Commissioned Composers

Annual Commissioned Composer Project Since 1967

The project, which began in 1967 by Professor Emeritus Conrad De Jong, is the longest standing program of its kind within the United States, putting a national spotlight on the UW-RF Music Department.  Every year, the student members of the Commissioned Composer Project select and commission a composer to write a piece of music for the student body, and arranges for that composer to come to the campus in the spring to interact with the students and take part in the premiere performance of that work.

Conrad De Jong is a highly acclaimed and accomplished composer of international renown.  He has 30 published commissions to his credit and, since 1970, has received annual awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. In 1980 he was a featured composer at New Music America.  His music has been performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Town Hall in New York City, and on the Today Show.  Internationally, his works have been performed in Canada, South America, Europe, Australia and Japan.  One of his numerous commissions, Variations on the Spanish LaFolia, has been recorded by the Dorian Wind Quintet on its Summit Records CD, American Premiers.

As a teacher, he was especially proud of his students' work in composition and their performances with the University of Wisconsin-River Falls New Music Ensemble.  He also takes great personal gratification from the establishment and continuation of the UW-RF Commissioned Composer Program.

50th Annual Commissioned Composer

Amy Williams was born in Buffalo, NY in 1969, the daughter of   Diane, retired violist with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and Jan,   percussionist and Professor Emeritus at the University at Buffalo.   She started playing the piano at the age of four and took up the flute a   few years later (her first teacher was the legendary Robert Dick, so   she could soon play “Chopsticks” in multiphonics…). She grew up in the   heyday of the Center for the Creativeand Performing Arts, hearing   all the latest contemporary music and meeting composers who would later   become influential to her: John Cage, Morton Feldman, Lukas Foss,   Elliott Carter and many others. She went to Bennington College and,   while there, decided to devote her life to performing and composing   contemporary music. After a fellowship year in Denmark, she returned to   Buffalo to complete her Master’s degree in piano performance at the   University at Buffalo with pianist-composer Yvar Mikhashoff and her   Ph.D. in composition, working primarily with David Felder. She   returned to Bennington in 1998 as a member of the music faculty and she   then moved on to a faculty position at Northwestern University in 2000.   Since 2005, she has been teaching composition and theoryat the   University of Pittsburgh  , where she recently was named Associate Professor.

Amy’s compositions have been presented at renowned contemporary music   venues in the United States, Asia, Australia, and Europe, including Ars   Musica (Belgium), Gaudeamus Music Week (Netherlands), Dresden New   Music Days (Germany), Musikhøst Festival (Denmark), Festival Aspekte   (Austria), Festival Musica Nova (Brazil), Thailand International   Composition Festival, Music Gallery (Canada), LA County Museum of Art,   Piano Spheres (Los Angeles) and Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary   Music. Her works have been performed by leading soloists and ensembles,   including the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Pro Arte Chamber   Orchestra, Ensemble Aleph, JACK Quartet, Duo Diorama, Ensemble Dal   Niente, Wet Ink Ensemble, Talujon, Empyrean Ensemble, Pittsburgh New   Music Ensemble, California E.A.R. Unit, Dinosaur Annex, International   Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Due East, H2 Saxophone Quartet, Bent   Frequency, pianists Ursula Oppens and Amy Briggs, and bassist Robert   Black. Amy’s pieces appear on the Parma, VDM (Italy), Blue Griffin   and New Ariel labels. A portrait CD of recent solo and chamber works,   entitled “  Crossings: Music for Piano and Strings”  , was released by Albany Records in April 2013.

She formed the Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo   with Helena Bugallo, while both were   graduate students at the University at Buffalo. The Duo has been   featured at important contemporary music festivals and series   throughout Europe and the Americas, including the Ojai Festival, CAL   Performances (California), Miller Theatre, Symphony Space, Le Poisson   Rouge (New York), Musica Contemporanea Ciclos de Conciertos (Buenos   Aires), Festival Attacca (Stuttgart), Palacio de Bellas Artes   (Mexico City), Warsaw Autumn Festival, Cologne Triennale, and Wittener   Täge für Neue Kammermusik. The Duo’s debut CD of Conlon Nancarrow’s   complete music for solo piano and piano duet (  Wergo, 2004  )   garnered much critical acclaim. Wergo released the Duo’s second CD   (music of Stravinsky) in 2007 and their third (music of Morton Feldman   and Edgard Varèse) in 2009. Their recording of the complete piano duets   of György Kurtág will be releasedin 2014.

Amy has won the Wayne Peterson Composition Prize ( Sextet ), Audio   Inversions Composition Prize ( Cineshape 1 ), Thayer Award for the Arts,   an ASCAP Award for Young Composers ( verre-glaz ), and grants from   the American-Scandinavian Foundation, American Music Center, Greater   Pittsburgh Arts Council, Pro Musica Viva (Germany), Meet the Composer,   and the Heinz and Pittsburgh Foundations. She was the recipient of a   Howard Foundation Fellowship for 2008- 2009 and received a 2009   Fromm Music Foundation Commission to write a piece for the JACK Quartet.   An avid proponent of contemporary music, she served as Assistant   Director of June In Buffalo, Director of New Music Northwestern, and is   currently on the artistic boards of the Pittsburgh-based concert series, Music on the Edge  , and the Yvar Mikhashoff Trust for New Music  . She recently became the Artistic Director and Composer-in-Residence with the New Music on the Point   festival in Vermont. Her latest work, Flood Lines  for full orchestra, was premiered in February 2014 by the   Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra conducted by Maestro Manfred Honeck.   Upcoming projects include the completion of her Cineshape series of   chamber pieces inspired by different films—a solo piano work based   on Run Lola Run and a new video collaboration—as well as a new piece for   the New Muse Piano Duo and a duo for Jan Berry Baker (saxophone) and   Stuart Gerber (percussion).

Commissioned Composer Concert:
April 7th, 2016, time: 7:30 PM
William Abbott Concert Hall
Free Admission

49 Years of Commissioned Composers

2016 Amy Williams
2015 Mark Applebaum ~ CLICKTRACK
2014 Guy Klucevsek ~ LITTLE BIG TOP (SUITE)
2011 Conrad DeJong ~ EARTHSONGS II
2010 Michael Colgrass ~ ZULULAND
2009 Julia Wolfe ~ GUARD MY TONGUE
2008 Mark Melllits ~ PRIME
2007 Lars Jansson ~ RIVER FALLS SUITE
2006 John Luther Adams ~ ...AND BELLS REMEMBERED...
2005 Stephen Paulus ~ JUBILATE!
2004 Michael Torke ~ FOUR WHEEL DRIVE
2003 Christian Wolff ~ PEACE MARCH 9
2002 Anthony Braxton ~ COMPOSITION NO. 307
2001 Pauline Oliveros ~ SOUND PATTERNS AND TROPES
2000 Jared Spears ~ LEGACY
1999 Judith Lang Zaimont ~ PARALLEL PLAY
1998 Fred Sturm ~ RIVERSCAPE
1997 Joseph Turrin ~ SOUNDINGS
1996 Conrad De Jong ~ EARTH SONGS
1995 Jennifer Higdon ~ WILD MAN DANCES
1994 David Revill ~ ORENDA
1993 James Fritschel ~ COME LET US SOUND WITH MELODY
1992 Lois V. Vierk ~ PLAIN OF SIX GLACIERS
1991 Mary Ellen Childs ~ IN EACH OTHER'S PRESENCE
1990 Joel Chadabe ~ JAM
1989 John Zorn ~ RUAN LINQYU
1988 Libby Larson ~ BAC
1987 Morton Feldman ~ FOR STEFAN WOLPE
1985 Irwin Bazelon ~ FOURSCORE
1984 Fisher Tull ~ QUODLIBET
1983 Frederic Rzewski ~ SATYRICA
1982 Sydney Hodkinson ~ ALTE LIEBESLIEDER (Book III)
1981 Stephan Chatman ~ SCREAMS AND WHIMPERS
1980 Edwin London ~ PSALM OF THESE DAYS V
1979 Barbara Kolb ~ CHROMATIC FANTASY
1978 Richard Felciano ~ THE SEASONS
1977 John Cage ~ QUARTET
1976 Leslie Bassett ~ WIND MUSIC
1975 Henry Brant ~ A PLAN OF THE AIR
1972 Mel Powell ~ SETTING
1969 Chou Wen-Chung ~ YUN
1968 Donald Erb ~ THREE PIECES
1967 Vincent Persichetti ~ CELEBRATION

Conrad De Jong


Conrad De Jong, composer and professor emeritus, initiated the commissioned composer event in 1967 at the school's Spring Fine Arts Festival.  De Jong's intention from the beginning was to ensure that contemporary trends in American music would become part of the repertoire of River Falls music students.

For more information.  See the article" Bravo Maestro!" by Kevin Bertelsen, Director of Publications at UW-River Falls.


Amy Williams, 2016 Commissioned Composer  

 Amy Williams

Concert: April 7th at 7:30.


Several UWRF Commissioned Composers have been featured on the Minnesota Public Radio program American Mavericks.

Listen to the music as well as personal interviews with these and other composers at MPR's American Mavericks' web site.

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Department of Music
B46 Kleinpell Fine Arts

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