Thursday, July 23, 2009

Composer Idol? is bringing the concept of the composer-in-residence to a new global level with the launch of its inaugural Digital Composer-in-Residence competition. Composers from around the world are invited to submit their works online at the Dilettante Music site, and compete for votes from a worldwide audience of fans.
A likewise international panel of judges − including just-announced additions Jennifer Higdon and Jonathan Nott − represent six cities in the U.S., UK, and Germany and will select three finalists. Their works will be posted on the Dilettante site where fans will select the winner, putting decision-making in the hands of the community. Composers can submit their work until September 1st, 2009.
The judges, whose backgrounds range from conductor, music director, educator as well as fellow composers, will be selecting the finalists based on quality, originality, and creativity. "What we are really looking for is a composer who can embody the spirit of the Digital Age," explained Higdon, whose recent addition now makes the judging panel complete. "Ideally, the finalists will bring a contemporary spirit to their compositions while creating works that resonate with audiences across cultures, races, and even geographic location."
The competition extends the Dilettante platform which already allows a vibrant community of classical music lovers to discuss and discover music. It culminates November 5 with the announcement of the winner at London's Wilton's Music Hall, the oldest surviving music hall in the world, where all three finalists will program the concert with their own contest entries and with other influential musical works. To engage the Dilettante community further, the event will be webcast on the Dilettante site, and on the Dilettante YouTube channel.
The year-long residency, which launches at the concert, will also be promoted on the site with a 'Composer's Corner' blog on the homepage, and a podcast series. The winning composer-in-residence will be able to further interact with Dilettante members by leading online masterclasses and participating in forum discussions, giving the site's members unprecedented access to a composer-in-residence. The year concludes with a live performance of the winning composer's newly-commissioned work, at a date and venue to be announced.
Deadline to submit to the competition is September 1. Entries should not exceed eight minutes in length and must be a chamber work for a maximum of eight instruments. Detailed guidance on competition rules is available at

Confirmed Judges
Andrew Burke: former head of LSO Discovery, the London Symphony Orchestra's community and education programme, and current Chief Executive of London Sinfonietta. Andrew has previously worked in education roles at the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and at Blackheath Concert Halls in South East London.
Michael Christie: the music director of the Phoenix Symphony, the Brooklyn Philharmonic and the Colorado Music Festival, Michael Christie first came to international attention in 1995 when he was awarded a special prize at the First International Sibelius Conductors' Competition in Helsinki. He was then invited to become an apprentice conductor with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and subsequently worked with Daniel Barenboim in Chicago and Berlin. He has embarked on a range of interdisciplinary collaborations with visual artists, dance companies, and theatre groups, along with contemporary composers such as Ligeti, Golijov and Tan Dun.
Jennifer Higdon: One of America's most frequently performed composers, Higdon's recent commissions include works for the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, and the Tokyo and Ying quartets. In 2005, the Telarc release Higdon: Concerto for Orchestra / City Scape earned a Grammy® award. A winner of both Pew and Guggenheim fellowships, Higdon holds the Milton L Rock Chair in Compositional Studies at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
Anna Meredith: a British composer of acoustic and electronic music, Anna Meredith was the Composer in Residence with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra 2004-2007. Her new work, which was commissioned by the BBC, will premiere at the BBC Proms on August 9th, 2009.
Nico Muhly: a rising star in contemporary composition, the Juilliard graduate's work was featured in the Oscar-winning film The Reader. Muhly's compositions have been performed by the American Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony and many others. In 2006, his work It Remains to be Seen was commissioned by Boston University's Tanglewood Institute Orchestra to celebrate their 40th anniversary.
Jonathan Nott: Principal Conductor of the Bamberger Symphoniker since 2000, Nott began developing his career in Germany and went on to guest conduct many renowned orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic with whom he recorded the complete orchestra works of Gyorgi Ligeti for Teldec. The British-born conductor was also music director of the Ensemble InterContemporain (EIC) 2000-03, and remains its principal guest conductor.

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