I don’t want to leave the semester without recapping this exciting event that took place in April, 2022. First, a bit of background for you out of towners:
The Rivers School Conservatory Seminar on Contemporary Music for the Young was founded for young performers to hear, play, and learn the music of their time. Since 1978 the seminar has presented 3,254 pieces, representing more than 1,920 composers and 720 premieres, including 227 commissioned pieces. Each seminar’s programming is unique; pieces are performed only once, so that repertoire, composed within the last 25 years, is constantly being explored. Every year RSC commissions one composer for a major work. Past commissioned composers and guests include:
Sir John Taverner
This year’s commissioned composer was Chen Yi. From her publishing Company’s website: ‘As a Distinguished Professor at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, a prolific composer, and recipient of the Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Dr. Chen Yi blends Chinese and Western traditions, transcending cultural and musical boundaries. Her music has reached a wide range of audiences and inspired peoples of different cultural backgrounds throughout the world.’
Dr. Chen Yi spent three days with us. She coached her new piece for string quartet, Song of Spring. She gave master classes, attended and coached in rehearsals, and moderated a round table discussion, How to Advocate for Women Composers Today. Her inimitable effervescence and deep warmth was felt by everyone. I wanted to present this opportunity to my students because I knew it would be unforgettable to them. It is not very common to formally learn and perform new works.
Read more about this year’s Seminar and Chen Yi: 43rd Annual Seminar on Contemporary Music for the Young | The Rivers School Conservatory
Seven of you from my class joined many other students and faculty members for this weekend of immersion in new music. The first three students listed here presented world premieres. The other pieces were firsts for Rivers, for sure, including the Balch and Benn which were commissioned by Jennifer Koh for her pandemic project, Alone Together.
Vaccine Etude No. 3 by Piotr Szewczyk was performed by Elliott Ho.
Vaccine Etude No. 5 for the G String by Piotr Szewczyk was performed by Oliver Rodriguez.
Quarantine Etude No. 3 was performed by Oghenebrume Sekegor.
YangKo for Solo Violin and 2 Percussionists by Chen Yi was performed by Leah Jin.
Cleaning by Katherine Balch was performed by Elizabeth Irvine
Song of Aphrodite by Lincoln Brady was performed by Catherine Irvine
exhalation by Hand Benn was performed by Anouk Grigoryan
We’re already thinking about next year. Let me know your ideas!