The 12 final composers from Orpheus Chamber Orchestra's Project 440 will be announced live on New York Public Radio at 10 a.m. this morning. The project, which began with 60 composer candidates and will conclude with the selection of four Orpheus commission recipients later this year, offers the public a rare glimpse into the ways new orchestral commissions come to be. Prior to this round of selection, the original 60 composers were narrowed to 30 semi-finalists on August 2. Out of the 12 finalists announced today, the four winners of the competition will be selected and revealed in early October.
The 12 composers selected to advance to the final round in Project 440 are:
Orpheus designed Project 440 in keeping with the passion for new music and for transparency of the creative process that has been a hallmark of the orchestra since its inception in 1972. The project is documented online on the WQXR website and on Facebook, where fans and members of the public have engaged in lively debate about each of the candidates and Project 440 as a whole. Each composer nominee has a profile page that features samples of his or her previous work and the opportunity for the public to post reactions and comments. The Project 440 website has fostered dialogue about the nature of commissioning, elements of the project that resemble a popularity contest, and a number of other topics. All of the decisions regarding the elimination of candidates are made by a Selection Committee comprised of Orpheus musicians and staff as well as previously commissioned composers.
Orpheus cellists and Selection Committee members Jonathan Spitz and Eric Bartlett have created a series of videos to document the project from their perspective as well. Those videos are available through the Orpheus YouTube channel.