Composer Bruce Adolphe has written music for many renowned musicians and ensembles, including Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Sylvia McNair, the Brentano String Quartet, the Beaux Arts Trio, the Washington National Opera, the Metropolitan Opera Guild, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the IRIS Orchestra, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.
Highlights of the 2013-14 season included performances by the LA Chamber Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Cassatt Quartet at the Crystal Bridges Museum and the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton, and the premiere of The End of Tonight (poems by Nathalie Handal) for three female voices, three cellos, and piano at the Greene Space in New York. The 2012-13 season included a premiere commissioned for the opening ceremony of MoMath, the only museum of mathematics in America, and a premiere in Lucerne performed by the Human Rights Orchestra, as well as performances from Santa Fe to Lisbon.
Adolphe’s Self Comes to Mind, written with neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, premiered at the American Museum of Natural History in 2009 with soloist Yo-Yo Ma, and was released in 2014 as a CMS Live! download featuring cellist Efe Baltacigil in concert in Tully Hall.
In addition to composing, Bruce Adolphe holds several positions concurrently: founder and director of the Meet the Music! family concert series and resident lecturer at The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; creator/performer of public radio’s weekly Piano Puzzler on Performance Today; co-artistic director of Off the Hook Festival in Colorado; founder and creative director of The Learning Maestros. The author of three books on music, Mr. Adolphe has taught at Yale, The Juilliard School, and New York University, and was recently appointed composer-in-residence at the Brain and Creativity Institute in Los Angeles. The second edition of his book The Mind's Ear: Exercises for Improving the Musical Imagination was published by Oxford University Press in 2013.
Sofia Gubaidulina is, together with Schnittke and Denisov, one of three major Moscow composers of the post-Shostakovich era. Of half-Tartar, half-Slav extraction, her music strikingly combines spiritual and dramatic, with daring and transparently original colours. One of earliest Soviet composers to show a deep interest in religious themes, Gubaidulina's music can at one extreme be improvisatory (her music has been labeled "irresponsible" for it's exploration of alternatue tunings) such as Garden of Joys and Sorrows for flute, viola and harp, and at the other extreme be strictly organised on ancient mystical principles such as the orchestral works Symphony: Stimmen… verstummen and Zeitgestalten. She has a particular interest in setting visionary and prophetic texts by T.S.Eliot, Marina Tsvetaeva and Gennadi Aigi. Her aural imagination developed through sonic experiments in her film music. Gubaidulina has been commissioned by world’s finest performers including Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet, Mstislav Rostropovich, the Kronos and Arditti Quartets, Gennady Rozhdestvensky and Sir Simon Rattle.
Nico Muhly has composed a wide scope of work for ensembles, soloists and organizations including the American Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, Carnegie Hall, Chicago Symphony, countertenor Iestyn Davies, violinist Hilary Hahn, choreographer Benjamin Millepied, New York City Ballet, New York Philharmonic, Paris Opéra Ballet, soprano Jessica Rivera, and designer/illustrator Maira Kalman. Born in Vermont in 1981 and raised in Providence, Rhode Island, Muhly graduated from Columbia University with a degree in English Literature. In 2004, he received a Masters in Music from the Juilliard School, where he studied under Christopher Rouse and John Corigliano.
Pianist Cory Smythe engages a broad repertoire of new, classical, and improvised music. He has performed widely, making frequent appearances with Present Music, with the International Contemporary Ensemble, and in recital with violinist Hilary Hahn. The Washington Post recently praised Smythe for “…the ferocity and finesse of his technique.” His debut album of original and improvised material, Pluripotent, is available for free download at corysmythe.bandcamp.com.
Partch was born in Oakland, California, on June 24, 1901, and spent much of his early years in the American Southwest, where he was exposed to music and sound from a variety of cultures. He enrolled at the University of Southern California to study composition, but was dissatisfied and ultimately left to work on his own. After discovering the work of Hermann von Helmholtz, Partch began to explore just intonation, and ultimately settled on this system for his compositional needs. He invented his Adapted Viola in New Orleans, Louisiana, and began setting poems by Li Po for his new instrument and voice.
While his early work was met with some support and small grants, the Great Depression forced Harry to spend many years as a transient, and only rarely was he able to continue his artistic work. It was during these years that Partch collected the texts and experiences that would later form the basis for The Wayward. In the period from 1941 - 1956, he composed and rewrote over a dozen works, invented and built over a dozen instruments, arranged several performances and recordings of his works, and wrote the first edition of his book, Genesis of a Music.
In 1956, Partch began a very fruitful residency at the University of Illinois where he found support for his compositions and performances. Here he composed another five works, and continued inventing and building instruments to meet his increasing compositional needs. Harry left the University of Illinois in 1962, moving to California, where he spent the last twelve years of his life in various locations near the California Coastline. These years would see more creative work, major productions of his total-theater pieces, and a greatly-expanded second edition of his book. Harry Partch died in San Diego, California, on September 3, 1974.