DMA conducting student Blair Skinner has been selected the new assistant and chamber orchestra conductor for the Hopkins Symphony Orchestra. Skinner will conduct the Hopkins Symphony Chamber Orchestra in three free programs at the Bunting-Meyerhoff Interfaith Center, 3509 N. Charles in Baltimore: at 3:00 pm Sunday, September 28, 2014; Sunday, November 9, 2014; and Sunday, February 27, 2015. In addition to his new appointment with HSO, Skinner currently serves as the founder and music director of Charm City Collegium, conductor of Operation:Opera, the assistant conductor of the Prince George’s Philharmonic, and conductor of Synesthesia, a performance art collaboration between musicians and composers from the Peabody Conservatory and visual artists from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Hopkins Symphony Orchestra, a program of the Johns Hopkins University, is the only community orchestra in the city of Baltimore. HSO members are Johns Hopkins students, alumni, faculty and staff, as well as Baltimore-Washington area musicians.
Thomas Kotcheff (BM ’10, Piano) was presented with the 2014 Hermitage Prize by the Hermitage Artist Retreat and its partner the Aspen Music Festival and School. The award is given annually to a composition student participating in the summer program at the Susan and Ford Schumann Center for Composition Studies with the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen. The prize consists of a six-week Hermitage residency and a $1,000 stipend to cover travel and food expenses. Kotcheff was selected from among his peers by Robert Spano, music director; Alan Fletcher, president and CEO; and composers-in-residence Sydney Hodkinson, Steven Stucky, and George Tsontakis. The Hermitage is located in Englewood, Fla., and it invites accomplished painters, sculptors, writers, playwrights, poets, composers and other artists from all over the world for residencies on its beachfront historic campus. Artists are asked to contribute two services to the community during their stay.
Jake Runestad (MM ’11, Composition) has received a commission by the Washington National Opera as part of its American Opera Initiative, a comprehensive commissioning program that brings contemporary American stories to the stage while fostering the talents of rising American composers and librettists. Partnering with award-winning librettist David Johnston, this new new 20-minute opera, Daughters of the Bloody Duke, explores a daughter’s struggle against authority as she chooses love over her family’s revenge. The world premiere performance will be November 21, 2014, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Peabody faculty artists Phillip Kolker, bassoon; Jane Marvine, oboe; and Lura Johnson, piano; will be joined by Scott Pender (MM ’85, Composition) and several Peabody students in a performance at the 2014 Conference of the International Double Reed Society in New York City. The “Peabody Double Reeds” program features several works by Pender as well as music by George Gershwin and Bill Douglas. The Peabody group is scheduled to perform at 9:00 am, in the NYU Steinhardt’s Blackbox theatre, on Saturday, August 9, the closing day of the conference.