Press Room

Vänskä Conducts New Music by Emerging Composers at MusicMakers Concert, Jan. 10

The 17th annual Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute takes place at Orchestra Hall, January 6 through 10 

Composers spend one week in Orchestra’s award-winning professional training program under the direction of Kevin Puts, winner of a 2012 Pulitzer Prize

On January 10, the Minnesota Orchestra’s 17th annual Composer Institute will culminate with a MusicMakers performance features the music of seven of the country’s most gifted young composers, plus a behind-the-scenes look at the craft of music-making through onstage interviews with each composer. The MusicMakers concert is played under the baton of Music Director Osmo Vänskä and will feature the Minnesota Orchestra and three soloists: the Orchestra’s Associate Concertmaster Felicity James and sopranos Danielle Beckvermit and Lisa Marie Rogali. Both sopranos are current Resident Artists with Minnesota Opera. Returning for his sixth year as the director of the Composer Institute is Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts.

All seven featured composers will be present to introduce their music onstage at the concert, which will be emceed by Fred Child, who hosts American Public Media’s Performance Today. The participating composers are Theo Chandler, Paul Frucht, Clare Glackin, Marc Migó, Patrick O’Malley, Liza Sobel and Nicky Sohn.

The concert is performed at the Minnesota Orchestra’s home venue in downtown Minneapolis, Orchestra Hall, on Friday, January 10, at 8 p.m., with tickets priced from $20 to $63; young people 18 years old and under may attend this concert for free with tickets from the Orchestra’s Hall Pass program. Individual tickets and subscription packages for all 2019-20 season concerts are available at and by phone at 612-371-5656. For further purchasing details, see the information section at the conclusion of this press release.

The Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute is co-presented by the American Composers Forum. It is generously supported by The Amphion Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the late Hella Mears Hueg and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.


Emerging Composers
Collectively, the program’s seven featured composers have studied at some of the nation’s top universities and conservatories including the Manhattan School of Music, New York University, the Juilliard School, Northwestern University, Oberlin Conservatory, Rutgers University, Cornell University, the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, University of Southern California and Mannes College of Music, and at Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya in Barcelona. In addition, the composers have garnered numerous awards, grants and fellowships from prestigious organizations such as the Fulbright Program, the American Academy of Arts and letters, the Hear Now Music Festival, the Pau Casals Foundation, ASCAP, BMI, Copland House, Theodore Presser Foundation and the American Composers Forum.

Theo Chandler’s Songs from Brooches will feature two soprano soloists from Minnesota Opera, singing text by New York poet Zeke Greenwald. Acadian Vista by Paul Frucht takes inspiration from the views atop Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. An imagined ancient city takes form in Archaea by Clare Glackin, and the musical roots of Argentina and Spain come to life in Marc Migó’s Nocturne—which features Felicity James on the violin. Rest and Restless by Patrick O’Malley explores opposing emotions, while Liza Sobel’s Ticking Time Bomb intentionally pushes emotions over the edge. Nicky Sohn’s Bird Up draws bizarre humor from a television show and frenetic energy from New York City.  

Soprano Danielle Beckvermit, currently a Resident Artist at Minnesota Opera, made her mainstage Carnegie Hall debut as the soprano soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with the Cecilia Chorus of New York. She was a Grand Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2018 and has been recognized by several other major competitions. She has been most recently seen with Minnesota Opera as Berta in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Fifth Maid in Elektra, Annina in La Traviata, and Anaide in The Italian Straw Hat. She was an Apprentice Artist with Santa Fe Opera for the summer of 2019. She will make her European debut singing at The Kurt Weill Fest in Dessau, Germany, this February. More:

Rising American soprano Lisa Marie Rogali, who is also a current Resident Artist at Minnesota Opera, recently returned to Opera Theatre of Saint Louis to sing Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto, covered Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro and covered Drusilla in The Coronation of Poppea. During Minnesota Opera’s 2019–20 season she performs the roles of Fourth Maid in Elektra, Tina in Flight, Princess/Lucy/Marlene in the world premiere of Edward Tulane and Zerlina in Don Giovanni. She was recently named a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Kentucky District) and she will be attending the Glimmerglass Festival this upcoming summer as a young artist. More:

American-Australian violinist Felicity James joined the Minnesota Orchestra in 2018 as associate concertmaster. She previously served as concertmaster of the Verbier Festival Orchestra, the Colburn Orchestra and the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra, and has led orchestras under the batons of James Conlon, Gianandrea Noseda, Edo de Waart, Ludovic Morlot and Edward Gardner. She has also played with the Seattle Symphony and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. As a soloist, she has appeared with orchestras all over the United States, including the Seattle Symphony, playing concertos by Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Glazunov, Mozart, Walton and Saint-Saëns, among other composers. More:

Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute History
The Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, widely recognized as a leading professional training program for emerging symphonic composers, is co-presented by the Minnesota Orchestra and the American Composers Forum. Now in its sixth year under the direction of Pulitzer Prize-winner Kevin Puts, the Institute was founded in 2002 as an outgrowth of the Orchestra’s Perfect Pitch program, an annual series of new music reading sessions for Minnesota composers launched during the 1995-96 season.

Many of the 141 composers who have previously taken part in Perfect Pitch and the Composer Institute have gone on to receive major commissions, awards, grants and additional performances of their works. Most recently, 2017 Composer Institute participant Nina C. Young was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic to inaugurate its Project 19 of new music by female composers, and a work by 2006 alumnus Sean Shepherd co-commissioned by the Boston Symphony and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra received its European premiere at the Gewandhaus Orchestra’s 2018-19 season opening concert. In addition, 2007 alumnus Trevor Gureckis is the composer for the new Apple TV+ series Servant. Composer Aaron Jay Kernis, who was the Pulitzer Prize recipient in 1998, was the Composer Institute’s founder and directed it for 11 seasons.

The Institute’s seminars bring composers directly in contact with professionals who can offer guidance in areas not typically explored in classroom settings, including aspects of building a career as a composer, legal issues, public speaking and self-publishing music. In addition to individual mentoring sessions with Kevin Puts and Music Director Osmo Vänskä, the Composer Institute participants will learn from presenters including Minnesota Orchestra Principal Harp Kathy Kienzle and Principal Librarian Maureen Conroy; Orchestra staff members Rob Nygaard and Sarah Blain Chaplin; Bonnie Marshall, Tim Igel and William J. Lackey of the American Composers Forum; and American composer Jennifer Higdon and Lawdon Press Vice President Cheryl Lawson. In addition, Minnesota Orchestra musicians will offer practical guidance on writing for specific instruments and sections of the orchestra. Full Orchestra rehearsals for the MusicMakers concert are open to the public.

A complete schedule of Composer Institute events is available for the media upon request.


Minnesota Orchestra Classical Concert

and the Minnesota Orchestra

Friday, January 10, 2020, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall

Minnesota Orchestra
Osmo Vänskä, conductor
Kevin Puts, Composer Institute director
Fred Child, host
Danielle Beckvermit, soprano
Lisa Marie Rogali, soprano
Felicity James, violin

THEO CHANDLER               Songs from Brooches for Two Sopranos and Orchestra
PAUL FRUCHT                     Acadian Vista
CLARE GLACKIN                Archaea
MARC MIGÓ                         Nocturne for Violin, Piano obbligato, String Orchestra and Harp
PATRICK O’MALLEY         Rest and Restless
LIZA SOBEL                         Ticking Time Bomb
NICKY SOHN                        Bird Up

Ticket price includes a pre-concert and intermission beverage. The audience is also invited to meet the composers at a post-concert reception.

The Composer Institute is co-presented with the American Composers Forum.

Tickets: $20 to $63; Free tickets available for young people age 18 and under through Hall Pass.


Subscription packages and individual tickets can be purchased online at, or by calling 612-371-5656 (612-371-5642 for subscriptions) or 800-292-4141. Tickets can be purchased in person at Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis (open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and beginning two hours before all ticketed performances); and at the Minnesota Orchestra Administrative Office, International Centre, 5th floor, 920 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis (open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). For more information, call 612-371-5656, or visit For subscriptions, call 612-371-5642 or visit For groups of 10 or more, call 612-371-5662.

All programs, artists, dates, times and prices subject to change.

The Composer Institute is generously sponsored by The Amphion Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the late Hella Mears Hueg and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

# # #

Press Contacts

Gwen Pappas

Director of Communications
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Carl Schroeder

Publications Editor
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Emma Plehal

Communications Manager and Assistant Editor
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Isaac Risseeuw

Social Media and Content Manager
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Communications Office

Minnesota Orchestra
1111 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403
Phone: 612.371.5600
Fax: 612.371.7170

Download Showcase PDFs

Showcase Concert Magazine, April 2020   

For information on advertising in Showcase, contact:
Marilyn A. Miller
952-942-7355 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.