AAME presents a conversation with four composers02.17.2015
This event has been cancelled.
The Arts Alliance Mountain Empire, in cooperation with the Bristol Public Library, continues the 2014-15 AAME Speakers Series. The series features local and regional personalities sharing their expertise on topics that enrich and encourage the arts and general communities of the region. This series provides a forum for member organizations of AAME to tell of their contributions to the region. The lectures take place at Bristol Public Library, Bristol, Virginia.
A Conversation with Four Composers takes place Thursday, March 5, at 7 p.m., and features four regional composers whose work has gained an audience within and beyond the Mountain Empire. Each composer answers a series of prepared questions, and then the discussion is opened up to the audience for general enquiries.
Benjamin Dawson teaches violin and viola at Suzuki Talent Education of Appalachia. He studied composition with Dr. Maria Niederberger at East Tennessee State University, where he was a two-time recipient of the Kenton Coe Composition Scholarship. His compositions have been performed by the Symphony of the Mountains, the SOTM Youth Orchestra, the Highlands Youth Ensemble, the East Tennessee Children's Choir, the ETSU Chorale, the ETSU Saxophone Quartet, the King University Symphonic Choir and various area churches. He has composed independent film scores and is the "in house" arranger/orchestrator for Symphony of the Mountains. Dawson won first place in the 2013 Music Teachers National Association (State Level, Tennessee) Composition Competition. He plays piano and violin at Abingdon Presbyterian Church and serves on the board of Mountain Empire Children's Choral Academy.
Scott Gendel is a professional composer, vocal coach and pianist living in Emory, Virginia. Recently, he recorded his piece "At Last" with soprano Camille Zamora and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, as part of "An AIDS Quilt Songbook: Sing for Hope." His art songs have been recorded on Albany Records and Naxos. He received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The University of Wisconsin, where he also designed and taught an undergraduate composition curriculum. Upcoming commissioned works include the song cycle "I'm Afraid It's You" for tenor and piano, to be premiered by Brian Thorsett and Tracy Cowden at Virginia Tech this spring; "Advice to Those Like Me, With Hearts Like Kindling" for the Carnegie Hall debut of soprano Melody Moore; and "#dreamsongs," a set of miniatures for choir, cello and piano written for the Santa Clara University Choirs in Santa Clara, California. Gendel works regularly at Madison Opera in Wisconsin, Barter Theatre, Opera North, and in collaboration with singers and instrumentalists.
Tennessee-based Swiss composer Maria A. Niederberger's compositions draw on the musical and cultural influences of her international life. Her works evoke a sense of fluidity, a shifting and flux between temporary solidity and its dissolution. Niederberger's compositional output encompasses a range of instrumental, vocal and orchestral works. They are performed in the USA, Canada, Europe and Asia. Her most recent commission is a contemporary music ensemble, to be performed at the Festival Música Hoje in Curtiba, in Brazil. She has won the international Miriam Gideon Prize for Musical Composition and the Olga Brose Valente Prize for Excellence in Musical Composition. Her work has been recognized and supported by the American Music Center, Pro Helvetia (the Swiss National Endowment for the Arts), the International Alliance for Women in Music, the Schindler Foundation, the University of California and East Tennessee State University. Niederberger earned her Ph.D. from Brandeis University, where she studied composition with Martin Boykan, Arthur Berger and Allen Anderson. She serves as the chair of the department of music at East Tennessee State University, where she teaches theory and composition.
A Tanzania-born Tennessean, Evelyn Pursley-Kopitzke is a neo-classical composer and lyricist whose extensive opus includes chamber, choral, art and orchestral works. Her music has been heard from coast to coast and in Europe. She holds a graduate degree in composition and studied with Drs. Margarita Merriman, Barney Childs and Kenneth Jacobs. She is co-founder of the Greater Tri-Cities Composers' Consortium. She received top honors in the Carton Savage international "I Wage Peace" project. Selected recent works include "Adagio, Beyond the Silence," Soprano and Orchestra; "Expectations," Percussion Solo on 11 instruments; The Constellations, a Symphony; and four movements of Second Sight, a 2014 commission by The Paramount Chamber Players.