Announcing Our Panel for 2013-14

David Johnston

On June 25 and 26, Exploring the Metropolis assembled a panel of five music professionals/composers to choose the 2013-14 EtM Con Edison Composers-in-Residence.  After two days of listening and scoring, they chose the eight new composers, who were announced last week.

We’d like to thank these five sterling professionals for their expertise, insight and great good humor. And also our friends at OPERA America for use of the Learning Center at the National Opera Center. (Seriously, these rooms are gorgeous.  Take a look.)

So, without further ado, here are our 2013-14 EtM Con Edison Composers Residency Panelists:

Javier Arau is the founder and director of New York Jazz Academy, a widely recognized NYC music school. He also leads the Javier Arau Jazz Orchestra, is an active multimedia composer, an  author of works on music theory and improvisation, an artist-endorser of Virtuoso Saxophones, has performed as saxophone soloist at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, and has been featured in The New York Times, DownBeat Magazine, and Saxophone Journal. His compositions have received awards from ASCAP, BMI, DownBeat Magazine, and IAJE and are published by UNC Jazz Press and Dorn Publications. He earned degrees from New England Conservatory and Lawrence University.

A champion of new music, groundbreaking violinist/composer Tom Chiu has performed over 200 premieres    worldwide by influential musicians such as Ornette Coleman, David First, Wadada Leo Smith, Alvin Lucier, and Henry     Threadgill, among many others. His discography includes recordings for the Chesky, Innova, Mode, and Tzadik     labels.  Chiu has created mixed-media works with choreographer Pam Tanowitz, audio-video artist Phill Niblock,     balloonist Judy Dunaway, and avant theater troupe Mabou Mines. His original works have been premiered at venues     such as EMPAC, Roulette, Walker Art Center, and the Museum of Moving Image.  He has also designed sonic     ambiance for gala openings at the Park Avenue Armory, the Noguchi Museum, and the New York Times Building. As     founder of the FLUX Quartet, he has led a pioneering group which has become “legendary for its furiously committed,     untiring performances.” (Alex Ross, New Yorker) Chiu holds degrees in chemistry and music from Yale and a     doctorate from Juilliard, and has presented concerts and workshops at Williams, Dartmouth, Wesleyan, and     Princeton.  He appears frequently as a commentator on contemporary music and culture, and has served as panelist     and consultant in a variety of artistic formats.

Composer/pianist Jed Distler is the co-founder and artistic director of ComposersCollaborative, inc. His works have been commissioned by Symphony Space, Make Music New York and other major organizations, and recorded by such new music luminaries as Margaret Leng Tan, Guy Livingston, and Quattro Mani. A 2012 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award recipient, Distler taught for more than 20 years at Sarah Lawrence College, and also is known for his frequent Gramophone reviews and numerous classical CD booklet notes. He serves as a guest host for New York Public Radio’s keyboard show Hammered! and gives piano recitals all over the United States and Europe.

Terrance McKnight is the weekday evening music host on Classical 105.9 WQXR, the most listened-to classical music station in the country.  He also hosts the Saturday evening program, All Ears with Terrance McKnight, a show about musical discovery, which was honored with an ASCAP Deems Taylor Radio Broadcast Award in December 2010. McKnight’s musical experiences – from glee club soloist and accomplished pianist, to professor at Morehouse College, and finally as producer and host of several music programs for public radio – have consistently championed the juxtaposition of the European Classical tradition alongside the American ‘Classical’ tradition:  jazz, gospel, African American spirituals and other musical genres. McKnight was first heard in New York in 2008 when he joined the staff of WNYC.  He moved to WQXR in October 2009 upon its acquisition by New York Public Radio.  Previously, he worked at Georgia Public Broadcasting, where he was creator, producer and host of Studio GPB, a program that introduced a wide array of musical artists through interviews, live studios sessions, and commercial recordings.

Described as a “genre-bending worldly musical chameleon” (TimeOut NY) and a “notable cross-genre composer” (The New Yorker) who writes “hard-edged pop songs” (New York Times), Danielle Eva Schwob is a London-born composer, songwriter and performer.  Characterized by a thoughtful demeanour and focused melodies, her music has been described as “dark and beautiful” (Consequence of Sound) and “satisfyingly dark” (Sequenza21), chosen as a TimeOut Critic’s Pick and featured on NPR, NY1 and MNN.  Her talents have been showcased at venues including Le Poisson Rouge, Lincoln Center and Joe’s Pub, earning honours from the American Composers Forum, ASCAP, the Aaron Copland Fund and MATA. She is a 2013 Atlantic Center for the Arts Artist-in-Residence and was a 2011-2012 Con Edison Composer-In-Residence.  Other recent credits include Comedy of Errors at Shakespeare in the Park, an Orange Mountain Music release for Philip Glass as well as projects for Universal Pictures and several Off-Broadway productions.


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