Faculty additions underscore the Conservatory’s strategic commitment to music of living composers.
Composers Du Yun, who last week was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, and Felipe Lara, hailed for his “voluptuous, elemental lyricism,” will join the artist faculty of the Peabody Conservatory’s highly regarded Composition Department beginning in the fall semester of the 2017-18 academic year. They come to Peabody in the midst of numerous initiatives and developments demonstrating the Conservatory’s renewed commitment to creating, performing, and celebrating the music of our time.
“Composition has long been a strength at Peabody, and we are proud to welcome two new faculty artists of such stature as Du Yun and Felipe Lara,” noted Dean Fred Bronstein. “I look forward to seeing how their distinct creative contributions will expand and enhance the work we are doing across the Conservatory in the new music space.”
Among the specific initiatives he identified were the recent Peabody Symphony Orchestra performance, conducted by Leonard Slatkin, of Aaron Jay Kernis’ flute concerto, which Peabody co-commissioned for faculty flutist Marina Piccinini. The recording of that performance for release on the Naxos label marks the PSO’s second Naxos release in as many years. Other new music highlights include the regional premiere of Michael Hersch’s acclaimed monodrama On the Threshold of Winter; residencies with artists including Holland’s Ensemble Klang; the creation of Peabody new music ensemble Now Hear This; and serving as the host site for the national New Music Gathering in 2016. Future initiatives include the launch of a new degree program in Music for New Media under the direction of Thomas Dolby.
Du Yun, born and raised in Shanghai, China, and currently based in New York, is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, performance artist, and curator, working at the intersection of orchestral, opera, chamber music, theater, cabaret, pop music, oral tradition, visual arts, electronics, and noise. Hailed by The New York Times as a leading figure in China’s new generation of composers and often cited as a key activist in New York’s “new movement in new music,” she was recently named winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Music for her opera Angel’s Bone. In 2011, she was named among National Public Radio’s 100 Composers Under 40. Known as chameleonic in her protean artistic outputs, her music is championed by some of today’s finest performing artists, ensembles, orchestras, and organizations. In addition, Du Yun has also made works in the art world, including the fourth Guangzhou Art Triennial, Sharjah Biennial (UAE), Auckland Triennial, and Istanbul Biennial. Du Yun is currently on the composition faculty at SUNY-Purchase. She was a founding member of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), and currently she serves as the artistic director of Music at the Anthology (MATA), a pioneering organization dedicated to commissioning and championing young composers from around the world.
Described by The New York Times as “a gifted Brazilian-American modernist,” Felipe Lara’s works have been performed by such groups as the Brentano Quartet, Ensemble InterContemporain, ICE, JACK Quartet, London Sinfonietta, and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra and at prestigious venues including the Aldeburgh Music Festival (UK), Ars Musica (Belgium), Festival Música Nova (Brazil), the Mostly Mozart Festival (Lincoln Center, New York), and the New York Philharmonic Biennial. His second string quartet Tran(slate) won the 2008 Staubach Preis, following the premiere performance by the Arditti Quartet with live electronics by Experimentalstudio SWR Freiburg. Current projects include a feature-film score for a Brazilian adaptation of Henry James’s novella The Beast in the Jungle; an evening-long cycle for saxophones, electronics, and ensemble for Ryan Muncy; and a large scale work for Ensemble Modern (Frankfurt), supported by a Koussevitzky Music Foundation Commission from the Library of Congress. Lara holds a PhD in music composition from New York University and was a 2015 Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. He is currently a lecturer at Harvard’s Department of Music.
The composition faculty at the Peabody Conservatory currently includes 2012 Pulitzer Prize winner Kevin Puts; 2017 Guggenheim Fellow Oscar Bettison; and Michael Hersch, a Guggenheim, Rome, and Berlin Prize Fellow who was recently awarded Johns Hopkins University’s 2017 President’s Frontier Award.
Other artists slated to join the Conservatory faculty this fall include vocalists Tony Arnold, Elizabeth Futral, and William Burden; clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein; oboist Nicholas Stovall; and tuba player Seth Horner. In addition, Peabody recently announced the appointment of musician and tech entrepreneur Thomas Dolby to lead its Music for New Media program, scheduled to launch in the fall semester of 2018.