Composer Peeks

Over the next few months, Intersection will take this time to introduce you to some new composers and some new music! You may know some of these folks, and some may be completely new to you! We'll share a little peek – with some interesting info about these composers, some music to listen to, reasons why we're sharing them, and places where you can learn more. Enjoy!  Subscribe to our newsletter to receive a weekly Composer Peek in your inbox.

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Eleanor Alberga

With her 2015 Last Night of the Proms opener ARISE ATHENA! Eleanor Alberga cemented a reputation as a composer of international stature.  Performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Chorus and conducted by Marin Alsop, the work was heard and seen by millions.  The emotional range of her language, her structural clarity and a fabulously assured technique as an orchestrator have always drawn high praise.  Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Alberga decided at the age of five to be a concert pianist, though five years later she was already composing works for the piano. Alberga now lives in the Herefordshire countryside with her husband the violinist Thomas Bowes and together they have founded and nurtured an original festival – Arcadia. In 2019 a prestigious Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award was presented to Eleanor for composition. 

Why we love Eleanor: Like it says on her site:  "Her music is not easy to pigeon-hole.  The musical language of her opera LETTERS OF A LOVE BETRAYED (2009), premiered at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury stage, has drawn comparisons with Berg’s Wozzeck and Debussy’s Pelleas, while her lighter works draw more obviously on her Jamaican heritage and time as a singer with the Jamaican Folk Singers and as a member of an African Dance company."

Learn more at her website.

Eleanor Alberga - String Quartet No. 1: Détaché et martellato e zehr lebhaft und swing it man

Eleanor Alberga - String Quartet No. 1: Détaché et martellato e zehr lebhaft und swing it man

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Eleanor Alberga: Suite from Dancing with the shadow (1990)

Eleanor Alberga: Suite from Dancing with the shadow (1990)

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Courtney Bryan

Courtney Bryan

A native of New Orleans, Courtney is “a pianist and composer of panoramic interests” (New York Times). Her music is in conversation with various musical genres, including jazz and other types of experimental music, as well as traditional gospel, spirituals, and hymns. Bryan has academic degrees from Oberlin Conservatory (BM), Rutgers University (MM), and Columbia University (DMA) with advisor George Lewis, and completed an appointment as Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University. Bryan is currently an Assistant Professor of Music in the Newcomb Department of Music at Tulane University and the Mary Carr Patton Composer-in-Residence with the Jacksonville Symphony.

Why we love Courtney:

From Courtney's website - "Focusing on bridging the sacred and the secular, Bryan's compositions explore human emotions through sound, confronting the challenge of notating the feeling of improvisation."

Learn more at her website.

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Chen Yi

As a Distinguished Professor at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, a prolific composer, and recipient of the Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Dr. Chen Yi blends Chinese and Western traditions, transcending cultural and musical boundaries. Her music has reached a wide range of audiences and inspired peoples of different cultural backgrounds throughout the world. She holds a BA and MA in music composition from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and a DMA from Columbia University in New York City, studying composition with Wu Zuqiang, Chou Wen-chung and Mario Davidovsky. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2019.

Why we love Chen Yi:

Because of the brilliance and radiance that is so apparent in Chen Yi’s music, it is easy to understand the volume of prestigious awards and fellowships she has received through the years as a composer. In her composition “Suite for Cello and Chamber Winds: II,” Chen Yi demonstrates her mastery of the manipulation of tonality to create a hauntingly fitting work of art.  Chen Yi visited Nashville a few years back to work with Intersection on our program "Dragon Harmony" in collaboration with the Center for Chinese Music and Culture at MTSU. Chen Yi is a strong advocate for new music, supporting the next generation of composers. 

Learn more at this website.