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

Alex Mincek

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"One of the more salient features of this quartet is the use of what I can best describe as “sonic fields.” A sonic field is a network of musical gestures perceived most immediately as a generalized musical texture. However, over time the listener is able to bounce back and forth from the recognition of the unique parts and the undifferentiated whole.

Comments [36]

Clint Needham

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Writing a work that attempted to capture the mood of this epic poem seemed impossible. Because of the inherent abstract nature of text-less music, writing a work that was a musical blow-by-blow of the poem seemed equally impossible. For me, the solution was to take three fragments of the poem and focus on conveying their particular moods. In the score, I have included the following lines at the beginning of each section: “the Body electric”, “A divine nimbus exhales”, and “the Body at auction.”

Comments [13]

Andrew Norman

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I have never been more stuck than I was in the winter of 2008. My writing came to a grinding halt in January and for a long time this piece languished on my desk, a mess of musical fragments that refused to cohere. It was not until the following May, when I saw a copy of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five and remembered one of its iconic sentences, that I had a breakthrough realization. The sentence was this: "Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time," and the realization was that the lack of coherence in my ideas was to be embraced and explored, not overcome.

Comments [12]

Paola Prestini

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Oceanic Verses, originally commissioned by Carnegie Hall and recently performed by the New York City Opera on VOX, is an operatic tableau of rituals that pays homage to Italian folk music of different times and regions—from Genoa to Salento and Sardinia. With a nod to the great contemporary Italian singers Fabrizio D’Andre and Roberto Licci, the work aims to create a world music of the Mediterranean people, a tribute through Prestini’s musical lens.

Comments [18]

Sean Shepherd

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I chose these excerpts from my Octet (completed in 2008) and my sextet Lumens (completed in 2006) in an attempt at broad contrast: fast vs. slow, soft vs. loud, lyrical vs. punctuated.  But when I listened to what I had selected, I was more struck by the similarities in the pieces than by the differences. Both are final sections of longer pieces for medium-sized chamber forces, both are for standard, time-tested ensembles, and both are, in the end, full of contrast in and of themselves. Each has plenty of soft, fast, and lyrical, and each has plenty more.

Comments [12]

Cynthia Wong

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I remember reading a poem about a person who, while dreaming, unlocked certain life truths, only to forget them upon waking.  This moment, in which one is suspended in wonderment in the face of mysterious yet daunting absence, when one is armed only with the power of questioning and the knowledge of no longer knowing—this is the moment that opens the piece.  It is from this sense of loss that all else springs: the restless uncertainty of the first movement; the meditative stillness of the second; and the muted madness of the third.

Comments [73]

Selection Process

Monday, June 14, 2010

We start with 60 composers. In October we will announce 4 commissions. In the meantime, we want to hear from you! Who has moved you? Whose work have you found compelling? Who would you be interested in having compose for the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra's upcoming season? Let us know.

Comments [18]

Nominating Panel

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

See who's helping narrowing down the vast field of talented composers for Project 440.

Comments [9]