American Composers Orchestra & Carnegie Hall Co-Present


Modern Yesterdays

March 16, 2023 at 7:30pm

Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall


Daniela Candillari, Conductor
Kaki King, Guitar

Carlos Bandera is a composer whose music is characterized by a glacial unfolding of sonic landscapes. He often expands simple elements into large-scale musical structures, through which he explores the interplay of harmony, noise, and texture. Carlos received the Underwood Commission to write a new work for the American Composers Orchestra after his piece Lux in Tenebris was performed at the 2018 Underwood New Music Readings. His music has been performed by groups such as the Albany Symphony, Illinois Philharmonic, Hastings Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, Dogs of Desire, Hotel Elefant, Earspace, Hebrides Ensemble, Nebula Ensemble, Omnibus Ensemble, and Now Hear This. He has attended Composers Conference, Copland House’s CULTIVATE program, the Delian Academy for New Music, and Time of Music.

In the Composer’s Own Words

Materia Prima draws inspiration from the mythological motif of the cosmic ocean. This motif, which can be found in the creation stories of a strikingly wide variety of cultures and religions, describes a cosmic ocean of primordial, often chaotic waters from which the universe was created. The title, Materia Prima (Latin for prime, or original matter) refers to the substance viewed as the material cause of the universe.

There are two musical elements that form my piece, sustained sounds and brief impulses. The impulses act as drops of water in a still, vast sea, creating waves of activity that disrupt the stability of the sustained material. The harmonic structure of the piece is built upon a similar opposition, one between the harmonic series of a low B-flat and the open strings of the string instruments, particularly the open A – the note from which the entire piece emerges. The piece unfolds through gradual processes of transformation as it attempts to reconcile these opposing materials. At its core, Materia Prima strives to find serene spaces in a turbulent and chaotic world.

Recent Work

Ellen Reid is one of the most innovative artists of her generation.  A composer and sound artist whose breadth of work spans opera,  sound design, film scoring, ensemble and choral writing, she was  awarded the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her opera, p r i s m. 

Along with composer Missy Mazzoli, Ellen co-founded the Luna  Composition Lab. Luna Lab is a mentorship program for young  female, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming composers. Since  2019, she has served as Creative Advisor and Composer-in Residence for Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Read More

In the Composer’s Own Words

A floodplain is a low-lying area of land near a river whose role changes depending on precipitation and weather — it can morph from a fertile home for grasses, plant and animal life to a silty bed for the swollen river. In writing Floodplain, I was inspired by this landscape that is both lush and dangerous. Musically, I used a rhythmic figure made of sextuplets, which, unifies the work and alternatively propels it in different directions. I started writing Floodplain at the beginning of 2020. Once it became clear that the premiere would need to be moved due to COVID-19, I put the work on the shelf and didn’t look at it for about two years. In the interim, my concepts of unpredictability and the creative fertility found in it were fundamentally re-shaped, and Floodplain emerged as a wholly different work than the one I had conceived before the pandemic.

Recent Work

Described by the Los Angeles Times as a composer who “refashions musical history as excitable new realms with an unmistakable musical purpose essential for our times”, Carlos Simon is a multi-faceted and highly sought-after composer and curator. His music ranges from concert music for large and small ensembles to film scores with influences of jazz, gospel, and neo-romanticism. Simon is the current Composer-in-Residence for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Read More

In the Composer’s Own Words

Using the beautifully fluid harmonic structure of the 2nd movement of Beethoven’s 7th symphony, I have composed musical gestures that are representative of the unpredictable ways of fate. Jolting stabs, coupled with an agitated groove with every persona. Frenzied arpeggios in the strings that morph into an ambiguous cloud of free-flowing running passages depicts the uncertainty of life that hovers over us.

We know that Beethoven strived to overcome many obstacles in his life and documented his aspirations to prevail, despite his ailments. Whatever the specific reason for including this particularly profound passage from the Iliad, in the end, it seems that Beethoven relinquished to fate. Fate now conquers.

Excerpt of Fate Now Conquers performed by the New York Philharmonic

Composer and musician Kaki King is considered one of the world’s greatest living guitarists, known both for her technical mastery and for her constant quest to push the boundaries of the instrument. Hailed by Rolling Stone as “a genre unto herself,” Kaki has released 9 albums and toured extensively, presenting in such prestigious arts centers as the Kennedy Center, MoMA, LACMA, The Met and Smithsonian Design Museum. She has created music for numerous film and TV soundtracks, including “August Rush” and “Into the Wild”, for which received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Score. She has performed with symphonies and chamber ensembles, and recorded an album in collaboration with the Porta Girevole Chamber Orchestra commissioned by the Berklee College of Music. Read More

In the Composer’s Own Words

Initially, my solo shows had a very stark look so the audience would focus on my fingers. A colleague’s advice inspired me to think about a lightshow that would be enticing to non-musicians. Many of the examples I found in my initial research were really big. I started asking whether I could create something that was smaller and more intimate. The projection mapping system I created became a process of experimenting on the technical level, and then about what we wanted to say with it. 

The Neck is a Bridge to a Body was the first time I worked in multi-media, triggering visuals with the guitar. Over the years, I added a drum trigger that connects everything. If I play a note on the guitar, I can send that note into my computer and then have the computer do any number of things that I want: trigger a spiral visual that comes up on the guitar; or connect to audio of a human voice that’s subtitled on the guitar. Some of these elements are pre-rendered, but most of the performance is improvised live including my control of visuals and audio. Read More

Recent Work

Composer and electric guitarist D. J. Sparr, who Gramophone recently hailed as “exemplary,” is one of America’s preeminent composer-performers. He has caught the attention of critics with his eclectic style, described as “pop-Romantic…iridescent and wondrous” (The Mercury News) and “suits the boundary erasing spirit of today’s new-music world” (The New York Times). In addition, the Los Angeles Times praises him as “an excellent soloist,” and the Santa Cruz Sentinel says that he “wowed an enthusiastic audience…Sparr’s guitar sang in a near-human voice.” Read More

Recent Work

About Featured Artists

Conductor Daniela Candillari, praised for her “confidence and apparently inexhaustible verve” (The New York Times), continues to be recognized for her dynamic and compelling performances at opera houses and concert stages throughout North America and Europe. Equally at home leading contemporary and long-beloved repertoire, Candillari “finds equal inspiration in tradition and novelty” (Opera News). She is Principal Conductor of the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Principal Opera Conductor of Music Academy of the West.

Candillari makes her Metropolitan Opera debut in the 2021-2022 season conducting Aucoin’s Eurydice. She also leads a new production of Jeanine Tesori’s Blue with Detroit Opera and workshops the composer’s Grounded with Washington National Opera and The Met, conducts Fire Shut Up in My Bones at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Carmen at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and leads Eugene Onegin with Music Academy of the West. 

Recent highlights include Candillari’s New York Philharmonic debut at The Met Museum; debuts with LA Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Opera Philadelphia, and Saint Louis Symphony; and her Asian debut in Hong Kong. As a composer, she has been commissioned by instrumentalists from the Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, and Pittsburgh Symphonies, as well as the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and New York City Ballet. 

Born in Serbia, Candillari grew up in Serbia and Slovenia. She holds a Doctorate in Musicology from the Universität für Musik in Vienna, a Master of Music in Jazz from Indiana University, and a Master of Music and Bachelor in Piano Performance from the Universität für Musik in Graz. She was a Fulbright Scholarship recipient and was subsequently awarded a TED Fellowship. Learn more at