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Tanner Porter, Nina Shekhar, and Gregory Weiss Win First Music Grand Prize Commissions

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From the New York Youth Symphony's First Music Commissioning Program

NEW YORK - March 19, 2019 - EntSun -- Through its First Music program, the New York Youth Symphony (NYYS) has selected seven of America's emerging orchestra, chamber music, and jazz composers under age 30 to write commissions for the 57th Season. Marco-Adrián Ramos, Tanner Porter, and Patrick O'Malley received orchestral commissions to be premiered by the NYYS Orchestra at Carnegie Hall under music director Michael Repper. Nina Shekhar received the chamber music commission and will write a new wind quintet to be premiered by NYYS students in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Matt Horanzy, Devin Reilly, and Gregory Weiss' pieces will be premiered by the NYYS Jazz under artistic director Andy Clausen at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and The Appel Room, Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall. Expanding its partnership with the Interlochen Center for the Arts, two of the grand prize winners, Ms. Porter and Ms. Shekhar's pieces will be premiered at the Interlochen Arts Camp in  of 2020. Greg Weiss, who received an honorable mention for his 2018-19 application, was awarded the jazz grand prize for the 2019-20 season. His piece will be premiered at The Appel Room, Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall.

This season's orchestra & chamber music jury was chaired by Pulitzer Prize winner Christopher Theofanidis, and included David T. Little, Eve Beglarian, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Eric Stomberg, and Michael Repper. The jazz jury was chaired by Arturo O'Farrill, a pianist, composer, and founder of Afro-Latin Jazz Organization, and included Roxy Coss, Darcy James Argue, Pedro Giraudo, and Andy Clausen.

Shauna Quill, NYYS Executive Director says "We are excited to announce the next season of commissioned composers, all of whom are extremely talented. We are also excited to be able to expand our partnership with the Interlochen Center for the Arts who will now include second performances of our both grand prize winners in orchestra and chamber music! Each season we aim to broaden the reach of our program and work to build a more diverse community of composers and I have no doubt this group brings us closer to those goals."

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Christopher Theofanidis, chair of the First Music program, speaks from his own experience as a previous winner. "The NYYS First Music competition is incredibly important in our field and has an unparalleled roster of prior winning composers among its ranks.  The Carnegie performances have often launched the careers of young composers, and it has been an honor to serve as the advisory board chair for the past several seasons.  I can't wait to hear what our current group composes this year!"

Rory Baker, Executive Director of Interlochen Presents says, "Interlochen is honored to be able to continue our partnership with the New York Youth Symphony. In addition to offering commission prizes for and mid-West premieres of these fine new works by such extraordinary young composers, we are able to provide opportunity for our student musicians who work side by side with the composer during rehearsals and perform important new works."

Arturo O'Farrill, newly-appointed chair of the First Music jazz advisory board says "The NYYS First Music program is an exceptional opportunity for young jazz composers and I am excited to hear the works these three outstanding composers produce."

Called "invaluable" by The New York Times, the NYYS First Music commission program has been widely acknowledged as one of the leading forces in the United States for bringing the work of gifted young composers to the public's attention for the past 36 years. The NYYS is proud to have commissioned over 160 original works for orchestra, chamber music, and jazz through First Music since 1984, all of which have been premiered by NYYS ensembles at venues including Carnegie Hall and Jazz at Lincoln Center. First Music commissions have been awarded to Aaron J. Kernis, David Lang, Kevin Puts, Julia Wolfe, Michael Torke, and Timo Andres, among others. We are proud that First Music composers have been recognized with 12 Rome Prizes, 16 Guggenheim Fellowships, two Grawemeyer Awards, and four Pulitzer Prizes.

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The First Music commissions for the 2019-2020 Season:
Marco-Adrián Ramos: Sunday, November 17, 2019, 2 PM
Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, Carnegie Hall

Tanner Porter (Grand Prize Winner): Sunday, March 1, 2020, 2 PM
Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, Carnegie Hall
Mid-West premiere TBD at Interlochen Center for the Arts

Patrick O'Malley: Sunday, May 4, 2020, 2 PM
Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, Carnegie Hall

Nina Shekhar
: Tuesday, May 5, 2020, 7:30 PM
Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall
Mid-West premiere TBD at Interlochen Center for the Arts

Orchestra/Chamber Honorable mentions: Jonathan Cziner, Miles Walter, Robert Ge.


Matt Horanzy
: Tuesday, December 3, 2019, 7:30/9:30 PM
Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center

Devin Reilly: Monday, March 9, 2020, 7:30/9:30 PM
Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center

Gregory Weiss (Grand Prize Winner): Monday, May 4, 2020, 7:30 PM
The Appel Room, Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall

Honorable mentions: Sam Blakeslee and Estar Cohen.

First Music applications are accepted annually between September and December. Additional information about First Music can be found at

First Music is funded in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State Council on the Arts.

About the NYYS:

The New York Youth Symphony is internationally recognized for its award-winning and innovative educational programs for talented young musicians. Founded in 1963 as an orchestra to showcase the metropolitan area's most gifted musicians, ages 12-22, its programs have since grown to include Chamber Music, Jazz, Apprentice Conducting, Composition, Musical Theater Composition, and the First Music commissioning program.

New York Youth Symphony
John Stolen

Source: New York Youth Symphony
Filed Under: Music

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