Women in Music Festival

2005 Composer Biographies

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2005 Composer Biographies

Composer Biographies

Roxanna Panufnik: 2005 Featured Composer  |  b. 1968

British composer Roxanna Panufnik has written numerous works that have received critical acclaim worldwide. In 1995-96, she was the first-ever Composer-in-Residence for the Royal County of Berkshire. She received a commission from the BBC to write for Patricia Rozario and the City of London Sinfonia’s U.K. tour in 2002, and she composed a piece for BBC 2’s Summer Dance series as well. Ms. Panufnik’s music can be heard on the EMI, BBC Music, BMG, Hyperion, Warner Classics, NMC, Black Box, Mr. Sam Records, and Teldec labels. She received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in composition from the Royal Academy of Music. More information about her can be found at www.roxannapanufnik.com.

Her real skill lies in an unerring ability to find, in musical language, the essence of the texts. I don’t think I will be alone after hearing this disc in begging for more of Roxanna Panufnik in the catalogue.

— Marc Rochester, Gramophone
Angel’s Sing! Review (Editor’s Choice)

Pauline Alpert  |  1900-1988

Hailed as one of “the most colorful pianistic personalities of the era,” the “whirlwind pianist,” and “the young lady who sounds like two pianos,” American composer Pauline Alpert was known for her virtuosity and embellishments. She appeared in national radio broadcasts, and played at the White House three times. Ms. Alpert made over fifty piano rolls, and also pursued radio, publishing, theatrical work (including playing for vaudeville shows), and phonographic recording. She studied at the Eastman School of Music.

Abigail Aresty  |  b. 1982

Abigail Aresty is a senior composition major at the Eastman School of Music. Ms. Aresty began composing at age sixteen and is particularly interested in solo and chamber works. She draws inspiration from current issues and enjoys writing for specific performers. As a “Take Five” scholar, she is studying political science, with a focus on contemporary issues. She seeks to combine this interest with her compositional skills, creating works that inspire awareness about relevant social issues.

Amy Beach  |  1867-1944

Composer and pianist Amy Beach wrote over three hundred works in a variety of genres including a mass, a symphony, a piano concerto, and works for chamber ensembles, piano, mixed chorus, and solo voice. Considered the foremost American female composer of her time, she was highly disciplined and known for her ability to create large-scale pieces rapidly. Primarily self-taught, Ms. Beach received critical acclaim not only in the United States, but in Europe as well. Her compositional style has been described as both Romantic and post-Romantic.

Lili Boulanger  |  1893-1918

French composer Lili Boulanger began musical studies at the age of three, and with the composer accompanying her, she sight-read Fauré songs a few years later. At nineteen, she caught the world’s attention by becoming the first woman to win the Prix de Rome (for her cantata Faust et Héléne). Although she was awarded a year of study in Rome, her stay was shortened due to poor health, and she died of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-five. In her short life, she composed more than fifty works.

Tzu-Ling Sarana Chou  |  b. 1980

Taiwanese composer Tzu-Ling Sarana Chou has been the recipient of many awards, including the Leo Kaplan Award (ASCAP) and the Ellen Taaffe Zwilich Prize. Highlights of this year include two world premieres (Ghent and Brussels, Belgium), and performances at the New Music Miami ISCM Festival and at the San Diego Music Festival. Ms. Chou is currently a first year D.M.A. composition student at the Eastman School of Music. She holds degrees from the University of Chicago (M.A. ’04) and The Juilliard School (B.M. ’02).

Winnie Cheung  |  b. 1975

Composer and pianist Winnie Cheung was born and raised in Hong Kong. Ms. Cheung’s works have received numerous awards, including the Brian M. Israel Prize, the Olga and Paul Menn Foundation Prize, and the Louis Lane Prize. Her compositions have been premiered by the Society for New Music and the Eastman Musica Nova Composers Project. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Chicago and is currently a second year D.M.A. Composition student at the Eastman School of Music.

Raie Da Costa  |  1905-1934

A native of Cape Town, South Africa, composer, pianist, improviser, and arranger Raie Da Costa moved to London at age nineteen with hopes of becoming a concert pianist. There, she ventured into her own style: a combination of classical and jazz elements with diverse musical idioms and much syncopation. Her recordings can be heard on the Parlophone and HMV labels. Considered one of the most talented pianists of her time, she was known for her embellishments, incredible left hand technique, and orchestral musical concepts.

Rebecca Clarke  |  1886-1979

English-born composer Rebecca Clarke began composing at the age of sixteen and was the first woman composer to win the celebrated Mendelssohn Scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music. An accomplished violist, she played chamber music with Hess, Casals, Thibaud, Szell, Rubinstein, Schnabel, Monteux and Grainger, among others. As a soloist, Clarke performed throughout Great Britain, Europe, and America, and in 1923, toured around the world. Her oeuvre includes fifty-eight vocal works and twenty-four instrumental works.

Jeanne Demessieux  |  1921-1968

French composer and organist Jeanne Demessieux gave her first public recital in London (1947), which ended with an improvised organ symphony on four themes submitted by London music critics. Ms. Demessieux also became the first woman to play at Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral. Primarily a composer of organ works, Ms. Demessieux studied at the Paris Conservatoire where she won the premiers prix in harmony, piano, fugue and counterpoint, and organ.

Madeleine Dring  |  1923-1977

English composer and actress Madeleine Dring began studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music under a violin scholarship at age nine. There, she studied composition (with Vaughan Williams), piano, drama and mime, and voice, and she developed a heightened interest in children’s plays. Her compositions include dramatic works, instrumental pieces, and songs for piano and voice. An admirer of Francis Poulenc, Ms. Dring’s works display extensive attention to harmony and melody, and an affinity with vernacular styles.

Elisenda Fábregas  |  b. 1955

Spanish composer, pedagogue, and pianist, Elisenda Fábregas holds doctorates from Barcelona Conservatory and Columbia University. She moved to the U.S. in 1978, after receiving a postdoctoral Fulbright grant for studies at the Juilliard School. In 1985, she began writing music while working with various choreographers and dance companies in New York City. Her compositions have been commissioned and performed by many, including the Dale Warland Singers, the Orchestra of Santa Fe, and the Texas Music Teachers Association.

Beata Golec  |  b. 1981

The Polish-born pianist, composer, and model Beata Golec began composing at age thirteen. Her debut CD, Debut de Siècle was released in 2002, featuring Ms. Golec as both composer and performer. Most recently, Ms. Golec was chosen to compose a score for a film project at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Ms. Golec will graduate this spring from the Eastman School of Music (M.M., Piano Performance), after which she will pursue doctoral studies.

Sofiya Gubaydulina  |  b. 1931

Composer Sofiya Gubaydulina is considered one of the foremost modern Russian composers. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Koussevitzky Prize, the State Prize of Russia, and the Kulturpreis des Kreises Pinneberg. Ms. Gubaydulina’s style is quite eclectic, drawing inspiration from philosophical ideas, Eastern themes, Western ideology and the Russian Orthodox tradition. She graduated from the Kazan’ Conservatory, and proceeded with graduate studies at the Moscow Conservatory.

Billie Holiday  |  1915-1959

Ms. Holiday made her singing debut in Harlem nightclubs and speakeasies, and was noticed by the likes of Count Basie, Artie Shaw, and Benny Goodman. Although she recorded over two hundred “sides” between 1933 and 1944, she never received royalties for any of them. Ms. Holiday had no musical training, yet her unique style, harmonization, diction, phrasing, and dramatic intuition made her one of the leading jazz singers of the time. Ms. Holiday died an early death at the age of forty-four.

Katherine Hoover  |  b. 1937

Composer, conductor, and flutist, Katherine Hoover is the recipient of a National Endowment Composer’s Fellowship and many other awards, including an Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Composition. Her works are published by Theodore Presser, Carl Fischer, and Papagena Press. Ms. Hoover attended the Eastman School of Music, and also holds a Masters degree in Music Theory from the Manhattan School of Music, where she also taught.

Vera Ivanova  |  b. 1977

Ms. Ivanova has composed a variety of works that have been performed in venues such as the Mozarteum (Salzburg) and Weill Recital Hall (New York). She has been published by Universal Edition, and has received the First Prize in Category “A” at the International Contest of Acousmatic Compositions Métamorphoses 2004. She holds degrees from the Moscow Tchaikovsky State Conservatory and from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Ms. Ivanova is currently a Ph.D. composition student at the Eastman School of Music.

Rachel Kincaid  |  b. 1986

Rachel Kincaid is a freshman at the Eastman School of Music and the University of Rochester where she is a double degree student in trumpet performance and brain and cognitive science. Ms. Kincaid studies trumpet with James Thompson and composition with Marco Alunno. She has had pieces debuted in Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music, Severence Hall (Cleveland, Ohio), and Waetjen Auditorium (Cleveland State University). Previously, she studied composition with Jack Gallagher at the College of Wooster.

Lori Laitman  |  b. 1955

Since 1991, American composer Lori Laitman has been writing primarily for voice, however, her works include music for film, theatre, and chamber music as well. Regarding her pieces, Opera News says, “It’s a treat to hear contemporary art songs that showcase the voice as flatteringly as these, and which retain individuality and surprise without sacrificing accessibility.” Ms. Laitman’s pieces have been heard in venues such as Weill Recital Hall and Alice Tully Hall (New York), and The Kennedy Center (D.C.). She holds a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music.

Sally Lamb  |  b. 1966

American composer Sally Lamb has been the winner of numerous honors, including awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (the 2001 Charles Ives Fellowship), the Whitaker New Reading Session, the New York Foundation for the Arts, Meet the Composer, and ASCAP. Dr. Lamb is an assistant professor of composition and theory at the Rose, Jules R. and Stanford S. Setnor School of Music at Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. She received her D.M.A. from Cornell University.

Libby Larsen  |  b. 1950

Libby Larsen has been praised as “the only English-speaking composer since Benjamin Britten who matches great verse with fine music so intelligently and expressively” (USA Today). She has written over two hundred pieces of music in nearly every major genre, from chamber music and song cycles, to large-scale orchestral and choral pieces. Well-known and highly regarded, Ms. Larsen is a composer whose works have become standard in the classical music repertory.

Ching-Mei Lin  |  b. 1980

Taiwanese composer Ching-Mei Lin has won such honors as the first prize in NACUSA (National Association of Composers, U.S.A.) and the Young Composers Competition. Her piece, Abysmal Cry, was played by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in February 2005. Ms. Lin’s collaboration with film director Heng-Chin Lee, Listen to the Singing of the Deer in the Mist, a documentary about Taiwanese Aborigines, won the 2003 Golden Prize for Best Taiwanese Film. She is currently pursuing a composition degree (M.M.) at the Eastman School of Music.

Bonnie Miksch  |  b. 1970

Composer and performer Bonnie Miksch creates both acoustic and electroacoustic works. Recent projects include performing as a vocalist and laptop artist with Suddenly Listen, an experimental improvisation group, and writing a new piece for the Chagall Trio. Dr. Miksch holds a D.M.A. in Composition with a cognate in computer music from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. She is currently a visiting Professor at Williams College where she teaches composition, electroacoustic music, and music theory.

Aïko Miyamoto

Japanese composer and percussionist Aïko Miyamoto began musical studies in her native land, and then traveled to France in 1990 to study with Francis Brana and Jacques-Francois Juskowiak. In 1991, she won the Clermont-Ferrand International Competition’s first prix exceptionnel du public. Ms. Miyamoto frequently appears as a soloist and chamber musician in Japan and France. An active performer, she is a founding member of the ensemble Cantus Percussio and has premiered numerous concertos and solo works.

Thea Musgrave  |  b. 1928

Scottish-American composer Thea Musgrave has gained wide recognition as both a composer and conductor. Her works were first performed under the sponsorship of the BBC and at the Edinburgh International Festival, and have since received great critical acclaim, leading to the Koussevitzky Award, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and honorary degrees from Old Dominion University (Virginia), Smith College, and Glasgow University. Ms. Musgrave’s works include operas, concertos, and symphonic pieces.

Hilda Paredes  |  b. 1957

The Mexican composer Hilda Paredes has been the recipient of many honors including the Holst Foundation Award for composers (U.K.), the Sistema Nacional de Creadores Fellowship (Mexico), the Rockefeller-Fund for Culture Mexico/U.S.A. award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a fellowship from the Arts Council of Great Britain. Ms. Paredes taught for five years at the National University in Mexico, where she produced a weekly radio show featuring new music. Ms. Paredes holds a Ph.D. from Manchester University.

Lavinia Kell Parker  |  b. 1977

Lavinia Kell Parker graduated with a degree in composition from Wilfrid Laurier University where she studied with Dr. Peter Hatch, Linda Caitlin Smith, and Dr. Glenn Buhr. At Laurier, she was honored with the Dr. Robert Delaney Memorial Award and the Robert and Judith Astley Music Scholarship. In addition, the Mendelssohn Youth Choir and Orchestra played her graduation piece at Toronto’s Ford Centre for the Performing Arts. Ms. Parker’s music has been heard throughout Canada, the United States, and France.

Florence Beatrice Price  |  1887-1953

Florence Beatrice Price became the first black woman to have a symphony premiered by a major orchestra (Symphony No. 1 in E Minor, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 1933). Although generally Romantic in style, her music incorporates African-American spirituals, bold modulations, and exotic harmonies. Ms. Price received her Artist’s Diploma in organ and her Piano Teacher’s Diploma from the New England Conservatory. She pursued additional studies at the American University.

Elizabeth Raum  |  b. 1945

Canadian composer (of American birth) Elizabeth Raum is often known as a “performer’s composer,” writing in a neo-romantic, lyrical style that delights large audiences. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Ms. Raum went on to play principal oboe in both the Atlanta and Regina Symphony Orchestras. An avid poet and writer, she has written the librettos to all of her operas. Ms. Raum holds a Master of Music degree in composition from the University of Regina.

Ann Ronell  |  1908-1993

Ms. Ronell was one of the earliest successful Tin Pan Alley female composers. She attended Radcliffe College and studied composition with Walter Piston. Ms. Ronell composed for Disney, and became one of the few professionals at the time to write both lyrics and music. She composed movie scores for One Touch of Venus, the Marx Brothers’ Love Happy, and The Story of G.I. Joe. Her work on the latter earned her two Oscar nominations: one for Best Song (Linda), and with co-composer Louis Applebaum, a nomination for Best Score.

Clara Schumann  |  1819-1896

Hailed as Europe’s “Queen of Piano,” Clara Schumann began composing at the age of nine. Her sixty-six works include songs, partsongs, pieces for piano and orchestra, pieces for solo piano, and cadenzas for piano concertos. Greatly admired by her contemporaries, Ms. Schumann was awarded the title of “Royal and Imperial Chamber Virtuosa, With Great Distinction” in Vienna, by the Emperor. Ms. Schumann’s compositional style is characterized by virtuosity, poeticism, bold harmonies, rhythms, and modulations.

Barbara Strozzi  |  1619-1664

Barbara Strozzi composed some of the most remarkable and dramatic music of the seventeenth century. She was regarded as the foremost singer and lute player in Venice. Her music bears resemblances to her teacher Cavalli’s, however, it displays more lyricism. Formally, she contrasted musical ideas and utilized refrains. Ms. Strozzi’s eight volumes of published music include arias, madrigals, duets, and more cantatas than any other seventeenth century composer.

– Compiled and edited by Sophia Ahmad

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Dr. Sylvie Beaudette, Festival Director  |  Sophia Ahmad, Assistant Director
Sponsored by Universal Edition and Eastman School of Music