Music Program

Commissioned Composers

58th Commissioned Composer – March 14, 2024  

Jin Hi Kim 2023

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls will welcome featured composer Jin Hi Kim to Abbott Concert Hall on Thursday, March 14, 2024, at 7:30 p.m. for the 58th Commissioned Composer concert. The concert is free and open to the public. 

Jin Hi Kim is on campus March 12-14, 2024 for a three-day residency working with faculty, and students sharing insights about her music. There will be a convocation on March 14, 3 PM in 129 Kleinpell Fine Arts, where she will discuss her new composition. All events are open, and the public is welcome. 

Jin Hi Kim, innovative komungo virtuoso, Guggenheim Fellow composer, and United States Artist Fellow, has performed as a soloist in her own compositions at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Freer Gallery of Art, Asia Society, Metropolitan Museum of Art and around the world. The New York Times wrote, “…virtuoso, Jin Hi Kim promises thoughtful, shimmering East-West amalgams in combinations that are both new and unlikely to be repeated.” 

In 2021 wrote "A Musical Philosopher And Radiator Of Electricity:Jin Hi Kim." She received the New England Foundation for the Arts' Rebecca Blunk Fund Award to create her A Ritual for Covid-19 in memory of the deceased worldwide during the pandemic. This performance is in the spirit of healing of the apocalyptic years of 2020-21.

She is known as a pioneer for introducing komungo (geomungo) into the American contemporary music scene and for extensive solo performances on the world’s only electric komungo with live interactive computer programs in her large-scale multimedia performance pieces such as Ghost KomungobotDigital Buddha, and Touching The Moons. The Washington Post wrote, "Her unique vision blends science fiction images, state-of-the-art technology, ancient mythology and timeless music and dance traditions. No other artist is doing work quite like this, and she does it with superb style." 

Kim’s 'Living Tones' compositions have been commissioned by the Kronos Quartet, American Composers Orchestra, Festival Nieuwe Muziek for Xenakis Ensemble (The Netherlands), Tan Dun's New Generation East program for Chamber Music Society for the Lincoln Center, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Meet The Composer US Commission, National Endowment for the Arts and many others. The New York Times wrote, "A gorgeously tactile piece that moved easily between an earthy folksiness and meditative refinement." 

Kim won the Wolff Ebermann Prize at the International Theater Institute (Germany), New England Foundation for the Art' Rebecca Blunk Fund Award, and received the Artist Award from the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, which was created by John Cage and Jasper Johns. She received the artist residence fellowships for the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, Italy, Asian Cultural Council to Japan and Indonesia, Freeman Artist-In-Residence at Cornell University, Composer-to-Composer Residency with John Cage and international composers in Telluride Institute, Fulbright Specialist Program to Vietnam, Composers Now Creative Residencies at the Pocantico Center of Rockefeller Brothers Fund, McKnight Visiting Composer with the American Composers Forum, and Music Alive Composer in Residency with New Haven Symphony. 

Kim’s autobiography Komungo Tango, a 25-year journey of creative collaborations with master musicians in the USA and around the world, was published in Seoul, Korea. A retrospective interview about Kim's major works was recorded and archived in Oral History of American Music at Yale University Library. An interview about her electric komungo was featured on MBC-TV in conjunction with the Korean Traditional Craft Exhibition 2007 at the United Nations. In 2001 Korean National Broadcasting System (KBS-TV) produced an hour-long documentary film on Kim's musical contribution.  

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.

Commissioned Composers - 57 Years

  • 1967 Vincent Persichetti - CELEBRATION  
  • 1968 Donald Erb - THREE PIECES  
  • 1969 Chou Wen-Chung - YUN  
  • 1970 Ross Lee Finney - THE REMORSELESS RUSH OF TIME  
  • 1972 Mel Powell - SETTING  
  • 1973 Stephen Chambers - SKETCHY BLUE BOP AND TONE PRAYERS  
  • 1975 Henry Brant - A PLAN OF THE AIR  
  • 1976 Leslie Bassett - WIND MUSIC  
  • 1977 John Cage - QUARTET  
  • 1978 Richard Felciano - THE SEASONS  
  • 1979 Barbara Kolb - CHROMATIC FANTASY  
  • 1980 Edwin London - PSALM OF THESE DAYS V  
  • 1981 Stephan Chatman - SCREAMS AND WHIMPERS  
  • 1982 Sydney Hodkinson - ALTE LIEBESLIEDER (Book III)  
  • 1983 Frederic Rzewski - SATYRICA  
  • 1984 Fisher Tull - QUODLIBET  
  • 1985 Irwin Bazelon - FOURSCORE  
  • 1986 Harold Budd - ODD ANTHEMS AND STILL ROOMS  
  • 1987 Morton Feldman - FOR STEFAN WOLPE  
  • 1988 Libby Larson - BAC  
  • 1989 John Zorn - RUAN LINQYU  
  • 1990 Joel Chadabe - JAM  
  • 1991 Mary Ellen Childs - IN EACH OTHER’S PRESENCE  
  • 1992 Lois V Vierk - PLAIN OF SIX GLACIERS  
  • 1993 James Fritschel - COME LET US SOUND WITH MELODY  
  • 1994 David Revill - ORENDA  
  • 1995 Jennifer Higdon - WILD MAN DANCES  
  • 1996 Conrad De Jong - EARTH SONGS  
  • 1997 Joseph Turrin - SOUNDINGS  
  • 1998 Fred Sturm - RIVERSCAPE  
  • 1999 Judith Lang Zaimont - PARALLEL PLAY  
  • 2000 Jared Spears - LEGACY  
  • 2001 Pauline Oliveros - SOUND PATTERNS AND TROPES  
  • 2002 Anthony Braxton - COMPOSITION NO. 307  
  • 2003 Christian Wolff - PEACE MARCH 9  
  • 2004 Michael Torke - FOUR WHEEL DRIVE  
  • 2005 Stephen Paulus - JUBILATE!  
  • 2006 John Luther Adams - ... and bells remembered ...  
  • 2007 Lars Jansson - RIVER FALLS SUITE  
  • 2008 Marc Mellits - PRIME  
  • 2009 Julia Wolfe - GUARD MY TONGUE  
  • 2010 Michael Colgrass ZULULAND  
  • 2011 Conrad De Jong - EARTHSONGS II  
  • 2012 Cort Lippe - MUSIC FOR OCTET AND COMPUTER  
  • 2014 Guy Klucevsek - LITTLE BIG TOP (SUITE)  
  • 2015 Mark Applebaum - CLICKTRACK  
  • 2016 Amy Williams Mise-en-Scène - FOR SMALL WIND ENSEMBLE  
  • 2017 Jocelyn Hagen - CROWN OF WEEDS 
  • 2018 Young Jo Lee - ENCOUNTER – VI  
  • 2019 Alan Ferber - SECOND WIND  
  • 2021 Evan WIlliams - SOUND AN ALARM  
  • 2022 Alex Shapiro - FREE 

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 UW-River Falls music students.

For more information, view "Bravo Maestro!

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