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First Women’s Music Commission Awarded to Asha Srinivasan

Posted in News on December 20, 2006

Ralph N. Jackson, President of the BMI Foundation, Inc., has announced that Asha Srinivasan is the recipient of the first Women's Music Commission. The award, which is given in cooperation with the Orchestra of St. Luke's (OSL), includes a $5,000 commission to create a new chamber music work to be premiered at OSL's "Notable Women: A Celebration of Women Composers" in June 2007. Joan Tower, OSL Composer-in-Residence, and Elizabeth Ostrow, OSL Director of Artistic Planning, served as the artistic coordinators for the project.

According to Jackson, "Each of our judges and the final selection panel at the Orchestra of St. Luke's were tremendously impressed by the high level of the submissions we received." The judges felt that the quality was so high that several Honorable Mentions were essential and included composers Alexandra du Bois, Hannah Lash and Wang Jie.

The competition, open to American women composers between the ages of 20 and 30, was judged under pseudonyms. During the judging process, the panelists were only aware of the age of the composer. Seventy-four entries were received from across the United States. The judges for the competition were Margaret Brouwer, Chester Biscardi and Joan La Barbara, with the final winner chosen by a panel comprised of the Orchestra of St. Luke's artistic personnel.

The Orchestra of St. Luke's is America's foremost chamber orchestra, performing approximately 100 orchestral, chamber music, and educational concerts a year, all showcasing the hallmark collaborative spirit that has garnered critical acclaim for vibrant music-making of the highest order. The OSL's contemporary music series, "Second Helpings," marks its fourteenth season in 2007 with a three-concert festival: "Notable Women: A Celebration of Women Composers," conceived by OSL Composer-in-Residence Joan Tower. Taking place over the first three weekends in June - on Saturdays at the Chelsea Art Museum and Sundays at Dia:Beacon - the festival's three programs feature works by women ranging from Amy Beach and Ruth Crawford Seeger to three young composers whose commissioned works will have their world premieres during the festival.

The BMI Foundation, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation founded in 1985 to support the creation, performance, and study of music through awards, scholarships, commissions and grants. Tax-deductible donations to the Foundation come primarily from songwriters, composers and publishers, BMI employees and members of the public with a special interest in music. Because both the Foundation staff and the distinguished members of the Advisory Panel serve without compensation, over 95% of all donations and income are used for charitable grants.

ASHA SRINIVASAN
WINNER, BMI FOUNDATION'S WOMEN'S MUSIC COMMISSION

Asha Srinivasan was born in 1980 in Logan, Utah, but spent much of her childhood in her parent's native India. As an Indian-American, Srinivasan uses her insider views on both Western and Carnatic music (classical music of South India) to infuse her compositions with Indian pitch materials while adhering to Western concepts of form and progression. Her music has been performed during the 4th Annual 60X60 project in New York City, at Electronic Music Midwest, California State University, Peabody Conservatory, the H-Street Playhouse in Washington, D.C., and at the University of Maryland. A 2001 graduate of Goucher College, she received a B.A. with emphasis in Music Theory/Composition, Computer Music and Arts Administration, and received both a Master of Music in Computer Music Composition and a Master of Music in Music Theory Pedagogy from Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University in 2004. Srinivasan is currently pursuing a DMA in composition at the University of Maryland, where she is an electronic music teaching assistant. She has studied composition with Robert Gibson, McGregor Boyle, Geoffrey Wright and Kendall Kennison. Her awards and prizes include the 2006 Walsum Competition for her string quartet, Kalpitha, and 2nd Prize in the Prix d'Ete Competition for her flute and computer piece, "Alone, Dancing," which was performed at SEAMUS (Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the US) 2005. In addition to SEAMUS, she has participated in national conferences such as EMM (Electronic Music Midwest) and ICMPC (International Conference for Music Perception and Cognition).

HONORABLE MENTIONS

ALEXANDRA DU BOIS
Alexandra du Bois (b.1981) discovered music through the violin, playing the instrument from the age of two, and began composing at age 15. At 25, du Bois' commissions are diverse, ranging from Kronos Quartet to the Beaux Arts Trio to Bang on a Can. Her music has already been performed throughout four continents at venues such as the Théàtre de la Ville in Paris, Carnegie Hall in New York, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Barbican Hall in London, as well as radio programs including BBC Radio 3 and NPR's Morning Edition. She has been Composer-In-Residence at Dartmouth College, the Mammoth Lakes Music Festival, Merkin Concert Hall, and in 2007, du Bois will be Composer-In-Residence with Kronos Quartet at the Carnegie Professional Training Workshop, Kronos: Signature Works. In 2003, du Bois was the inaugural recipient of the Kronos: Under 30 Project through which she wrote her first string quartet, "Oculus pro oculo totum orbem terrae caecat" for Krono. Alexandra du Bois received her BM in Composition and Violin from the Indiana University School of Music. She is currently a graduate student at the Juilliard School where she works with Christopher Rouse, and is the recipient of the Sylvia and Milton Babbitt Scholarship, the Piser Scholarship and the E. & J. Brenner Scholarship. Her previous teachers include Sven-David Sandstrõm, Osvaldo Golijov and Claude Baker.

HANNAH LASH
Hannah Lash (b.1981) has had her music performed by ensembles such as the Chicago Chamber Musicians, Musica Nova, Alarm Will Sound, Interensemble, Duo X, the Arditti Quartet, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Tanglewood Music Center's Fromm Players, and American Opera Projects. She was a composition fellow at Tanglewood in the summer of 2005. Lash is currently developing her opera in two acts, "Shutter," in conjunction with American Opera Project's nationally acclaimed Composer and the Voice series. Lash resides in Cleveland, Ohio, where she is obtaining a professional performer's certificate in harp performance at Cleveland Institute of Music as a student of Yolanda Kondonassis, while she completes the PhD program in music at Harvard University. She obtained her undergraduate degree from the Eastman School of Music in May of 2004. Her main teachers have included Augusta Read Thomas, Steven Stucky, Robert Morris, Sir Harrison Bertwistle, Bernard Rands and Julian Anderson. She was the recipient of the Bernard and Rose Sernoffsky Prize in Composition and the Bernard Rogers Prize in Composition, and the Sosland Family Fellowship awarded by Harvard University, as well as a winner of Harvard's Orchestral Composition competition.

WANG JIE
Born in 1980 and raised in Shanghai, China, Wang Jie is an active composer based in New York City. She has been a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and her music has been featured composer at the 2006 Beijing Modern Music Festival. Other awards include the 4th edition Northridge Composition Prize, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble Composition Contest and most recently, her opera "Nannan" was chosen by the New York City Opera to be performed at the 2007 VOX "Showcasing American Composers" festival. Recent commissions have come from Stony Brook University, Cornell University Percussion Ensemble, Harpsichordist Kenneth Cooper and renowned filmmaker Christine Choy. Jie was a pupil of Dr. Yang Liqin for 15 years until she enrolled at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 1999. Moving to New York City in 2000, Jie has received a full composer scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music, where she studies composition with Richard Danielpour. Aside from her composing life, Jie has served as music assistant of composer Tan Dun since 2002, and most recently as panelist of the Lower Manhattan Culture Council/New York State Fund for Creative Communities/Music Funds.