About the Composers’ Forum
The Chamber Music Conference was founded in 1946 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. Throughout our history, as our chamber music program over the decades has grown, we have remained passionately committed to commissioning, studying, and performing new music. Since 2002, the Composers’ Forum has been led by Senior Composer-in-Residence Donald Crockett.
For our 2020 season, to celebrate our 75th anniversary, the Conference has commissioned new large-scale works from four distinguished composers. Each week of the Conference, one of these composers will serve as Composer-in-Residence and will present a seminar on our Seminar Series, and members of the faculty will premiere the new commission on our Concert Series. All of the commissions will be studied by participant groups in the coaching program.
The Composers-in-Residence for 2020 are
- Hannah Lash (week 1, July 12-19)
- Elizabeth Ogonek (week 2, July 19-26)
- Senior Composer-in-Residence Donald Crockett (week 3, July 26-August 2)
- Stephen Hartke (week 4, August August 2-9)
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, Steven 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
2018: Lei Liang, Pierre Jalbert, Paul Moravec
2019: Allen Shawn, Scott Wheeler, Judith Shatin
In recent past years, the Conference has invited Composition Fellows as well as Composers-in-Residence. In 2020, given our focus on the commissions by Composers-in-Residence, there will be no Composition Fellows.
Composers' Forum Commissions
The four commissions for our 75th anniversary are for a variety of ensembles, including all of the instruments regularly represented at the Conference, as follows.
- Hannah Lash: quintet for piano and strings (piano, violin, viola, cello, bass)
- Elizabeth Ogonek: septet for piano, winds, and strings (piano, clarinet, bassoon, horn, violin, viola, cello)
- Donald Crockett: nonet for winds and strings (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, violin, viola, cello, bass)
- Stephen Hartke: sextet for viola and winds (viola, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn)
In past years, five other large-scale 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
2018: Pierre Jalbert, Wind Dances for wind quintet and piano
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.
Each Composer-in-Residence will also present a seminar. See the Seminar Series page for more information.
Information for Participants
At the 2020 Conference, participants in each week will have the opportunity to be coached on any of the four 75th anniversary commissions. If you are interested, you can do one or both of the following:
- Organize a group to study one of the commissioned works and submit this group as a coaching request for a pre-formed group.
- Indicate on your application your interest in studying a commissioned work. When the coaching schedule is constructed, interested participants will be organized into groups where possible.
Groups studying the commissioned works may be coached by the Composer-in-Residence, by Senior Composer-in-Residence Donald Crockett, or by a member of the faculty. Unlike in years when Composers-in-Residence and Composition Fellows write small-scale works specifically for participants, the groups that are coached on commissions in 2020 will not be required to perform on musicales.
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.