June 15, 2012
For Immediate Release
Elizabeth Dworkin
Dworkin & Company

Copland House Launches CULTIVATE

Five Emerging Composers Selected for Intensive, All-Scholarship

Workshop and Mentoring Program; Derek Bermel Named Program Director



Copland House Cortlandt Manor, NY -  Copland House today announces the launch of CULTIVATE, an intensive, annual, all-scholarship creative workshop and mentoring program dedicated to developing the talents of exceptionally gifted American composers in the initial stages of their professional careers. Serving as CULTIVATE Director is Derek Bermel, the acclaimed composer and Founding Clarinetist of the Music from Copland House ensemble. For the inaugural session this summer, five composers from around the U.S. have been invited to participate: Nathan Heidelberger, 25 (Westchester Community Foundation Valentine and Clark Fellow); Roger Zare, 27 (ASCAP Foundation Fellow); Michael Djupstrom, 31; Reena Esmail, 29; and Michael Ippolito, 27.


"We hope that CULTIVATE will help these gifted young composers to be better prepared as creators, artists, and leaders in a profoundly-changing musical landscape," said Copland House's Artistic and Executive Director Michael Boriskin. "We intend for this program to contribute substantively to the essential discourse about the role of composers in today's shifting social, civic, and cultural environments. And having worked with Derek -as composer, performer, resident, educator, and general artistic partner, colleague, and friend- since Copland House first opened its doors in 1998, we know that he is singularly-equipped to oversee one of our most important new initiatives to support young composers."


"I am excited about steering Copland House's CULTIVATE program," Bermel explained. "It will be an intense week of workshops, analysis, inspiration, vision, revision, deconstruction, re-revision, contemplation, and perspiration." Each year, CULTIVATE will offer a period of highly-concentrated and reflective work within the kind of collegial, nurturing environment that Copland always fostered. The inaugural sessions will take place between July 31 and August 5 at Copland's National Historic Landmark home and various other locations in northern Westchester County, NY, an hour north of Manhattan. The focus of the Composer Fellows' work will be a brief, small-ensemble piece they will each write especially for CULTIVATE. Fellows will be greeted upon their arrival with a rehearsed reading of each new piece by Music from Copland House. Daily sessions with Bermel and the ensemble will help Fellows carefully hone and refine their works. CULTIVATE concludes with a public concert and live recording of all the new works on Sunday afternoon, August 5 at Copland House at  Merestead in Mount Kisco, NY. Composer Fellows also benefit from pre- and post-CULTIVATE creative and professional guidance. All costs of composer participation, working sessions, travel, accommodations, and meals are covered by the CULTIVATE program.


Evening sessions will feature explorations and analysis by Bermel of important modern works, and informal conversations with prominent, innovative industry leaders who are actively thinking about and re-shaping 21st century concert music. Among the discussion leaders are Alan Pierson, Music Director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic and Alarm Will Sound, and critic and lecturer Greg Sandow.


Major support for CULTIVATE comes from the ASCAP Foundation, Westchester Community Foundation Valentine and Clark Scholarship Fund, John G. Strugar, MD, and the Friends of Copland House. Tickets for the August 5 CULTIVATE concert are $15 for the general public, and free to the Friends of Copland House and students. For ticket or reservation information, contact (914) 788-4659 or, or visit





The work of composer and pianist MICHAEL DJUPSTROM, 31, has been recognized through honors and awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, American Composers Forum, Lotte Lehmann Foundation, Acad�mie musicale de Villecroze, Chinese Fine Arts Society, and ASCAP and BMI Foundations, among others. His compositions have been presented across the United States, Europe, and Asia and have been released on several commercial recordings. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, he began music studies at age 8, and studied composition formally at the University of Michigan, from which he received undergraduate and graduate degrees, and the Curtis Institute of Music, where he was awarded an Artist Diploma in 2011. Other training included fellowships at the Tanglewood Music Center, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Brevard Music Center, as well as studies in Paris with composer Betsy Jolas.  He currently lives in Philadelphia, where he serves on the Musical Studies faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music.


Indian-American composer REENA ESMAIL, 29, is a graduate of The Juilliard School and Yale School of Music, and has studied with Susan Botti, Aaron Jay Kernis, Christopher Theofanidis and Martin Bresnick. She spent the past year on a Fulbright scholarship in New Delhi, training in Hindustani vocal music with Gaurav Mazumdar. She was awarded the 2012 Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, for publication of a work by C.F. Peters. She is a 2011-2012 INK Fellow (in association with TED), and has given talks about her work, integrating elements from Western and Hindustani classical music traditions, to audiences throughout India. She returns to Yale this fall to begin her doctoral degree.


NATHAN HEIDELBERGER, 25, composes diverse instrumental and vocal music. Currently a Presidential Fellow and doctoral candidate at the University at Buffalo, he holds undergraduate degrees in Composition and English from Oberlin College and Conservatory, where he was awarded the Walter E. Aschaffenburg Composition Prize. His primary teachers are David Felder, Lewis Nielson, and Richard Carrick. He has participated in the Aspen and June in Buffalo festivals, and his music has been performed by Ensemble Linea, the Antares Quartet, New York New Music Ensemble, and Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble. His composition Of songs for soprano and string quartet was awarded the University of Louisville's 2010 Frank Robert Abel Prize. Also a pianist and hornist, he is a founding member of Wooden Cities, an ensemble committed to sharing new music throughout Western New York. He also worked closely with Helmut Lachenmann during the composer's 2008 residency at Oberlin to prepare his solo piano works Echo Andante and Ein Kinderspiel.


MICHAEL IPPOLITO, 27, is a versatile composer and performer who has collaborated with classical, folk and jazz musicians in performances ranging from experimental improvisation to traditional Klezmer music. A graduate of the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he studied composition with Joel Hoffman and Michael Fiday and improvisation with Alan Bern, he is currently a C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow at The Juilliard School, working with John Corigliano. His music has been commissioned and performed by the Cincinnati and Albany Symphonies, Juilliard Orchestra, University of Georgia Wind Ensemble, Attacca Quartet, New York Choreographic Institute, ensemble 20/21 (K�ln) and janus trio (Brooklyn). He has received Juilliard's Palmer Dixon Prize, a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and multiple ASCAP Plus Awards. From 2004 to 2011, he was a participating composer and performer in MusicX, an innovative new music festival in Cincinnati and Switzerland, where he worked as General Manager for several seasons. He has also participated in Croatia's Upbeat Hvar International Summer School, Yiddish Summer Weimar in Germany, and the Oregon Bach Festival's Composers Symposium. He is Associate Artistic Director for the New York Youth Symphony's Composition Program.


Florida-born ROGER ZARE, 27, often finds creative inspiration in the sciences. His works have been performed across the U.S. by the American Composers Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Sarasota Orchestra, Omaha Chamber Symphony, Aspen Music Festival Contemporary Ensemble, and New York Youth Symphony. He has received ASCAP's Nissim Prize and Morton Gould Award, three BMI Student Composer Awards, the 2008 American Composers Orchestra Underwood Commission, and a 2010 Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is the 2012 composer-in-residence at Maine's Salt Bay Chamberfest. He has a doctorate from the University of Michigan, where he has studied with Michael Daugherty, Paul Schoenfield, Bright Sheng, and Kristin Kuster, and other degrees from the Peabody Conservatory and University of Southern California. His previous teachers include Christopher Theofanidis, David Smooke, Donald Crockett, Tamar Diesendruck, Fredrick Lesemann, and Morten Lauridsen.


Currently serving as Artist-in-Residence at the Institute for Advanced Study and Artistic Advisor to the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, CULTIVATE Director DEREK BERMEL has received commissions from the Pittsburgh, National, Saint Louis, New Jersey, and Pacific Symphonies, Los Angeles and Westchester Philhamonics, the New York Youth Symphony, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, WNYC Radio, eighth blackbird, the Guarneri String Quartet, Music from Copland House and Music from China, De Ereprijs (Netherlands), Jazz Xchange (U.K.), Figura (Denmark), violinist Midori, electric guitarist Wiek Hijmans, cellist Fred Sherry, and pianists Christopher Taylor and Andrew Russo, among others.  His many honors include the Alpert Award in the Arts, Rome Prize, Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships, American Music Center's Trailblazer Award, and Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; commissions from the Koussevitzky and Fromm Foundations, Meet the Composer, and Cary Trust; and residencies at Yaddo, Tanglewood, Aspen, Banff, Bellagio, Copland House, Sacatar, and Civitella Ranieri.


MUSIC FROM COPLAND HOUSE is the acclaimed resident ensemble at Aaron Copland's National Historic Landmark home in New York's lower Hudson Valley, an award-winning creative center for American music ( Since its trium­phant New York debut as the Opening Night of Merkin Hall's 1999-2000 season, Music from Copland House has come to occupy a special place on the U.S. musical scene as perhaps this country's only wide-ranging American repertory ensemble, journeying across 150 years of our nation's rich musical landscape. MCH has been engaged by Carnegie Hall, the Library of Congress, Monday Evening Concerts in Los Angeles, Columbia University's Miller Theatre, the Caramoor, Cape Cod, and Bard Music Festivals, and other leading concert presenters, and has collaborated with NPR and Euro-Radio on a special concert broadcast in over 20 countries. The ensemble is also regularly featured throughout the season on Copland House's popular new main-stage concert series at the majestic Merestead estate in Mount Kisco, NY. MCH has commissioned compositions by Richard Danielpour, Chen Yi, Tamar Muskal, Pierre Jalbert, Derek Bermel, and Sebastian Currier (whose Copland House work, Static, won the prestigious 2007 Grawemeyer Award), and has made several widely-praised recordings on the Arabesque and Koch International labels. Inspired by Copland's peerless, lifelong advocacy of American composers, MCH also presents a wide variety of educational and community outreach activities. MCH concerts feature the ensemble's much-admired Founding Artists -clarinetist-composer Derek Bermel, pianist Michael Boriskin, flutist Paul Lustig Dunkel, violinist Nicholas Kitchen, and cellist Wilhelmina Smith- and an array of stellar guest performers.



COPLAND HOUSE, winner of the American Music Center's coveted Letter of Distinction, is a unique creative center for American music based at Aaron Copland's National Historic Landmark home in New York's lower Hudson River Valley. It is the only composer's home in the U.S. devoted to nurturing and renewing America's rich musical heritage, and fostering greater public awareness and appreciation of our nation's composers and their work. Building upon Aaron Copland's seminal artistic and personal legacies, it furthers this mission through composer residencies; live, broadcast, and recorded performances; and educational and community outreach programs. In 2009, it began expanding its activities to the vast Merestead estate in Mount Kisco through an innovative public-private partnership with the Westchester County government. Support for Copland House's 2012-13 Merestead concerts comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, ArtsWestchester, Westchester Community Foundation, and Friends of Copland House.




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