Composers Conference moves to Brandeis for its 73rd season with free concerts on campus

After 35 years at Wellesley College, the Composers Conference is making its new home at Brandeis University. The Conference offers a unique opportunity for emerging composers, professional musicians, amateur chamber players, and conservatory-level instrumentalists and singers. Members of the Brandeis community and the general public will be able to attend evening concerts that mix everything from Mozart and Bach to music just composed, performed by some of the finest musicians from New York and Boston.

The two-week conference will take place from July 29 to August 12, and concerts will be held on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm. For more information, including the programming and performance schedule, visit the conference website. Works by classical masters as well as premieres by current composers will be performed throughout the conference.

“This is the oldest and most respected program of its kind,” says Eric Chasalow, the dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Irving Fine Professor of Music. “Several prestigious universities were considered, and I am delighted that Brandeis, with our storied history in music and in composition, was chosen to host the Conference.” Chasalow is a member of the board of trustees for the conference.

For each year’s festival, ten composer fellows are selected from a pool of highly accomplished applicants to participate in intensive seminars and public colloquia with two honored guest composers and artistic director, Mario Davidovsky. Their music will be performed publicly and professionally recorded by the Conference Ensemble. The ensemble consists of new music specialists, many of whom are members of highly regarded groups such as Talea, ICE, counter)induction, the Network for New Music, New York New Music Ensemble, the Argento Ensemble, BMOP, Talujon, the Momenta Quartet, and others. James Baker, who will direct the ensemble, is the principal percussionist of the New York City Ballet Orchestra, principal conductor of the Talea Ensemble, and former conductor of the New York New Music Ensemble.

Davidovsky, a Pulitzer Prize winner, regards Brandeis as “one of the most important centers for music in the United States.” He remembers the University’s founding being major news among the Jewish community in Argentina because his mother was so excited when she read about it in the newspaper. After moving to United States in 1958 to study under Aaron Copland at Tanglewood, Davidovsky “became aware of Brandeis’ outstanding faculty–which at that time included luminaries like Arthur Berger and Seymour Schifrin.” He received the Brandeis Creative Arts Award in 1966.

Another conference program is the Chamber Music Workshop, which allows amateur chamber musicians to be coached by world-class professionals. These adult students rehearse and perform throughout the conference. In addition, the Contemporary Performance Institute will bring a group of conservatory-level students to study, rehearse, and perform repertoire from the 20th and 21st centuries. Fred Sherry, a faculty member at The Juilliard School and former artistic director of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, will direct.

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