Mentoring Composers at the BPO
Each year, the BPO offers budding composers the opportunity to work with professional composers, conductors and musicians through residencies, professional development workshops and new music readings. Past participating guest composers have included John Corigliano, Roberto Sierra, Eric Ewazen, Robert Beaser, David Felder, Melinda Wagner, Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate, Rob Deemer, Steven Stucky and many others.
In 2020 the BPO partnered with the American Composers Orchestra (ACO) for the sixth time to undertake the EarShot National Orchestral Composition Discovery Network (EarShot) New Music Reading Sessions. The orchestra hosted four composers in workshops and public readings in January 2020.
During the 17-18 season, we were proud to have received funding from the University at Buffalo’s Creative Arts Initiative to host a week long residency of Finnish composer Jaakko Kuusisto. The residency culminated in a premiere of his new Trumpet Concerto on May 12-13, 2018 played by our principal trumpet player, Alex Jokipii. Mr. Kuusisto worked with composition students at University at Buffalo throughout the week and participated in open rehearsals, public lectures and appearances.
Twice the Orchestra took part in a special project called the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute (JCOI). The Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute is a partnership between the ACO/EarShot and the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) Herb Alpert School of Music, in co-operation with the Institute for Jazz Studies at Columbia University. In Phase I of the JCOI, composers participated in a 5-day intensive training program at UCLA with curriculum designed and led by James Newton (JCOI Director, UCLA), Anthony Davis (composer at UC San Diego), Gabriela Lena Frank (composer-in-residence, Houston Symphony), Anthony Cheung (composer), Vince Mendoza (composer/arranger), Nicole Mitchell, (composer/flutist), Steven Coleman (composer/saxophonist, MacArthur Fellow) and Christopher Rountree (conductor).
Following the JCOI/Phase I, participating composers were encouraged to apply for the opportunity to write a new 10-minute work for orchestra. From those applications received, twelve to fifteen jazz composers were selected. In an equitable rotation with other EarShot orchestras hosting JCOI readings, the BPO selected five composers for the EarShot New Music Readings (JCOI/Phase II).
BPO musicians, conducting staff and librarians participated in valuable feedback sessions to assist the conductors in crafting their new works in two intensive days of workshops and readings. The BPO is proud to be a part of the creation of new high quality works of repertoire for the orchestral canon.