About the Composers’ Forum
Our organization was founded more than 70 years ago as a forum for contemporary composers to present new works and to develop them with professional and amateur chamber music players during an annual summer workshop. As we have developed a robust chamber music program over the decades, we remain passionately committed to commissioning and studying new music.
During three of our week-long sessions, under the guidance of Senior Composer-in-Residence Donald Crockett, we invite distinguished Composers-in-Residence to coach their music, along with Composition Fellows, who are paired with Composers-in-Residence. Works by Composers-in-Residence and Composition Fellows are performed each week by faculty and participants.
The Conference invites a Composer-in-Residence to attend each of Weeks 2, 3, and 4 and commissions the Composer-in-Residence to write a chamber work specifically for a participant group to prepare for performance at a Participant Musicale. The Conference also programs previously-composed works by these composers for performance by faculty groups on the Conference Concert Series.
Composers-in-Residence coach participant groups both on their own commissioned works and on other works in the chamber music literature.
Composers-in-Residence at the Conference have included recipients of prestigious honors such as the Charles Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, and the Pulitzer Prize. Following are Composers-in-Residence from recent years:
2004: Gabriela Lena Frank, Stephen Hartke, Jennifer Higdon
2005: Daniel Godfrey, Stephen Mackey, Roberto Sierra
2006: Gabriela Lena Frank, Stephen Hartke, Paul Moravec
2007: Derek Bermel, Robert Dick, Gabriela Lena Frank
2008: Evan Chambers, Jeffrey Mumford, Dan Welcher
2009: Lisa Bielawa, Daniel Godfrey, John Fitz Rogers
2010: Gabriela Lena Frank, Pierre Jalbert, Paul Moravec
2011: Susan Botti, Kenneth Frazelle, Harold Meltzer
2012: Daniel Godfrey, John McDonald, Andrew Norman
2013: Caroline Mallonée, Jeffrey Mumford, John Fitz Rogers
2014: Ted Hearne, Laura Schwendinger, Sean Shepherd
2015: Kurt Rohde, Hannah Lash, Dan Visconti
2016: Jesse Jones, Sean Friar, Amy Williams
2017: Marc Mellits, Susan Botti, Harold Meltzer
The Conference invites a Composition Fellow to attend each of Weeks 2, 3, and 4 and pairs each Composition Fellow with a Composer-in-Residence for study sessions. Each Composition Fellow composes a work for participant coaching sessions and helps coach these sessions along with the Composer-in-Residence, thus receiving a unique opportunity for real-time feedback. Works by Composition Fellows are showcased each week in Participant Musicales.
The Composition Fellows for the 2018 Conference will be announced in the spring.
Composers' Forum Commissions
In addition to the new works commissioned each year for study and performance by participants, the Conference regularly commissions large-scale works by a selected Composer-in-Residence. These works receive premiere performances by the faculty on the Conference Concert Series and are also studied in coaching by participants.
To date four of these commissions have been made possible by the Composers' Forum Fund, which is supported by contributions from individuals in memory of Jacob Glick, violist and former long-time Music Director of the Conference:
2004: Donald Crockett, The Ceiling of Heaven for piano quartet
2007: Gabriela Lena Frank, Tres Homenajes: Compadrazgo for piano quintet
2010: Paul Moravec, Wind Quintet
2013: John Fitz Rogers, Book of Concord for string quartet
In 2009 the Conference commissioned and premiered Dances in Checkered Shade, for clarinet, string trio, and piano, by Daniel Strong Godfrey. This commission was made possible by contributions in appreciation of Frank Mallory, clarinetist, for his many years of service to the Conference as a member of our Board.
The Conference has commissioned Pierre Jalbert to write a new sextet for piano and winds for the 2018 Conference. It will be premiered on Saturday, July 21 and again on Saturday, August 4.
The Composers' Forum and other programs of the Chamber Music Conference are made possible, in part, by the Amphion Foundation, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, the National Endowment for the Arts, and generous contributions from individuals.
For more information about how to support the Composers' Forum, click here.