The Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute is an outgrowth of the Orchestra’s Perfect Pitch program, an annual series of new music reading sessions for emerging composers launched during the 1995-96 season in collaboration with the American Composers Forum. These sessions, initially for Minnesota composers only, were later opened to composers from surrounding states. By 2001 the reading sessions developed into a much more extensive program, now called the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute and open to talented emerging composers throughout the country. New Music USA—previously the American Music Center—joined as a program partner to offer participants its invaluable legal and business seminars for composers. Composer Aaron Jay Kernis directed the Institute for its first 11 seasons.
In December 2006 the Orchestra added a public concert of the composers' new works conducted by Music Director Osmo Vänskä. Initially titled Future Classics, this concert is now called MusicMakers. Besides preparing for the concert, participating composers attend a week of intensive professional development workshops with orchestral administrators and other national experts in the field, along with advanced musical seminars with the Minnesota Orchestra’s musicians, music director and Composer Institute director—all intended to advance the careers and musical experience of those attending.
Information on past Composer Institutes, including links to biographies, program notes, composer websites, blog postings and Minnesota Public Radio features, is provided below. Click here to view a complete list (PDF) of Composer Institute and Perfect Pitch participants since the program’s inception.
2018-19 Composer Institute: January 14-18, 2019
|JONATHAN CZINER||Resonant Bells|
|MATTHEW RICKETTS||Melodia for Piano and Orchestra|
|CONNOR ELIAS WAY||Over Collapsing Cities of Steel|
|ALYSSA WEINBERG||in somnis|
2017-18 Composer Institute: November 6 to 10, 2017
|HILARY PURRINGTON||Likely Pictures in Haphazard Sky|
|DANIEL SCHLOSBERG||Small Talk|
|PETER S. SHIN||Relapse|
|NINA C. YOUNG||Agnosco Veteris|
2016-17 Composer Institute: January 30 to February 3, 2017
|KATHERINE BALCH||Leaf Catalogue|
|MICHAEL BOYMAN||Tightrope Walker|
|JUDY BOZONE||Spilled Orange|
|MICHAEL-THOMAS FOUMAI||Music from the Castle of Heaven|
|TONIA KO||Strange Sounds and Explosions Worldwide|
|CONRAD WINSLOW||Old Motion Parade|
2015-16 Composer Institute: January 25 to 30, 2016
|KIRSTEN BROBERG||Celestial Dawning|
|MATTHEW BROWNE||Barnstorming Season|
|EMILY COOLEY||Scroll of the Air|
||Sinfonia After Vivaldi|
2014-15 Composer Institute: January 12 to 16, 2015
|KATI AGÓCS||Perpetual Summer|
|LOREN LOIACONO||Stalks, Hounds
|EVAN MEIER||Fire Music
|MICHAEL SCHACHTER||Freylekhe Tanzen|
Article by Composer Institute participant Eugene Birman
Read composer Eugene Birman's reflections on the 2015 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute on NewMusicBox.org.
2011-12 Composer Institute: January 2 to 7, 2012
|BRIAN CIACH||Collective Uncommon, Seven Orchestral Studies on Medical Oddities|
|MICHAEL R. HOLLOWAY||Rhythm: Theta Beta Theta|
|HANNAH LASH||God Music Bug Music|
|SHEN YIWEN||First Orchestral Essay|
2010-11 Composer Institute: October 24 to 30, 2010
|TAYLOR BRIZENDINE||Mandragora Officinarum|
|WANG JIE||Symphony No. 1|
|POLINA NAZAYKINSKAYA||Winter Bells|
|CLINT NEEDHAM||The Body Electric|
|BEN PHELPS||Overture Maximus|
|DAVID WEAVER||Mutatis Mutandis|
Composer Institute participant Taylor Brizendine's blog
Read composer Taylor Brizendine's daily blog reports from the 2010-11 Composer Institute, posted on NewMusicBox.org.
Introduction | Days 1 & 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Days 5 & 6
2009-10 Composer Institute: November 17 to 22, 2009
|ANGEL LAM||In Search of Seasons|
|KATHRYN SALFELDER||Dessin No. 1|
|CARL SCHIMMEL||Woolgatherer’s Chapbook|
|GEOFF KNORR||Shadows of the Infinite|
Composer Institute participant Spencer Topel's blog
Read composer Spencer Topel's daily blog reports from the 2009-10 Composer Institute, posted on NewMusicBox.org.
Introduction Part 1 & Part 2 | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5
2008-09 Composer Institute: November 1 to 8, 2008
|ANTONIO CARLOS DeFEO||Four Portraits: por los ojos de los niños|
|JUSTIN MERRITT||River of Blood|
Composer Institute participant Justin Merritt's blog
Read composer Justin Merritt's daily blog reports from the 2008-09 Composer Institute, posted on NewMusicBox.org.
Introduction | Post 1 | Post 2 | Post 3 | Post 4
2007-08 Composer Institute: October 20 to 27, 2007
|TREVOR GURECKIS||Very Large Array|
|ELLIOTT MILES McKINLEY||Four Moments for Grand Orchestra: A "Pocket" Symphony|
|XI WANG|| Above Light—a conversation with Toru Takemitsu
Minnesota Public Radio feature
Click here for Melissa Ousley’s Composer Institute coverage throughout the week. See four audio links on the right side for features with hosts Steve Staruch and John Birge.
Composer Institute participant Jacob Cooper's blog
Read composer Jacob Cooper's daily blog reports from the 2007-08 Composer Institute, posted on NewMusicBox.org.
Days 1 & 2 | Day 3 | Days 4 & 5 | Day 6 | Day 7
2006-07 Composer Institute: November 26 to December 2, 2006
|These Worlds in Us|
|...At the end of the tunnel|
|La tristesse durera|
|Toccata for Orchestra|
|ALEJANDRO RUTTY||Tango Loops 2B|
Minnesota Public Radio feature
Click here to listen to Tom Crann's interview of Nov-Dec 2006 Composer Institute participant Ashley Nail, featured on All Things Considered.
Composer Institute participant Missy Mazzoli's blog
Read composer Missy Mazzoli's daily blog reports from the 2006-07 Composer Institute, posted on NewMusicBox.org.
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Days 4 & 5 | Final Posting
2005-06 Composer Institute: May 6-11, 2006
|Hubble Space Telescope Views|
|The Palace of Nine Perfections|
Composer Institute participant Sean Shepherd's blog
Read composer Sean Shepherd's daily blog reports from the 2005-06 Composer Institute, posted on NewMusicBox.org.
Introduction | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Final Posting
2004-05 Composer Institute: October 27-30, 2004
JOHN CHRISTIAN ORFE
|Classical Walpurgis Night
|SHERIDAN SEYFRIED||Subtle Electric Fire
Minnesota Public Radio feature
Click here to listen to Minnesota Public Radio's 2004 radio documentary about the Composer Institute by Chris Roberts, featured on All Things Considered and State of the Arts.
2003-04 Composer Institute: May 1-4, 2004
|Symphony No. 1
WILLIAM A. WARE
|Das Juengste Kind|
|Voyage to the Sun
2002-03 Composer Institute: October 25-31, 2002
|Rhapsody No. 1, Dance of the Dragon|
|Subtleties Lost, Prelude and Fugue for Orchestra|
2001-02 Composer Institute: March 9-14, 2002
|Symphony No. 1|
|The Whispering Wind
|Garden Varieties, Four Dance Vignettes|
|Canter into Black|
Click here to view a complete list (PDF) of Composer Institute and Perfect Pitch participants since the program's inception.