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Teddy Abrams & Louisville Orchestra Announce Inaugural Group of Composers for New “Creators Corps” Residency Program Beginning Sep 1

TJ Cole (photo: Lucy Gellman), Tyler Taylor (photo: Niles Singer), Lisa Bielawa (photo: Desmond White)

“If we’re relying on the younger generation to help boost interest in classical music, look no further than Teddy Abrams.”
— NPR Music

“A genre-defying orchestra in Louisville? Believe it.
Time magazine

(July 2022)—Long praised for visionary thinking about the role of an orchestra in its community, galvanizing Music Director Teddy Abrams and the Louisville Orchestra (LO) are pleased to announce the inaugural group of creators for their newest initiative, the Louisville Orchestra Creators Corps, which transcends traditional commissioning and composer-in-residence paradigms with a radically new model for collaborating with symphony orchestras in the 21st century. The selected creators are Lisa Bielawa, TJ Cole, and Tyler Taylor. Abrams, who was named Conductor of the Year for 2022 by Musical America and begins his eighth season with the orchestra in September, explains:

“I was overwhelmed by the diverse talent of the 186 applicants for the initial year of the LO’s Creators Corps. I believe this reflects the widespread desire for artists to build deeper and more impactful relationships with civic institutions and the communities they represent. With an extraordinarily dedicated selection committee, we were able to find three exceptional creators to join us in Louisville for the 2022-23 Season. Lisa, TJ, and Tyler are examples of consummate 21st-century artist-leaders; their musical talents match their intellects and they all share a remarkable sensitivity to the needs of the world beyond the boundaries of contemporary musical composition. While each creator has a unique background and aesthetic perspective, their collective accomplishments and capabilities will make them a tremendous part of the LO family and the creative fabric of Louisville (and in Tyler’s case, as a Louisvillian, we are honored to offer him the Orchestra’s broad civic platform). This is an historic and immensely consequential moment for the LO, and I can’t wait to begin collaborating with these three outstanding creators.”

Graham Parker, the Louisville Orchestra’s Interim Executive Director, adds:

“The Creators Corps marks a new chapter for innovation and leadership for the Louisville Orchestra, and I am proud that we are demonstrating the most impactful way composers, community leaders, musicians and civic partners can come together to fundamentally change the conversation around creativity, the creative process, access to and impact from the arts. The entire LO family is dedicated to delivering on this new model and showcasing it across Metro Louisville, the Commonwealth and the country.”

The Creators Corps, an innovative first-of-its-kind program that puts artists in the community for deeper integration with the orchestra and the city of Louisville, selects three creators in the spring to move to Louisville for the upcoming season and live in the Shelby neighborhood for at least 30 weeks, serving as LO staff members with an annual salary of $40,000, health insurance, housing, and a custom-built studio workspace. Throughout their residencies, the creators will compose new works to be performed by the orchestra and/or in other settings, participate in educational and community engagement activities, and be active, engaged citizens of their neighborhood. The three selected creators will each have a preexisting work performed on the opening night program on September 17. The world premieres of their new works will be performed in Louisville during the 2022/23 season on Classics programs on January 14, March 4, and March 11 – the latter two dates as part of the Festival of American Music – and will appear as well on Music Without Borders programs.

The Creators Corps program has been funded by a three-year, $750,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation and from the generous support of additional individual donors locally and nationally.

About the Creators Corps Composers

Lisa Bielawa

Composer, producer, and vocalist Lisa Bielawa is a Rome Prize winner in musical composition. She takes inspiration for her work from literary sources and close artistic collaborations. Gramophone reports, “Bielawa is gaining gale force as a composer, churning out impeccably groomed works that at once evoke the layered precision of Vermeer and the conscious recklessness of Jackson Pollock.” Her music has been described as “ruminative, pointillistic and harmonically slightly tart,” by the New York Times, and “fluid and arresting … at once dramatic and probing,” by the San Francisco Chronicle. She is the recipient of the 2017 Music Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters and a 2020 OPERA America Grant for Female Composers. She was named a William Randolph Hearst Visiting Artist Fellow at the American Antiquarian Society for 2018 and was Artist-in-Residence at Kaufman Music Center in New York for the 2020-2021 season.

Bielawa has established herself as one of today’s leading composers and performers, one who consistently executes work that incorporates community-making as part of her artistic vision. She has created music for public spaces in Lower Manhattan, the banks of the Tiber River in Rome, on the sites of former airfields in Berlin and in San Francisco, and to mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall; she composed and produced a twelve-episode, made-for-TV opera that featured over 350 musicians and was filmed in locations across the country; she was a co-founder in 1997 of the MATA Festival, which continues to support young composers; and for five years she was the artistic director of the San Francisco Girls Chorus, bringing the chorus to the NY PHIL BIENNIAL and introducing the young performers to the music of today through numerous premieres and commissions from leading composers. From 2019-2022, Bielawa was the founding Composer-in-Residence and Chief Curator of the Philip Glass Institute (PGI) at The New School’s College of the Performing Arts.

In addition to performing as the vocalist in the Philip Glass Ensemble, Bielawa performs in many of her own works as well as in the music of John Zorn, Anthony Braxton, Michael Gordon, and others. She will have her third residency as a performer/composer at Zorn’s venue The Stone in November 2022. She recently made her orchestral conducting debut leading the Mannes String Orchestra in a special presentation by the Philip Glass Institute, featuring her music, music by Jon Gibson and David T. Little, and Philip Glass’s Symphony No. 3.

Born in San Francisco into a musical family, Lisa Bielawa played the violin and piano, sang, and wrote music from early childhood. She moved to New York two weeks after receiving her B.A. in Literature in 1990 from Yale University, and became an active participant in New York musical life.

TJ Cole

TJ Cole (they/she) is an American composer, originally from the suburbs of Atlanta. They have been commissioned by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Louisville Orchestra, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Nashville in Harmony, Intersection, Time For Three, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, Play On Philly, the Music in May Festival, Music in the Vineyards, the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, One Book One Philadelphia, and the Bakken Trio, among others.

Their music has been performed by various ensembles, including the Minnesota Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Utah Symphony, Ensemble Connect, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra, the Dover Quartet, the Bakken Trio, and the Nebula Ensemble, among others. They have also worked on numerous projects with Time for Three as an orchestrator and arranger, and served as a composer-in-residence at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in 2014.

TJ has also been a singer-songwriter, producer, and engineer in the fully electronic synth-pop band Twin Pixie, which focuses on making music at the intersection of queerness, pop culture, and the supernatural.

TJ has participated in composition programs including the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, and the Next Festival of Emerging Artists, and studied with Samuel Adler for a summer at the Freie Universität Berlin. They have won two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer awards (2014 and 2020), including the Leo Kaplan Award in 2020 for their string sextet ‘Playtime’.

TJ has also been involved with music-related community outreach projects. They collaborated with bassist Ranaan Meyer as an orchestrator on his project The World We All Deserve Through Music, and with First Person Arts by co-curating and performing in a musical story slam. During a yearlong ArtistYear Fellowship (2016-17), TJ was able to co-run and collaborate in musical performances and songwriting workshops with residents of Project HOME, a Philadelphia-based organization fighting to end chronic homelessness.

TJ received their Bachelor’s degree in composition from the Curtis Institute of Music, and studied at Interlochen Arts Academy. Their mentors include John Boyle Jr., Jennifer Higdon, David Ludwig, and Richard Danielpour.

Tyler Taylor

Tyler Taylor, a Louisville native, is a composer-performer whose work explores the different ways identity can be expressed in musical scenarios. Common among these pieces is a sense of contradiction – sometimes whimsical, sometimes alarming – that comes from the interaction of diverse musical layers. This expression of contradiction likely comes from his being a person of mixed race; being raised on hip hop and R&B while inheriting a European tradition of Western art music as his primary form of musical expression in spite of having little or no other cultural ties to Europe; and pursuing a career in a field that generally lacks representation of his demographic.

Tyler has recently held fellowships at the National Orchestra Institute and the Bowdoin International Music Festival. During these residencies he had several works performed, including two premieres, and worked alongside Marin Alsop, Derek Bermel, Andreia Pinto Correia, and many other distinguished artists. His work has been recognized by awards including the BMI Student Composition Award (2019) and the Howard Hanson Ensemble Prize (2017, 2016), and has been featured during the College Orchestra Directors Association Convention (2022), the University of Louisville Annual New Music Festival (2018, 2017, 2016) and the Midwest Composers Symposium (2019). He has recently been commissioned by the Washington and Lee University Orchestra, the Chicago Composers Orchestra, the Albany Symphony Contemporary Ensemble, the Youth Performing Arts School, the Louisville Orchestra, the Indiana University New Music Ensemble, and the Indiana Bandmasters Association.

In addition to his composition, Tyler is an avid performer of contemporary music, playing horn in many of his own works and those by his colleagues. He has honed his skill as a contemporary performer in groups such as the IU New Music Ensemble, Eastman’s Musica Nova, Ossia New Music, the University of Louisville New Music Ensemble, and more.

Tyler holds degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music (Doctor of Music in Composition, with minors in music theory and horn performance), the Eastman School of Music (Master of Music in Composition and Horn), and the University of Louisville (Bachelor of Music in Composition). His principal composition teachers include Tansy Davies, Aaron Travers, Don Freund, David Liptak, Robert Morris, Krzysztof Wołek, and Steve Rouse. His principal horn teachers include Dale Clevenger, Jeff Nelsen, W. Peter Kurau, Bruce Heim, Steve Causey, and Diana Morgen.

About the Louisville Orchestra

Established in 1937 through the combined efforts of businessman Dann C. Byck and conductor Robert Whitney, the Louisville Orchestra is a cornerstone of the Louisville arts community. An audacious plan by Louisville Mayor Charles Farnsley launched the Louisville Orchestra First Edition Recordings in 1947 and the LO became the first American orchestra to own a recording label. Six years later it received a Rockefeller grant of $500,000 to commission, record, and premiere music by living composers, thereby earning a place on the international circuit. In 2001, the Louisville Orchestra received the Leonard Bernstein Award for Excellence in Educational Programming, presented annually to a North American orchestra. Continuing its commitment to new music, the Louisville Orchestra has earned 19 ASCAP awards for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music, and was also awarded large grants from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music and the National Endowment for the Arts, both for the purpose of producing, manufacturing and marketing its historic First Edition Recordings collections. Over the years, the orchestra has performed for prestigious events at the White House, Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and on tour in Mexico City, and their last two albums for the Decca Gold label, All In (2017) and The Order of Nature (2019) – the latter launched with an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon – both topped the Billboard Classical and Crossover charts. The feature-length, Gramophone Award-winning documentary Music Makes a City (2010) chronicles the Louisville Orchestra’s founding years, and, in spring 2018, Teddy Abrams and the orchestra were profiled on the popular television program CBS Sunday Morning.

High-resolution photos are available here.

Creators Corps Works in 2022-23 Classics Season

Sep 17
“Swing, Swagger and Sway”
Teddy Abrams, conductor & piano
Tessa Lark, violin
Wynton MARSALIS: Violin Concerto in D
Tyler TAYLOR: Facades
Lisa BIELAWA: Drama/Self-Pity
TJ COLE: Megalopolis
STRAVINSKY: Symphony in Three Movements

Jan 14
Fifths Of Beethoven
Teddy Abrams, conductor & piano
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor”
World premiere commissioned from the Louisville Orchestra Creators Corps
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 5

March 4
Festival Of American Music: Journeys of Faith
Teddy Abrams, conductor
Louisville Chamber Choir
World premiere commissioned from the Louisville Orchestra Creators Corps
Olga NEUWIRTH: Masaot/Clocks Without Hands
BERNSTEIN: Symphony No. 3, “Kaddish”

March 11
Festival Of American Music: The Literary Influence
Teddy Abrams, conductor
Sebastian Chang, piano
Joel THOMPSON: To Awaken the Sleeper
World premiere commissioned from the Louisville Orchestra Creators Corps
BERNSTEIN: Symphony No. 2, “The Age of Anxiety”

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© 21C Media Group, July 2022


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