The American soprano, Lucy Shelton, began her musical training early with the study of both piano and flute. After graduating from Pomona College (1965) she pursued singing at the New England Conservatory (M.M., 1968) under Gladys Miller, and at the Aspen Music School where she studied with Jan DeGaetani. In her mid-thirties, Shelton was twice recipient of top prize at the prestigious International Walter W. Naumburg Competition - first, in 1977, as part of the Jubal Trio, and then in 1980 as a soloist.
The Naumburg success threw Lucy Shelton's career into high gear, and she kept herself busy both as an ensemble singer (perhaps most significantly with the Waverly Consort)
and as an increasingly in-demand solo vocalist with a rare passion for new music. She has performed repertoire from J.S. Bach to Pierre Boulez in major recital, chamber and orchestral venues throughout the world. Even though she is best known for her high- flying, passionate performances of contemporary music, she has never restricted her musical air space to a single century or just a handful of styles; she is as comfortable in the works of Georg Frideric Handel as in those of Wolfgang Rihm.
Highly acclaimed as an interpreter of new music, Lucy Shelton continues to bring new audiences into the sound world of new works, often composed for her. Notable among numerous world premieres are Elliott Carter's Of Challenge and Of Love and his Tempo e Tempi; Oliver Knussen's Whitman Settings; Stephen Albert's Flower of the Mountain; Joseph Schwantner's Sparrows and his Two Poems of Agueda Pizarro and Magabunda; Alexander Goehr's Sing, Ariel and The Mouse Metamorphosed Into a Maid; David Del Tredici's Quaint Events; Poul Ruder's The Bells; Gerard Grisey's L'Icone Paradoxiale; Ned Rorem's Schuyller Songs; Sally Beamish's Monster; James Yannatos's Trinity Mass; Lewis Spratlan's Of Time and the Seasons; and Rob Zuidam's Johanna's Lament. Lucy Shelton is also active, though less prominently so, in the world of opera.
Since her return to the USA from England in 1997, Lucy Shelton has had five recordings released on Deutsche Grammophon and KOCH International with repertoire of Carter, Igor Stravinsky, Crawford Seeger and Messiaen. Five additional CD's are in the works, with repertoire of David Del Tredici, Rands, Adolphe, Kim, and Carter. She also has recordings on Bridge Records, Unicorn-Kanchana and Virgin Classics with music of Goehr, Knussen and Arnold Schoenberg.
Some highlights of previous seasons include staged performances of L. Berio's Passaggio with the Ensemble Intercontemporain, A. Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire with Da Camera of Houston and the role of Jenifer in Tippett's The Midsummer Marriage for Thames Television. Lucy Shelton made her BBC Proms debut in Dallapiccola's Il Prigioniero and her Vienna and Berlin debuts singing György Kurtág's The Sayings of Peter Bornemissza with András Schiff. Among notable conductors with whom Shelton has worked are Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, De Leeuw, Knussen, Metzmacher, David Nott, Oetvos, Simon Rattle, Helmuth Rilling, Rostropovich, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Leonard Slatkin, and Wolff.
In the season 2001-2002 abroad, Lucy Shelton premiered Rob Zuidam's Johanna's Lament at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and gave the Dutch and UK premieres of Zuidam's McGonagall Lieder. In the USA she gave the world premieres of Lewis Spratlan's Of Time and the Seasons in Boston and a work by Gheorghe Costinescu in New York. In the city she also sings Ferneyhough's Fourth String Quartet, joined Da Capo for a recording of Shatin and a concert of Kernis, Previn and Birtwistle. The season also included some of her "standard" repertoire: Luciano Berio's Folk Songs, Babbitt's Philomel, Knussen's Hums and Songs of Winnie the Pooh, Carter's Of Challenge and Of Love and Tempo e Tempi, Druckman's Lamia and A. Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire.
Lucy Shelton has taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music, the New England Conservatory of Music, the Eastman School of Music, and at Tanglewood. She is currently on the faculty of the Tanglewood Music Center and coaches privately at her studio in New York City. From the 1990’ s on, she has brought this appreciation of non- standard song literature to a large class of students.
"In the forefront was Lucy Shelton, a new-music diva if there ever was one, performing with fire, sensitivity, astounding surety of pitch, and what seemed like love abounding." -
The Boston Globe (May 2001)
Source: Ensemble Sospero Website; All Music Guide (Author: Blair Johnston)
Contributed by Aryeh Oron (January 2011)
Currently an undergraduate student at The Juilliard School studying with Fred Sherry, cellist Jay Campbell has been praised by The New York Times for having "engagingly conveyed every nuance" and as "terrific" for his 2011 FOCUS Festival performance of Witold Lutoslawski's Cello Concerto with the Juilliard Orchestra. He has studied with Richard Aaron and Peter Wyrick, as well as members of the Kronos Quartet and Ensemble InterContemporain. His wide spectrum of repertoire and eclectic musical interests have led to performances around the United States and Europe, spanning from standard to avant-garde repertoire to free improvisation and rock.
Campbell's enthusiasm for both standard and contemporary music alike has manifested in performances with groups such as Afiara and Maia string quartets, Argento Chamber Ensemble, Second Instrumental Unit, AXIOM, and many others - as such he has collaborated with a vast array of significant musicians and composers, ranging from Magnus Lindberg and John Adams to members of Radiohead and Einstürzende Neubauten. As a soloist, he has appeared with the festival orchestras of Aspen and the Lucerne Academy, the Juilliard Orchestra, various orchestras throughout California, and most recently performed Pierre Boulez's cello concertino Messagesquisse under the guidance of the composer for performance and lecture in Switzerland, which were subsequently broadcast on Swiss and German radio. Campbell will make his Carnegie Hall debut next season, premiering a new cello concerto by Chris Rogerson, with Ryan McAdams and the New York Youth Symphony.
KEITH FITCH currently heads the composition department at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he holds the Vincent K. and Edith H. Smith Chair in Composition and also directs the CIM New Music Ensemble. Called “gloriously luminous” by The Philadelphia Inquirer, his music has been consistently noted for its intense expressivity and unique sense of color and sonority. Reviewing a performance of his work Totem by Wolfgang Sawallisch and The Philadelphia Orchestra (chosen by Maestro Sawallisch to celebrate the orchestra’s centennial), The Wall Street Journal praised “the sheer concentration of his writing, and its power to express a complex, unseen presence shaping the course of musical events.” His works have been performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan by such ensembles as The Philadelphia Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, the New York Youth Symphony, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, the Da Capo Chamber Players, and new music ensembles around the country. Additionally, his music has been heard at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the June in Buffalo Festival, the Midwest Composers’ Symposium, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Milwaukee PremiereFest, New York’s Carnegie and Merkin Halls, and in university settings nationwide. Highlights of recent seasons include the premieres of This Rough Magicke (commission, St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble), Le tango maudit (duo‑pianists Pavlina Dokovska and Vladimir Valjarevic, Sofia, Bulgaria), Summer and Shade: Three Dream‑dances for Orchestra (Symphony Space, New York), ’Tho Night Be Falling (commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation for the Colorado String Quartet), and Midnight Rounds, written to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the Da Capo Chamber Players. His most recent work, Mean Fiddle Summer, composed for the acclaimed violinist Lina Bahn, was premiered on April 3, 2011 at The Cleveland Institute of Music.
A native of Indiana, Keith Fitch (b. 1966) began composing at age eight and began formal musical training on the double bass at age eleven. While still in high school (age sixteen), he received his first professional orchestral performance. Subsequently, he attended the Indiana University School of Music, where he completed his Doctorate in 1995. At Indiana, he studied composition with Frederick Fox, Eugene O’Brien, and Claude Baker, double bass with Bruce Bransby and Murray Grodner, and chamber music with Rostislav Dubinsky, founder of the Borodin Quartet. He also counts Donald Erb and Joan Tower among his compositional mentors. Among his many awards are the annual Dean’s Prize for Composition at Indiana (six times), the Kate and Cole Porter Memorial Fellowship at Indiana, three ASCAP Young Composer Awards, three National Society of Arts and Letters awards, an Individual Artist Grant from the Indiana Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, and, most recently, a Fromm Foundation Commission. He has enjoyed multiple residencies at The MacDowell Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, as well as at The Charles Ives Center for American Music, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and he has twice served as Resident Composer and faculty at the Chamber Music Conference and Composers’ Forum of the East. Most recently, he served as guest composer at California Summer Music and at the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music at Bowling Green State University (OH). Highly regarded as a teacher, chamber music coach, and conductor of new music, he has taught at Indiana University, Bard College, and for eleven years served on the faculty of the Mannes College of Music in New York, where he founded the new music ensemble, CIRCE. His music is published by Non Sequitur Music and Lauren Keiser Music, Inc.
JOAN TOWER is widely regarded as one of the most important American composers living today. During a career spanning more than fifty years, she has made lasting contributions to musical life in the United States as composer, performer, conductor, and educator. Her works have been commissioned by major ensembles, soloists, and orchestras, including the Emerson, Tokyo and Muir quartets, soloists Evelyn Glennie, Carol Wincenc, David Shifrin, John Browning, and the orchestras of Chicago, New York, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Washington DC among others. Tower was the first composer chosen for a Ford Made in America consortium commission of sixty-five orchestras. Leonard Slatkin and the Nashville Symphony recorded Made in America in 2008 (along with Tambor and Concerto for Orchestra). The album collected three Grammy awards: Best Classical Contemporary Composition, Best Classical Album, and Best Orchestral Performance. In 1990 she became the first woman to win the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for Silver Ladders, a piece she wrote for the St. Louis Symphony where she was Composer-in-Residence from 1985-88. Other residencies with orchestras include a 10-year residency with the Orchestra of St. Luke's (1997-2007) and the Pittsburgh Symphony (2010-2011). Tower studied piano and composition at Bennington College and Columbia University. Her earliest works were serial in concept, but her music soon developed the lyricism, rhythmic drive, and colorful orchestration that characterize her subsequent works. She co-founded the Da Capo Chamber Players in 1969 as pianist — its accolades included the 1973 Naumburg Chamber Music Award — but also wrote several well-received pieces for the ensemble. She is currently Asher Edelman Professor of Music at Bard College, where she has taught since 1972. Her music is published by Associated Music Publishers.
GEORGE TSONTAKIS has been the recipient of two of the richest richest prizes awarded in all of classical music; the international Grawemeyer Award,in 2005, for his Second Violin Concerto and the 2007 Ives Living, fromthe American Academy. He studied with Roger Sessions at Juilliard and in Rome, with Franco Donatoni. Born in Astoria, NY into Cretan heritage, he has become an important figure in the music of Greece and his music is increasingly performed abroad, with several performances in Europe every season. Most of his music has been recorded by Hyperion and Koch, leading to two Grammy Nominations for Best Classical Composition. He is Distinguished Composer-in-Residence at the Bard Conservatory and at the Aspen Music Festival, where he was founding director of the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, from 1991-98. He served as Composer-in-Residence with the Oxford (England) Philomusica and is continuing a six-year Music Alive residency with the Albany Symphony and served as Composer in Residence with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in 2009-10. He lives in New York’s Catskill Mountains.
URSULA MAMLOK began her study of music in her native city of Berlin, and continued at the Mannes College of Music in New York with George Szell. She earned Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the Manhattan School of Music. She also studied with Roger Sessions, Ralph Shapey, and Stefan Wolpe. Among her numerous commissions are those from the Koussevitsky and Fromm Music Foundations, Alaria Chamber Ensemble, Eastman School of Music, Earplay and The San Francisco Symphony. She has received awards and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer, the Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation, and, in 1995, a Fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation. Her works are regularly performed by major domestic foreign ensembles and have been recorded by the CRI, Gasparo, Leonarda, Newport Classic, Music and Arts, Opus One, True Media, and Centaur labels, and are published by C.F. Peters Corporation, American Composers Edition, McGuinness and Marx, and Hildegard. In 1987, Ursula Mamlok received a Commendation of Excellence "for her contribution to the world of concert music" by BMI. She has been on the composition faculties of New York University, City University of New York, Temple University, and the Manhattan School of Music. She is also a board member of the League/ISCM.