Project 440 is an exciting new commissioning program created by Orpheus in partnership with WQXR. Beginning with the selection of 60 composer nominees in June, Project 440 has invited the community to listen to, learn about, and discuss new music from emerging compositional talents around the world. The project has been marked by multiple rounds of elimination, first to 30 semi-finalists and then to 12 finalists. The four winners of the competition, selected by a committee of Orpheus musicians and industry professionals, will receive a commission from the orchestra to be premiered in 2012. Click here for more information.
Alex Mincek (b. 1975) is a New York-based composer and performer. He studied composition with Tristan Murail and Fred Lerdahl at Columbia University and with Nils Vigeland at the Manhattan School of Music, where he received a Master of Arts. Mincek's music has been performed at major music festivals, including Festival Présences of Radio France, Voix Nouvelles at the Abbaye de Royaumont, Festival des Musiques Démesurées, Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt, Contempuls Festival in Prague and the Ostrava New Music Days. Mincek is the artistic director of the Wet Ink Ensemble, a group dedicated to experimental contemporary music, which he founded in 1998.
The music of Clint Needham (b. 1981) has been described as "wildly entertaining" (New York Times), "easy to smile at" (Philadelphia Inquirer), and "fresh and spicy" (Courier-Post). Recently named recipient of a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Needham's music has been recognized with two ASCAP Morton Gould Awards, the William Schuman Prize/BMI Student Composer Award, the Jacob Druckman Prize from the Aspen Music Festival, First Prize in the International Ticheli Composition Contest, the Heckscher Prize from Ithaca College, a Lee Ettelson Composer Award and the coveted Underwood New Music Commission from the American Composers Orchestra. Clint recently earned his doctorate degree from Indiana University, where he was a four-year Jacobs School of Music Doctoral Fellow in composition.
Andrew Norman (b. 1979) is a composer of chamber and orchestral music. A native Midwesterner raised in central California, Norman studied the piano and viola before attending the University of Southern California and Yale University. A lifelong enthusiast for all things architectural, Norman writes music that is often inspired by forms and ideas he encounters in the visual world. His music draws on an eclectic mix of sounds and usually features some combination of bright colors, propulsive energy, a healthy dose of lyricism and the fragmentation of musical ideas into little pieces. A composer of what the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung calls "shamelessly beautiful" music for not only the avant-garde but "for all classical enthusiasts or indeed all music lovers," Cynthia Lee Wong is much in demand by ensembles throughout the world. Current commissions include a work for the Duo Slaato Reinecke, a piano sonata-fantasy for Soo Jin Anjou and a piano quartet for the Santa Fe Music Festival and the La Jolla Music Society, which will receive performances in 2010 and 2011. Wong is a graduate of the accelerated five-year Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Music program at the Juilliard School.
A self-governing organization, Orpheus was founded in 1972 by cellist Julian Fifer and a group of fellow musicians who aspired to perform diverse orchestral repertoire using chamber music ensemble techniques. Today, Orpheus continues to uphold this philosophy, performing without a conductor and rotating musical leadership roles for each work. The effect is extraordinary: The Chicago Tribune gushes, "Orpheus Chamber Orchestra shattered the mold, becoming in the process one of the more memorable events in this festival's 13-year history."