January 29, 2019


6 Composers from 4 States and 1 Canadian Province
Selected for Coveted Emerging Composers’ Institute;
June 9 Concert to Feature World Premieres of New Works
Clockwise from top left: Flannery Cunningham, Chelsea Komschlies, Charles Peck, Igor Santos, Nina Shekar,
and Sam Yulsman
Cortlandt Manor, NY – Copland House has announced the six Fellows selected to participate in CULTIVATE 2019, its acclaimed, annual emerging composers institute. The composers chosen are Flannery Cunningham 27 (New York, NY); Chelsea Komschlies , 27 (Calgary, Alberta); Charles Peck , 31 (Philadelphia, PA); Igor Santos , 33 (Chicago, IL); Nina Shekar , 23 (Los Angeles, CA); and Sam Yulsman , 28 (New York, NY). Will Healy , 28 (New York, NY) was selected as an Alternate.

According to Artistic and Executive Director Michael Boriskin , the three women and three men were chosen out of 80 applicants from 23 states, Puerto Rico, and one Canadian province by an eminent jury of acclaimed Copland House Resident composers – CULTIVATE Director Derek Bermel , Suzanne Farrin , and Gregory Spears . “Spending time with the rich and varied submissions to CULTIVATE,” said Spears, “was an inspiration and an affirmation that great music is being made by incredibly talented young composers across the continent.”

An all-scholarship, intensive creative workshop and mentoring program for highly-gifted composers at the start of their professional careers, CULTIVATE will take place this year between June 3 and 9 in northern Westchester County, NY, at Aaron Copland’s National Historic Landmark home in Cortlandt Manor and at the Merestead estate in nearby Mount Kisco. Launched in 2012, CULTIVATE quickly became a coveted destination for these young creative artists. “In its combination of composer residency and masterclass format, CULTIVATE is an outstanding addition to Copland House’s program of activities,” said Russell Platt, a 2018 CULTIVATE juror and a 2006 Copland House Resident.

The six Fellows will each create a new composition that serves as the focus of an intensive week of collective and individual daily rehearsals and workshops with Bermel and Principal and Guest Artists from the Music from Copland House ensemble, hailed by Louisville Weekly as “one of the leading champions of contemporary music.” Evening discussion sessions focus on practical and professional career matters, and feature prominent, forward-looking arts leaders. CULTIVATE concludes with a public concert by the ensemble on Sunday afternoon, June 9 on Copland House's mainstage performance series at Merestead, featuring the World Premieres of all the new works. All costs of composer participation, working sessions and rehearsals, travel, accommodations, and meals are covered by Copland House. CULTIVATE composers receive pre-Fellowship creative counsel and advice from Bermel and the ensemble, and become eligible for ongoing career advancement support and prospective recording, performance, and commission opportunities. As 2017 Fellow Matthew Browne raved, “Never have I attended a program that was, across the board, as fruitful, well-organized, eye-opening, and fun. CULTIVATE was fantastic!”

Support for CULTIVATE comes from the ASCAP Foundation, BMI Foundation, Alice M. Ditson Fund, Jandon Foundation, and John G. Strugar. Additional program support comes from ArtsWestchester, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Amphion Foundation, Friends of Copland House, National Endowment for the Arts, and New York State Council on the Arts. Tickets for the June 10 CULTIVATE concert are $25 for the general public, $20 for Friends of Copland House, and $10 for students (with ID). Ticket or reservation information is available at (914) 788-4659, office@coplandhouse.org , or coplandhouse.org .

CULTIVATE 2019: Fellows’ bios      
Composer-musicologist FLANNERY CUNNINGHAM is fascinated by vocal expression, auditory perception, and the compositional process, and aims to write music that surprises and delights. She composes for both acoustic ensembles and players interacting with real-time electronics, and, as active poet, often writes her own texts. She is attracted to the very old and very new, presenting on the 14th-century master Guillaume de Machaut at the International Medieval Congress and performing with the Cork-based electronic ensemble CAVE at the International Computer Music Conference. Her music has been performed in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Ecuador, Ireland, and the U.K., and commissioned by the Minnesota Center Chorale, Cornell University Chorus, College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University, SPLICE Ensemble, and Brooklyn’s Grace Chorale. She has been in residence at Craters of the Moon National Monument and will spend this May at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. A graduate of Princeton University, University College Cork (as a Mitchell Scholar), and Stony Brook University, she is currently dual PhD candidate in composition and musicology at the University of Pennsylvania.

The music of CHELSEA KOMSCHLIES has been heard in 10 countries, including performances at the Ravinia Festival and Make Music Chicago. Her recent and upcoming projects include a work for organ, harpsichord, and orchestra, premiered last year at the Curtis Institute; an extended-reality collaboration with game design and software engineers using the Microsoft Hololens; an oratorio for the Bach Festival of Philadelphia; and a composition for Alarm Will Sound. She recently completed a post-graduate Artist Diploma at the Curtis, where she won the Alfredo Casella Award, and has been invited to study at the Fontainebleau School and Aspen Music Festival.

The music of CHARLES PECK has been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, Columbus and Albany Symphonies, Alarm Will Sound, Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, JACK Quartet, and Sandbox Percussion, and featured at Carnegie Hall, the Aspen, Cabrillo, and Mizzou Festivals, Civic Orchestra of Chicago New Music Workshop, Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, and Beijing Modern Music Festival. He has received an ASCAP Morton Gould Award, is a commission from the Barlow Endowment, and won composition competitions of the New York Youth Symphony, Lake George Music Festival, Boston New Music Initiative, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Symphony in C, and National Federation of Music Clubs. He teaches at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, and is a Doctoral candidate at Cornell University.

The concert music of Brazilian-born, Chicago-based IGOR SANTOS has been performed internationally by Ensemble Intercontemporain, Ensemble Dal Niente, Alarm Will Sound, Eighth Blackbird, Spektral Quartet, American Composers Orchestra, and The Florida Orchestra. He also composes for theater productions throughout the US and Europe. He has won prizes in the Luigi Nono International Competition and RED NOTE Competition, and was awarded Best Sound Design from Theatre Tampa Bay. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Eastman School of Music, and University of South Florida, he has also participated in the workshops at the Mizzou Festival, Impuls, Time of Music, Fontainebleau, and others.

Through her music, NINA SHEKHAR explores the intersection of identity, vulnerability, love, and laughter. A recipient of ASCAP’s Morton Gould and Leonard Bernstein Awards, her recent projects include performances by Eighth Blackbird, her Quirkhead about O.C.D. in an upcoming PBS documentary, a choral commission for The New York Virtuoso Singers, and an electroacoustic choreographed commission for Third Angle. Her music has been performed by ETHEL and the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, and featured by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall, National Sawdust, National Flute Association, North American Saxophone Alliance, Blackbird Creative Lab, and WNYC/New Sounds. As a performer, she is studying flute with Amy Porter, and has appeared as a piano soloist with the Lublin Philharmonic and a saxophonist in the Detroit International Jazz Festival. She is a Master’s degree candidate in composition at the University of Southern California, where she is also serving as an aural skills teaching assistant, and has earned dual undergraduate degrees in composition and chemical engineering at the University of Michigan.

The work of composer, pianist, and multimedia artist SAM YULSMAN spans a wide range of musical idioms. A Doctoral candidate in composition at Columbia University, his music has been performed by the JACK and Mivos Quartets, Ensemble Korea, Wet Ink Ensemble, loadbang, and New York New Music Ensemble, and heard at Argentina’s TACEC Generación, the International Computer Music Conference, the Czech Reublic’s Ostrava Days, Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology Biennial Symposium, Qubit’s “Liminal” series, and Pacific Rim Music Festival. His multimedia works include Little Moments of Invisible Death (for two pianos and electronics, composed and performed with Martin Hiendl) and Land Before Time III (a dance installation co-produced and directed with dancer Justin Cabrillos and poet Gabrielle DaCosta).

Copland House bios
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. He is Artistic Director of the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, and a former Artist-in-Residence at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and serves as 2018-19 Composer-in-Residence of the Seattle Symphony.

MUSIC FROM COPLAND HOUSE (MCH) is the internationally-acclaimed touring ensemble-in-residence at Aaron Copland’s National Historic Landmark home near New York City. Hailed by The New York Times for “illuminating essential truths about the music,” Music from Copland House occupies a special place as the only wide-ranging American repertory ensemble journeying across 150 years on the U.S. musical landscape. MCH has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, National Public Radio, the European Broadcasting Union in a multi-national production aired in 20 countries, and many other media outlets, and has been engaged by Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Library of Congress, Yale College, University of Chicago, Smithsonian Institution’s Freer Gallery of Art, Columbia University’s Miller Theatre, the Monday Evening Concerts in Los Angeles, the Caramoor, Cape Cod, Bard, Ecstatic, and SONiC Festivals, and many other leading presenters. The ensemble records for Arabesque, Koch International, and the COPLAND HOUSE BLEND labels. It has been also regularly featured for 10 seasons on Copland House’s popular main-stage concert series at the historic Merestead estate near New York City, and launches a new series in 2019-2020 in Manhattan presented by the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Inspired by Copland’s peerless, lifelong advocacy of American composers, MCH also presents a wide variety of educational and community outreach activities. Launched in 1999 by flutist Paul Lustig Dunkel, clarinetist Derek Bermel, violinist Nicholas Kitchen, cellist Wilhelmina Smith, and pianist Michael Boriskin, MCH's quality, spirit, and values have been defined by the musical excellence, dynamism, and commitment of its stellar roster of Founding, Principal, and Guest Artists, who are widely celebrated for their instrumental command and artistic insights in music old and new. “Copland,” raved The Chicago Tribune, “would have been proud of all of them.”

COPLAND HOUSE is an award-winning creative center for American music based at Aaron Copland’s National Historic Landmark home in New York’s lower Hudson River Valley. Praised by The New York Times for “all the richness of its offerings,” it is the only composer’s home in the U.S. devoted to nurturing and renewing America’s rich musical heritage through a broad range of programs, and fostering greater public awareness and appreciation of our nation's composers and their work. Building upon Copland's seminal artistic and personal legacies, it furthers this mission through multi-faceted support for composers, live and recorded public performances, and in-school and on-site educational programs. Among its many honors are the Yale Distinguished Music Educator Award, American Music Center’s Letter of Distinction, and Westchester magazine’s recognitions as “Best of the Decade” and “Best of Westchester.” Support for Copland House’s 2018-2019 season comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, ArtsWestchester, Ruth M. Knight Foundation, Westchester Community Foundation, and Friends of Copland House.

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