UW-River Falls celebrates 50th anniversary of Commissioned Composer Project

Amy WilliamsMarch 17, 2016 -- The University of Wisconsin-River Falls is celebrating the 50th year of the Commissioned Composer Project by hosting Guggenheim award-winning composer Amy Williams for a four-day residency April 5-8. A 50th Anniversary Concert is Thursday, April 7, at 7:30 p.m. in Abbott Concert Hall in the Kleinpell Fine Arts building. The public is invited to attend this free concert.

Each year, UW-River Falls commissions 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 premier performance of that work.  

The Commissioned Composer Project was began in 1967 by Professor Emeritus Conrad De Jong and is the longest standing program of its kind in the United States, putting a national spotlight on the UW-River Falls Music Department.

Compositions by Williams have been presented at renowned contemporary music venues in the United States, Australia, Asia and Europe. Her works have been performed by leading contemporary soloists and ensembles and her pieces appear on the Albany, Parma, VDM (Italy), Blue Griffin, Centaur and New Ariel labels. As a member of the Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo, Williams has performed at new music festivals and series throughout Europe and the Americas. The Duo has recorded four critically-acclaimed CDs.

Williams was the recipient of a Howard Foundation Fellowship for 2008-09, a Fromm Music Foundation Commission in 2009, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2015-16 and the 2016 Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Williams is an associate professor of music composition and theory at the University of Pittsburgh. More information about Williams can be found at

Williams will discuss her commission on Thursday, April 7, at 3 p.m. in Abbott Concert Hall. She will conclude her visit on Friday, April 8, by performing a variety of compositions at the Frances Cohler Coffee Concert at noon in Abbott Concert Hall. Conrad De Jong will speak about the history of the Commissioned Composer project on Friday, April 8, at 11 a.m. in Room 129 of the Kleinpell Fine Arts building. All Commissioned Composer events are free and open to the public.

For more information about the Commissioned Composer Project, visit, email or call the UW-River Falls Music Department at 715-425-3183.

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