writer Paul Simms inspired a song cycle titled Lord?  Please Don't Let Me Die in a Funny Way, coaxing belly laughs from an otherwise sedate Opera America audience. Not one to let herself off the hook at her Carnegie Hall debut with the American Composers Orchestra, she shape-shifted into a monkey god swiveling on stage between three keyboards during a performance of her concert opera From The Other Sky.

One day she spins a few notes into large symphonic forms, the next she calls Zodiac animals to the opera stage. It is no accident that Ms. Wang's stylistic versatility is a rare trait in today's composers. There is a mile-long dossier on Jie's outside-the-box incidents. It begins with a thrilling escape from a Chinese ­military-run kindergarten at the age of four. Behind a touch of glorious madness to Jie's music, the skill, theatricality, and method that once facilitated her youthful escape are now the engines for her appetite to "Engage • Explore • Play." Jie credits her mentors at the Curtis Institute of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, and NYU's PhD program for all the music mischief she didn't think was possible.

Most recently, her Symphony No. 2, commissioned and premiered by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Leonard Slatkin, was streamed live to a worldwide audience. Upcoming, Symphonic Overture 'America, The Beautiful' will be premiered by the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, Chamber opera Rated R For Rat will receive a premiere production by Festival Opera, and her Symphony No.2 is on the bill at the Buffalo Philharmonic. Wang Jie is currently creating Phoenix Fallen, a prison opera. Supported by the McKnight Foundation, Jie will spend a year as a resident composer at the Shakopee Correctional Facility in Minnesota, where she will conduct field work and opera workshops in collaboration with the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra and the Shakopee prison choir.

For more information on Wang Jie, please visit her website.

 

 

Hannah Lash

Hailed by the New York Times as "striking and resourceful...handsomely brooding," Hannah Lash's music has been commissioned by The Fromm Foundation, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, the Library of Congress, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Columbia  University's Miller Theatre, The Naumburg Foundation, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, as well as the Colorado and Aspen Music Festivals, among many others.

Lash has received numerous honors and prizes, including the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, a Charles lves Scholarship (2011) and Fellowship (2016) from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Fromm Foundation Commission, the Naumburg Prize in Composition, the Barnard Rogers Prize in Composition, and the Bernard and Rose Sernoffsky Prize in Composition, among others. 

In addition to performances of her music in the U.S.A., Lash's music is well known internationally. In April of 2008, her string quartet Four Still was performed in Kyev in the Ukraine's largest international new music festival, "Musical Premieres of the Season," curated by Carson Cooman. In 2016, her chamber orchestra work This Ease was selected as "audience favorite" in performances by the Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Mainz, conducted by Hermann Baumer.

Recent premieres include Three Shades Without Angles, for flute, viola and harp, by the Boston Symphony Chamber Players; Two Movements for violin and piano, commissioned by the Library of Congress for Ensemble lntercontemporain; a new chamber opera, Beowulf, for Guerilla Opera; and new orchestral works for the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, as well as two concerti for harp premiered by the American Composers Orchestra and the Colorado Music Festival, both  with Lash as soloist. In 2016, Lash was honored with a Composer Portraits Concert at Columbia University's Miller Theatre. In the 2016-2017 season, Lash receives the premiere of her Requiem with the Yale Choral Artists as well as the debut of The Voynich Symphony, a major large-scale orchestral work, with the New Haven Symphony.

Lash obtained her Ph.D in Composition from Harvard University in 2010. She has held teaching positions at Harvard University (Teaching Fellow), at Alfred University (Guest Professor of Composition), and currently serves on the composition faculty at Yale University School of Music.

For more information on Hannah Lash, please visit her website.


2015 Commission Recipients

Photo: Tiago Miranda-Expresso

Andreia Pinto-Correia

The prestigious literary magazine Jornal de Letras describes Andreia Pinto-Correia’s compositions as “a major contribution to the dissemination of Portugal’s culture and language, perhaps a contribution larger than could ever be imagined.” Her music — described by the Boston Globe as “compellingly meditative” and by the New York Times as an “aural fabric” — is characterized by close attention to harmonic detail and timbral color. Following a family tradition of scholars and writers, her work often reflects the influence of literary sources from the Iberian Peninsula and beyond.

Ms. Pinto-Correia is a 2015 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow. Honors include commissions from the European Union Presidency, Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University, Boston Symphony Orchestra Brass Quintet, American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood Music Center, National Symphony and National Dance Company of Portugal, Albany Symphony Orchestra, and Culturgest National Bank of Portugal. Her work Timaeus, a concerto for orchestra commissioned by the Boston Symphony’s Tanglewood Music Center in memory of Elliott Carter, was recently premiered at the opening concert of the Contemporary Music Festival’s 75th anniversary.

Her works have been performed by the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra, Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Orchestra, Orquestra Metropolitana de Lisboa, and the Borromeo and the Mivos String Quartets. She has also been the recipient of a New Music USA Music Alive/League of American Orchestras Composer Residency, a Rockefeller Foundation Center Fellowship, a Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship, the Alpert Award in the Arts/Ucross Residency Prize, and the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award by the Japan Society. In addition, she was the curator of the Fertile Crescent Festival for Contemporary Music at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

Born in Portugal, Ms. Pinto-Correia began her musical studies in her native Lisbon and received her Masters and Doctoral of Music degrees with Academic Honors from the New England Conservatory of Music as a student of Bob Brookmeyer and Michael Gandolfi. She attended the Minnesota Composer Institute, the European Network of Opera Academies (ENOA), the American Opera Projects (AOP), the Composers Conference, and the Tanglewood and Aspen Festivals. She was a participant in the first EarShot New Music Reading with the Memphis Symphony in 2009.

For more information about Andreia Pinto-Correia, visit her website.

Andreia Pinto-Correia's Ciprés received its premiere by the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Rossen Milanov on April 6, 2018.

 

Photo: Eason Kong

Xi Wang

Since arriving in the USA from her native China in 2001, Xi Wang has pursued a whirlwind of musical activities that have made her a rising star in new music. Her unique fusion of Asian and Western instruments and techniques with theatrical and choreographic elements has captivated audiences. She is increasingly in demand for orchestral, chamber, and vocal music.

Xi Wang’s original concert music has been performed worldwide by notable orchestras and ensembles such as the Minnesota Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, Shanghai Philharmonic, Spokane Symphony, Voices of Change, Soli Chamber Ensemble, Tippet String Quartet, among others. She is the recipient of the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Endowment for the Arts award, Meet the Composer, New Music USA, American Music Center, MacDowell Colony residency, as well as prizes from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

Xi Wang received her B.M. from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, M.M. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and D.M.A. from Cornell University. Currently, she is an Associate Professor at the Meadow School of Arts of Southern Methodist University. She was a participant in ACO's 2010 Underwood New Music Readings.

For more information on Xi Wang, visit her website.


2014 Commission Recipients

Photo: Martin Chalifour

Julia Adolphe

Twenty-seven year old composer Julia Adolphe’s music has already been described as “alive with invention” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker), “colorful, mercurial, deftly orchestrated” (Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times) and a “mastery of dynamic as well as harmonic complexity” (Financial Times). Adolphe’s works have received performances across the U.S. and abroad by renowned groups such as the New York Philharmonic, Inscape Chamber Orchestra, the USC Thornton Symphony, JACK Quartet violinist Christopher Otto and cellist Kevin McFarland, Grammy-nominated pianist Aron Kallay, the What’s Next? Ensemble, Nouveau Classical Project, the Cornell University Chorus, and the Great Noise Ensemble, among others. In 2015, Adolphe received a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Adolphe is a native New Yorker living in Los Angeles.  

Current commissions include a viola concerto for the New York Philharmonic and a large choral work for James Conlon and the Cincinnati May Festival. The viola concerto, for Philharmonic Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps, is commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and the League of American Orchestras, with generous support from the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. This commission follows on the heels of the New York Philharmonic premiering Adolphe’s orchestral work Dark Sand, Sifting Light as part of the NY PHIL BIENNIAL in June 2014. A winner of the international EarShot New Music Readings’ competition, Adolphe’s first orchestral work was hailed as “remarkably assured…an upbeat to something grander” (The New Yorker). Additionally, Adolphe is composing an opera set in present-day Iran with librettist Nahal Navidar.

Adolphe currently pursues a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the USC Thornton School of Music. Prior teachers include Stephen Hartke, Steven Stucky, and Donald Crockett. Adolphe holds a Master of Music degree in music composition from USC and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and the College Scholar Program from Cornell University.

For more information about Julia Adolphe, visit her website.

Julia Adolphe’s Unearth, Release (Concerto for Viola and Orchestra) received its New York premiere November 17-19, 2016 by the New York Philharmonic, conductor Jaap van Zweden, and Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps as soloist.

 

Photo: Grant Heger

Melody Eötvös

Melody Eötvös (1984) is a Bloomington IN-based Australian composer whose work draws on both multi-media and traditional instrumental contexts.

She has studied with a variety of composers across the globe, including Gerardo Dirié (Australia), Simon Bainbridge (UK), and, most recently Claude Baker & David Dzubay (USA).  She has also studied electronic music with Jeffrey Hass, John Gibson, and Alicyn Warren.  Melody has had her music performed by ensembles/orchestras such as the London Sinfonietta, BBC Singers, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and the Australian String Quartet, and has participated in several electronic music festivals including SEAMUS 2011 (US), ACMC 2012 (Australia), and ICMC 2011 (New Zealand).  Current projects include a Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Orchestral Commission administered by the League of American Orchestras, the EarShot Foundation (world premiere: Carnegie Hall October 23rd 2015), guest composer for the Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music 2015, a commissioned composer for the Synergy 40x40 project (Sydney, AUS), was a composer fellow at the Aspen Music Festival & School 2015, and will be a Composer resident for the Copland House Residency in May 2016.

Melody holds a Doctor of Music (2014) from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music USA, and a Master of Music (2008) from the Royal Academy of Music, London UK. 

For more information about Melody Eötvös, visit her website

Melody Eötvös’ Red Dirt | Silver Rain received its world premiere at Carnegie Hall in October 2015, performed by American Composers Orchestra and ACO Music Director and Conductor George Manahan.

Learn more about Earshot.