UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

Music Department

Commissioned Composers

Annual Commissioned Composer Project Since 1967

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

Commissioned Composer Student Organization

UW-River Falls hosts the longest running collegiate Commissioned Composer Project in the US. Founded by Conrad De Jong, we celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016 with Amy Williams, composer.

Students participate in all aspects of the Commissioned Composer Project. Guided by adviser Patti Cudd, the composers visit campus and share a new work created for the UWRF Music Department. Students of this organization meet on a regular basis to plan, prepare, and host the week-long residency in spring semester. Join this group of creative thinkers who make a difference in the world of music.

 

 

 

53rd Commissioned Composer

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls will welcome featured composer Alan Ferber to Abbott Concert Hall in the Kleinpell Fine Arts building on Thursday, April 4, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. for the university’s 53nd Commissioned Composer Concert. The concert is free and open to the public.

Ferber is on campus April 2-4 for a three-day residency. He will also present a convocation in 129 Kleinpell Fine Arts on April 4 at 3 p.m. where he will discuss his new composition.

The three-time Grammy-nominated trombonist-composer-arranger has been called “one of the jazz world’s premier composers and arrangers for larger groups” by All About Jazz NY. Jazz Times magazine describes Ferber’s compositions as “inspired and meticulous” and the L.A. Weekly deems him “one of the premier modern jazz arrangers of our time.”

For the last seven years, Ferber has been recognized as one of the leading trombonists of his generation in DownBeat magazine’s International Critics Poll and Readers Poll. Ferber was the recipient of a 2013 New Jazz Works grant from Chamber Music America, funded by the Doris Duke Foundation. Since 2011, he has been an adjunct professor of jazz studies at New York University’s Steinhardt School.

Ferber’s music draws from a broad stylistic base informed by the array of artists with whom he has closely worked. In the jazz world, he has performed and/or recorded with Best New Artist Grammy-winner Esperanza Spalding’s Radio Music Society, the Dr. Lonnie Smith Octet, the Ted Nash Big Band, Todd Sickafoose’s Tiny Resistors, MacArthur Fellow Miguel Zenon’s Identities Big Band, the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra, the Charlie Hunter Quintet, Michael Formanek’s Ensemble Kolossus, the David Binney/Edward Simon Group, the Lee Konitz Nonet, John Ellis’s Double Wide, the Dafnis Prieto Big Band, the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, and Don Byron’s Mickey Katz Project.

He has worked extensively in other genres as well with artists including Peter Gabriel (Live at the Ed Sullivan Theater)Paul SimonSufjan Stevens (Age of Adz & All Delighted People),  (on Grammy-nominated Trouble Will Find Me), Dr. Dre, Harry Connick Jr, Michael Buble, and . His discography lists over 150 CDs on which he has played trombone and/or composed and arranged music. 

Ferber’s accomplishments as a writer are equally diverse. His recent work as a composer-arranger include ten 18-piece big band arrangements for Broadway star Shoshana Bean‘s new album, Spectrum; Two big band arrangements of Joni Mitchell compositions featuring vocalist Tutu Puoane with the Brussels Jazz Orchestra on their album, We Have A Dream. Two commissions ~ Kopi Luwak and Luteous Pangolin (Ben Monder) ~ written for the Atlantic Brass Quintet (and released on their 2014 album Crossover on Summit Records); Big band arrangements of I Sing For You (Nancy King) and I Get Along Without You Very Well (Hoagy Carmichael), featuring Grammy-nominated violinist Sara Caswell and her sister, vocalist Rachel Caswell with the JazzMn Orchestra; Hyperballad (Bjork), arranged for the avant-classical music outfit Bang On A Can’s Asphalt Orchestra;  Farewell (Nelson Foltz) arranged for a recording with eight trombones joined by acclaimed vocalist Rebecca Martin; and, nine arrangements for Korean Sony recording artist Youngjoo Song’s 2015 release, Reflection, nominated for Jazz Album of the Year at the 2015 Korean Music Awards.

In addition to New York University, Ferber has also been on faculty at the John J Cali School of Music at Montclair State University, the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University, and the New School for Jazz & Contemporary Music. He has worked regularly on the faculties of several summer jazz programs including the Taipei International Summer Jazz Academy, the Stanford Jazz Workshop, the Lafayette Summer Music Jazz Workshop, Cal State University’s Summer Arts Perspectives In Jazz program, and the Maine Jazz Camp. He has appeared as a clinician and soloist with numerous universities including Stanford University, University of Oregon, Cal State Northridge, Kansas University, University of Miami, Lawrence Conservatory, Middle Tennessee State University, and University of Nevada Las Vegas.

 

53 Years of Commissioned Composers

2019 Alan Ferger
2018 Young Jo Lee
2017 Jocelyn Hagen ~CROWN OF WEEDS
2016 Amy Williams ~ MISE-EN-SCENE
2015 Mark Applebaum ~ CLICKTRACK
2014 Guy Klucevsek ~ LITTLE BIG TOP (SUITE)
2013 Fang Man ~ CONCERTO FOR PIANO, PERCUSSION AND WIND INSTRUMENTS
2012 Cort Lippe ~ MUSIC FOR OCTET AND COMPUTER
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
1986 Harold Budd ~ ODD ANTHEMS AND STILL ROOMS
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
1974 William Albright ~ INTRODUCTION, PASSACAGLIA, AND RONDO CAPRICCIOSO
1973 Stephen Chambers ~ SKETCHY BLUE BOP AND TONE PRAYERS
1972 Mel Powell ~ SETTING
1971 Barney Childs ~ WHEN LILACS LAST IN THE DOORYARD BLOOM'D
1970 Ross Lee Finney ~ THE REMORSELESS RUSH OF TIME
1969 Chou Wen-Chung ~ YUN
1968 Donald Erb ~ THREE PIECES
1967 Vincent Persichetti ~ CELEBRATION

Conrad De Jong

ConradDeJong_1

 

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 UW-River Falls music students.

 

For more information, view "Bravo Maestro!

Alan Ferber, 2019 Commissioned Composer

Concert: Thursday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m. 

UW-River Falls is celebrating the 53rd year of the Commissioned Composer Project by hosting Alan Ferber for a three-day residency April 2-4. The 53rd Anniversary Concert is Thursday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m. in Abbott Concert Hall in the Kleinpell Fine Arts building. The public is invited to attend this free concert.

Contact Us

Music Department
music@uwrf.edu
715-425-3183
B46 Kleinpell Fine Arts

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