Spotlight on Contemporary Chamber Orchestra Repertoire

Hosted by American Composers Orchestra

Recorded Thursday, June 18, 2020

Watch here:

Derek Bermel 
Artistic Director, American Composers Orchestra
David Hertzberg, Composer
Alex Temple, Composer
Ben Cadwallader Executive Director, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Derrick Spiva, Jr, Composer
Kyu-Young Kim Artistic Director, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
PaviElle French, Composer
Alecia Lawyer Founder & Artistic Director, ROCO
Anthony DiLorenzo, Composer

Moderated by Edward Yim, President, American Composers Orchestra

As symphonic orchestras look ahead to performances that incorporate social distancing even onstage, American Composers Orchestra gathered representatives from three of the country’s leading chamber-size orchestras to shine a spotlight on contemporary chamber orchestra repertoire, in a free online discussion Thursday, June 18, 2020 from 1:30-2:30pm PT / 4:30-5:30pm ET. The event, moderated by ACO President Edward Yim, included Derek Bermel, Artistic Director, American Composers Orchestra; Ben Cadwallader, Executive Director, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; Kyu-Young Kim, Artistic Director, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; and Alecia Lawyer, Founder & Artistic Director, ROCO.

Panelists presented works for chamber orchestra (maximum 50 players) that their orchestra commissioned, premiered, or championed, and five composers joined them in discussing their works.

About the Panelists:

Edward Yim, President, American Composers Orchestra (Moderator) 

Ed Yim Headshot

Edward Yim became President of American Composers Orchestra in 2017, following his role as vice president for artistic planning at the New York Philharmonic. As the senior staff director in charge of programming, he collaborated across the organization to create and maintain the organization’s artistic profile by initiating long-term project development, engaging guest conductors and soloists, and coordinating repertoire for a year-round schedule of concerts in New York, international touring, and media activities. Previously, Yim was senior vice president and director of the Conductor and Instrumentalists Division at IMG Artists and served as director of artistic planning for both New York City Opera and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.

Derek Bermel, Artistic Director, American Composers Orchestra

Grammy-nominated composer and clarinetist Derek Bermel has been widely hailed for his creativity, theatricality, and virtuosity. Artistic Director of the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Bermel is also Director of Copland House’s emerging composers institute Cultivate, served as Composer-in-Residence at the Mannes College of Music, and enjoyed a four-year tenure as artist-in-residence at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton. Bermel has become recognized as a dynamic and unconventional curator of concert series that spotlight the composer as performer. Alongside his international studies of ethnomusicology and orchestration, an ongoing engagement with other musical cultures has become part of the fabric and force of his compositional language, in which the human voice and its myriad inflections play a primary role. He has received commissions from the Pittsburgh, National, Saint Louis, and Pacific Symphonies, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, WNYC Radio, La Jolla Music Society, Seattle Chamber Music Festival, eighth blackbird, Guarneri String Quartet, Music from Copland House and Music from China, De Ereprijs (Netherlands), violinist Midori, and electric guitarist Wiek Hijmans 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 an 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.

Ben Cadwallader, Executive Director, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

A native of Pennsylvania, Ben Cadwallader has served in leadership positions at performing arts organizations throughout the country, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Youth Orchestras of San Antonio and the East Coast Chamber Orchestra. Prior to joining LACO, Cadwallader was Executive Director of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra (VSO). Under his leadership, VSO evolved to become a creative leader in Vermont’s arts community, increasing contributed revenue and growing audiences statewide. He helped create a constellation of collaborative, inclusive and innovative musical and educational musical experiences that have been proven popular with audiences and donors alike, bringing together an enthusiastic and growing fan base. At the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, where Ben served as Education Programs Manager and oversaw educational initiatives and managed the Composer Fellowship Program, he ushered the program through a period of remarkable growth, reinvention, and increased national visibility. Ben hired composer Andrew Norman as Program Director and composer Sarah Gibson as Teaching Artist and expanded LA Phil musician involvement in the program. During his tenure, the number of applications for the fellowship reached historic highs. With Norman and composer/conductor Christopher Rountree, he conceived, created and implemented the National Composers Intensive (NCI). He also oversaw the YOLA Neighborhood Project in-school residencies and expanded the program to include 15 partner schools, serving 6,200 students in grades K-5. As a strong believer in the importance of community involvement, Ben volunteered as a mentor with the King Street Center in Burlington, VT. He also served as volunteer oboe teacher for Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) and was a volunteer youth group facilitator for the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas. Ben holds a Bachelors of Music in Performance from Mannes College of Music.

Kyu-Young Kim, Artistic Director, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra

Artistic Director and Principal Violin of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Kyu-Young Kim is one of the most versatile and accomplished musicians of his generation. His appointment as the SPCO’s Artistic Director in January 2016 marks the first time a playing member has been tapped to take the artistic helm of a major American orchestra. Previously, Kim served as Director of Artistic Planning with the SPCO while continuing to perform in the orchestra. Since assuming his dual role in 2013, the SPCO has named seven new Artistic Partners, opened its new Concert Hall at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts to great critical acclaim, toured throughout the U.S. and to Europe, and won a Grammy Award in 2018 for its disc of Schubert’s Death and the Maiden with violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja. Kim has also toured throughout the world as a founding member of the Daedalus Quartet with whom he won the Grand Prize at the 2001 Banff International String Quartet Competition and was a member of Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Two Program. As a former member of the Pacifica String Quartet, Mr. Kim won the prestigious Naumburg Chamber Music Award. He has appeared as soloist with the Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) Symphony Orchestra, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra of Poland and the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra. He has also served as guest concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, and is an Emeritus Member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

Alecia Lawyer, Founder & Artistic Director, ROCO

Named by Musical America as one of classical music’s Top 30 Influencers for 2015 and a Lorée oboe artist in 2019, Texas native Alecia Lawyer is the Founder, Artistic Director, and Principal Oboist of ROCO, a professional music ensemble that flexes from 1 to 40 musicians from across the US and Canada, including guest conductors from around the world. Expanding the repertoire, ROCO has commissioned and world premiered over 100 works from living composers. The group performs dozens of concerts annually in multiple venues throughout Houston, many of which are broadcast nationally and live streamed to the world. Known as “The Most Fun You Can Have with Serious Music!” ROCO has been called a trailblazer and arts disrupter and is leading the sector in innovation. Calling her business model “Wildcatting in the Arts,” Lawyer was named a finalist for Texas Musician of the Year (along with Willie Nelson) and was listed as one of Houston’s Top 50 Most Influential Women. She is a proud senior fellow of American Leadership Forum, a trustee for Episcopal High School, on the advisory board of Bright Sky Press, and a member of the Institute for Composer Diversity. She has received numerous awards, including the Gutsy Gal Award from Houston Woman Magazine and Sigma Alpha Iota Musician of the Year. She regularly presents her entrepreneurial model and dynamic ideas to conservatories, universities, and music festivals around the US, such as Juilliard, Yale, SMU, Round Top, and the Texas Music Festival, using ROCO as a case study for community-specific orchestra building. Business and social groups in the Greater Houston Area engage her to speak on numerous topics related to the creation, innovation, marketing, and development of the arts.

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