4 commissions. 40 years of Orpheus. 60 composers.
Enter the fray.

In honor of its upcoming 40th anniversary, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra will commission new works from four emerging composers, to be premiered during the 2011-2012 Season. Orpheus assembled a panel of artists and industry experts to nominate diverse talent from around the country. Like all things Orpheus, Project 440 relies on open dialogue. Here’s where you come in. We want YOU in the decision-making process. Scroll through the composer profiles and audio below. Let us know who you think Orpheus should commission and why by posting comments on the composer profiles. We will bring your ideas to the table, literally, as Orpheus goes through the selection process.

Check back here early and often, as we post video responses to your comments, news about the candidates, and information about upcoming Project 440 events. Thanks for your participation - now stop reading and start listening!

Project 440 is supported by a leadership gift from an anonymous donor, with additional major support provided by Thomas Bishop.

Project 440 is a collaboration between Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and WQXR 105.9FM.

Recently in Project 440

Andy Akiho

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I falleN TwO, a quintet for string quartet and steel pans, depicts in seven continuous movements the struggles of an individual faced with dualities.  The title embraces multiple interpretations, one of which is a melodic representation of  the word “two” by a falling interval of a second, another the belief that eventually everything will fall into place. There are many other possible readings of the title; please feel free to choose one for yourself.

Comments [8]

Amy Kirsten

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lately I’ve been researching the history of The Little Red Riding Hood for an opera I’m composing. I’ve come across quite a number of versions of this well-known story. Many of the modern ones explore a more edgy and controversial relationship between Red and the Wolf.

Comments [40]

Wycliffe Gordon

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I Saw the Light is a composition for brass band commissioned by the Brass Band of Battle Creek and premiered in March 2004. This piece was written to pay homage to one of Michigan’s greatest citizens, Muhammad Ali. The Fanfare is the opening number in a suite of eight movements designed to capture the essence of Ali and his life’s struggles as well as his victories.

Comments [4]

Wu Wei

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Yunnan Province lies in the Southwest of China. It is widely known for its magnificent landscapes and enchanting natural scenery. This piece is called Impression of Yunnan

Comments [3]

Wang Jie

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The most recent member of the Joy series, Five Faces of Joy offers five comic ways of smiling: a playful one, a jolly one, a smile from a lover, a smile from a dancing Godzilla, and a sweet smile before a vision of Ondine swims away.

Comments [11]

Tristan Perich

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

These two pieces are part of a continued exploration of the relationship between traditional acoustic instrumentation and primitive 1-bit electronics. Drawing upon theories of computation and my interest in the foundations of mathematics and logic, I work to create music that expresses a formal approach to structure and process, while also appealing to our poetic nature. Theoretical physics has driven much of my work, and provided a profound connection between the abstract world of mathematical logic and the physical world where vibrating air translates to sound.

Comments [15]

Thomas Hojnacki

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The first sound file is the ending of my Symphony No.1. The four-movement work lasts 33 minutes and is scored for a large orchestra consisting of triple woodwinds and a standard complement of brass, percussion and strings. While it is hard to describe four minutes of music in a few words, it’s even more difficult to describe four minutes that are the summation of yet another 30.  So let’s just say I was going for a feeling of great joy and wonder!  The recorded performance here is by the Prague Dvorak Orchestra. My colleague and friend Julius Williams conducts.

Comments [43]

Ted Hearne

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Katrina Ballads is an hour-long piece for a band of five singers and 11 musicians. The text is drawn entirely from primary-source material from the week following Hurricane Katrina: the words of survivors and relief workers, as well as politicians and celebrities like Anderson Cooper, Kanye West, George W. Bush and his mother Barbara—all disseminated by national media outlets and immediately archived forever on the internet.

Comments [20]

Robin Estrada

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Commissioned by the San Francisco Choral Artists (under Magen Solomon, artistic director), Et Apertum est Templum uses text from the Book of Revelation in the New Testament. This composition focuses on the latter passage of the 11th Chapter and the onset of the 12th: “And the temple of God was opened in heaven: and the ark of his testament was seen in his temple. And there were lightnings, and voices, and an earthquake, and great hail. And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.”

Comments [29]

Richard Carrick

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

One morning, I received a spammed email message from an unknown source containing a wonderful yet incomprehensible mix-up of phrases from the 17th to 19th Centuries. It begins, “Find the devil’s lead, I am going to take him, home. Here was a man, handsome enough to keep you occupied for hours on end.” The text is meaningless: full of disjointed juxtapositions of unfinished phrases (possibly by George Sands and others), yet quite seductive in its implications. Each unresolved phrase became important in implying a larger story that wasn't there.

Comments [17]

Paula Matthusen

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

but because without this (2006/09) for electric guitar quartet is a timbral exploration of the idea of how discrepancies in repetition emerge and, even when unanticipated, seem somehow necessary in retrospect. The piece was originally scored for bluegrass quartet and was later adapted for the Dither Electric Guitar Quartet, who are featured in this excerpt.  Many thanks to Dither, and especially to James Moore, for his frequent support and consultation throughout the writing process for both instrumentations.

Comments [9]

Missy Mazzoli

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The title "These Worlds In Us" comes from James Tate's The Lost Pilot, a poem about his father's death in World War II. (In the last line of the poem Tate writes, "misfortune placed these worlds in us".) "These Worlds In Us" (2006), for orchestra, is dedicated to my father, who was a soldier during the Vietnam War.  The theme, a mournful line first played by the violins, collapses into glissandos almost immediately after it appears, giving the impression that the piece has been submerged under water or played on a turntable that is grinding to a halt.

Comments [7]

Timothy Andres

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I wrote Some Connecticut Gospel in the couple of months leading up to the 2008 presidential election. It’s partly a piece about Charles Ives and how his music and inimitable personality have become a legend for composers, and also about some strange feelings (hope? patriotism?) that had been welling up inside me for the first time in my life.

Comments [26]

Tyondai Braxton

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Platinum Rows is a large-scale work for orchestra with guitars, electronics and extended percussion. It blends different musical interests into one succinct mission statement. Reconciling my interest in modern music with an unhealthy, romanticized vision of 20th Century composition, I wanted to create a vacuum where they could coexist aesthetically and environmentally. Moreover, the goal was to blur the line where one ends and the other begins. The piece is an homage to the likes of Stravinsky and Bernstein just as much as it is to Autechre and Black Dice.

Comments [73]

Matt Marks

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Adventures of Albert Fish is a song cycle based on letters and writings of the infamous 1920s serial killer Albert H. Fish. The text of Dear Mrs. Budd is taken verbatim from a letter written to the mother of one of his young victims. In spite of the horrific action described in the text, the piece is merely an exercise in propaganda: rather than commenting on or criticizing the text, the musical accompaniment exists in single-minded service to the text and attempts to reflect the mind state of the author, Albert Fish.        

Comments [11]

Yu-Hui Chang

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

At the Brink of the Chill was commissioned jointly by the Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress and the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble of San Francisco. Scored for violin, viola, cello, double bass, and piano, it was programmed to be premiered alongside Franz Schubert’s Trout Quintet of the same instrumentation.

Comments [2]

Eric Guinivan

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Since my earliest years as a percussionist, it had always been a dream of mine to compose and premiere a work for percussion solo and orchestra. I realized this dream when Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra was premiered in February 2008 by the University of Southern California Thornton Symphony under the direction of Donald Crockett. It has since been selected as a winner of the 2008 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards and has upcoming performances in Oviedo, Spain (August 2010) and Seattle, Washington (May 2011).

Comments [21]

Alexandre Lunsqui

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Drawings for Iberê was inspired by a series of paintings called Spools, by Brazilian painter Iberê Camargo (1914-1994). These works depict numerous images of spools, which occupy an important part of the painter’s childhood memories. The paintings range fromfigurativism to abstractionism, exploring a wide range of visual and psychological configurations. In Drawings for Iberê, the kinetic elements present in most of the abstract paintings of the series are especially considered. Various notions of movement – from amorphous outbursts of sounds to repetitive and crystalline rhythms - are at the core of the piece. The work is divided in six sections, exploring the multiple configurations of Iberê’s Spools series. The piece was premiered by the Nieuw Ensemble at the Musiekgebouw in Amsterdam, 2009.

Comments [21]

Marcos Balter

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The idea of sonic transformation is a crucial part of my music. The main concept behind Portmanteaux, written in 2008 and premiered by the International Contemporary Ensemble in the same year, is the gradual disintegration of distinct musical gestures. Each new particle of this initial monolith then becomes its own whole structure and is subsequently dissolved, culminating in a cloud of seminal ideas floating around the same space, appearing to casually interact with one another.

Comments [63]

Dylan Mattingly

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sometimes people write music because the world seems off-kilter, because the world seems to be missing something and there's only one way to fix it. And sometimes people write music because the world seems so overwhelmingly beautiful that you want to preserve it anyway you can.

Comments [45]