Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) has appointed Andrew Norman composer-in-residence for three years beginning July 2012, it was announced by Music Director Jeffrey Kahane. The highly regarded, prolific young composer, whose music has been hailed by The New York Times for its “daring juxtapositions and dazzling colors” and in the Los Angeles Times for its “Chaplinesque” wit, succeeds Derek Bermel as the Orchestra’s eighth composer-in-residence and fifth to be appointed by Kahane.
“Andrew Norman is without question one of the most extravagantly gifted young composers working in America today, and I believe he is poised to become one of the major figures in contemporary music,” says Kahane. “I look forward enormously to the opportunity to work with him as he joins a list of illustrious LACO composers-in-residence, and feel certain that his luminous and articulate personal presence will be as welcome to all of us as his astonishing music.”
As composer-in-residence, Norman receives a commission through LACO’s innovative Sound Investment commissioning initiative, a program that offers investor members the rare opportunity to create a legacy in music and to observe first-hand the development of a new work from the composer’s earliest ideas to the finished composition. Participants invest $150 to $300 for a membership, which includes multiple salons featuring in-depth discussion with the composer about his creative process and behind-the-scenes previews of the final work. During his tenure, various other Norman works are also slated to be featured on LACO’s programming. Additionally, Norman serves as an advisor to Kahane regarding promising emerging composers and artists, reviews scores submitted to LACO, and, under the Orchestra’s auspices, visits selected Southland high-school and college composition classes to discuss the composition process.
Norman joins LACO’s impressive roster of esteemed composers-in-residence, which, over the years, has included, in addition to Bermel, Paul Chihara, Kenneth Frazelle, Pierre Jalbert, Uri Caine, Stephen Hartke and Donald Crockett, the latter two with whom Norman studied composition while an undergraduate at USC Thornton School of Music.
Describing the Brooklyn-based composer’s distinctive musical style, the Los Angeles Times states, “There is no end to the odd sounds Norman entices from a fairly conventional chamber ensemble. Strings buzzed like insects. Winds burst in with pinpoint dabs of color.” A lifelong enthusiast for all things architectural, Norman writes music that is often inspired by forms and textures he encounters in the visual world and draws on an eclectic mix of instrumental sounds and notational practices. Born in 1979, Norman has established himself as an exciting young composing talent. He has received commissions from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Heidelberg Symphony (Germany), the Oakland East Bay Symphony, the Modesto Symphony, the Calder Quartet, the California State University Stanislaus Symphony, the Hoff-Barthelson School and the Cascade Head Music Festival in Oregon. He has also been commissioned by the Orpheum Foundation for the Advancement of Young Soloists and The Colburn School in Los Angeles. Norman was recently selected as one of four composers commissioned by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra for “Project 440,” a program celebrating the orchestra’s 40th anniversary. Orpheus premiered his work for the commission, Apart, Together, at Carnegie Hall in December 2011 and also performed it later that month during its tour to Germany.
Norman served as the composer for the 2010-11 Heidelberg season and, in addition to his works being performed by the orchestra that season, the composer’s new work for theremin and orchestra, Air, premiered in Heidelberg in April, 2011, featuring soloist Carolina Eyck. In May, 2011, John Adams led the world premiere of Norman’s Try for chamber orchestra, on the LA Phil’s Green Umbrella series. Sonnets, for orchestra, premiered at the Aspen Music Festival and School in August of 2011 under Hugh Wolff.
Among other highlights, Norman’s Unstuck was premiered in September 2009 by the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich under the direction of Michael Sanderling. Unstuck – the title of which is inspired in part by the famous sentence “Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time” from Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five – is characterized by a driving energetic pulse that recalls the feel of Norman’s brilliant work for eight violinists, Gran Turismo. Norman’s chamber music has earned the composer acclaim as well. In May 2008, his work Lullaby, for mezzo-soprano and piano, premiered at the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, DC by mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and pianist Pei-Yao Wang. Norman’s work for solo viola, Sabina was premiered by Nokuthula Ngwenyama in November of that same year at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
Norman’s music has been performed at the Aspen Music Festival, the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music, the Monday Evening Concerts in Los Angeles, the MATA Festival in New York, the Chicago Chamber Players’ Composer Perspectives Series and by the Minnesota Orchestra and the New England Philharmonic, among others. He was a composition fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and twice a fellow at the Chamber Music Conference and Composers’ Forum of the East in Bennington, Vermont. He has held residencies at the National Youth Orchestra Festival and the Copland House.
Selected as Young Concert Artists composer-in-residence for the years 2007 through 2009, Norman is also the recipient of numerous awards, including the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, four Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, the Leo Kaplan Prize from ASCAP and a BMI Student Composer Award. Additionally, he has received top honors in the National Federation of Music Club’s Composition Competition, the Music Teachers National Association Composition Competition, the New England Philharmonic Call for Scores and the USC Undergraduate Symposium for Scholarly and Creative Work.
As pianist, Norman is an avid performer of contemporary music and a committed educator. He has performed in the Los Angeles-based Ensemble Green and served on the faculty of the Pasadena Conservatory of Music. Norman is a graduate of the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, where he studied composition with Crockett and Hartke and piano with Stewart Gordon, and was twice named the Thornton School’s most outstanding graduate. He lives and works in Brooklyn and his music is published worldwide exclusively by Schott Music.
LOS ANGELES CHAMBER ORCHESTRA (LACO), proclaimed “America’s finest chamber orchestra” by Public Radio International, has established itself among the world’s top musical ensembles. Since 1997, LACO has performed under the baton of acclaimed conductor and pianist Jeffrey Kahane, hailed by critics as “visionary” and “a conductor of uncommon intellect, insight and musical integrity” with “undeniable charisma.” Under Kahane’s leadership, the Orchestra maintains its status as a preeminent interpreter of historical masterworks and a champion of contemporary composers. During its 43-year history, the Orchestra has made 30 recordings, toured Europe, South America and Japan, performed across North America, earning adulation from audiences and critics alike, and garnered seven ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming. Headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, LACO presents seven Orchestral Series concerts at both Glendale’s Alex Theatre and UCLA’s Royce Hall, five Baroque Conversations concerts at downtown Los Angeles’ Zipper Concert Hall, three Westside Connections chamber music concerts at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, three Family Concerts at the Alex Theatre and an annual Discover concert at Pasadena’s Ambassador Auditorium. In addition, LACO presents a Concert Gala, an annual Silent Film screening at Royce Hall and several fundraising salons each year. LACO was founded in 1968.
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