The Operating System


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The Operating System is pleased to introduce you to our newest guest contributors – composers Michael Laurello, Todd Lerew, and Kristina Warren. Just recently, these extraordinarily talented folk were chosen from hundreds of applicants as finalists in the 2014 American Composers Forum National Composition Contest. Sure, the composers have received $1000 but now… they prepare for the real prize: composing a new, eight-to-ten minute piece for acclaimed new music ensemble So Percussion – to be workshopped in residence at the So Percussion Summer Institute and premiered by the ensemble on July 20th at Princeton University. One of these works will be chosen to receive the final ACF prize — an additional cash award of $2000 and future public performances by So Percussion.
Says Adam Sliwinski, “The American Composers Forum competition offered So Percussion a chance to reach out and find exciting young compositional talent. We expressly requested to judge blindly, and the three finalists all caught our ears in unique ways. There were so many excellent submissions.  The ACF has established a wonderful precedent for a competition that is favorable for everybody involved, and we’re ecstatic to get three new pieces out of it!”
To give you a little background, this is a competition which began during the 2010-11 season as the Finale National Composition Contest, partnering with the group eighth blackbird. JACK Quartet was the ensemble for 2011-12. The competition went on hiatus last season, returning in September 2013 under its new name, the American Composers Forum National Composition Contest. Quite a mouthful, yes, but ultimately a forward thinking competition series that not only gives exposure to young composers but which also offers them an opportunity to work intimately with a community of performers at the summer institute.
We wanted to offer the composers a forum for discussing their work as well as the process of preparing these new pieces for premiere in July, and felt that our FIELD NOTES series offered a perfect home as a window into the habits and nuances of their creative practice. You’ll be hearing from each once a month, as we check in with their progress. We’re excited to note that the composers have also agreed to join editor Lynne DeSilva-Johnson in a roundtable discussion on contemporary composition, music, life, and creative practice as part of our popular RE:CONVERSATIONS series, which you can look for soon.
In the meanwhile, here’s some audio samples and teaser biographies of each to get you hooked –
[textwrap_image align=”right”][/textwrap_image]MICHAEL LAURELLO (b. 1981) is an American composer and pianist. He has written for ensembles and soloists such as the Yale Baroque Ensemble, Sound Icon, the 15.19 Ensemble, NotaRiotous (the Boston Microtonal Society), guitarist Flavio Virzì, soprano Sarah Pelletier, pianist/composer John McDonald, and clarinetist and linguist/music theorist Ray Jackendoff. Laurello is an Artist Diploma candidate in Composition at the Yale School of Music, studying with David Lang and Christopher Theofanidis. He earned an M.A. in Composition from Tufts University under John McDonald, and a B.M. in Music Synthesis (Electronic Production and Design) from Berklee College of Music where he studied jazz piano performance with Laszlo Gardony and Steve Hunt. He has attended composition festivals at highSCORE (Pavia, Italy) and Etchings (Auvillar, France), and was recently recognized with an Emerging Artist Award from the St. Botolph Club Foundation (Boston, MA). In addition to his work as a composer and performer, Laurello is a recording and mixing engineer.

[textwrap_image align=”left”][/textwrap_image]TODD LEREW (b. 1986) is a Los Angeles-based composer working with invented acoustic instruments, repurposed found objects, and unique preparations of traditional instruments. Lerew is the inventor of the Quartz Cantabile (ed: just wait until you see this thing), which utilizes a principle of thermoacoustics to convert heat into sound (!), and has presented the instrument at Stanford’s CCRMA, the American Musical Instrument Society annual conference, the Guthman Musical Instrument Competition at Georgia Tech, and Machine Project in Los Angeles. He is the founder and curator of Telephone Music, a collaborative music and memory project based on the children’s game of Telephone, the last round of which was released as an exclusive download to subscribers of music magazine The Wire. His solo piece for e-bowed gu zheng, entitled Lithic Fragments, is available on cassette on the Brunch Groupe label. His pieces have been performed by members of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, the Wet Ink Ensemble (New York), the Now Hear Ensemble (Santa Barbara), and the Canticum Ostrava choir (Czech Republic).

[textwrap_image align=”right”][/textwrap_image]KRISTINA WARREN (b. 1989) is a composer and vocalist who holds a B.A. in Music Composition from Duke University and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Composition and Computer Technologies from the University of Virginia. Recent works include Three Sonnets of Elizabeth Barrett Browning (soprano, electronics), Folk Studies No. 1 (Up in the A.M.), No. 2 (Vimeda Sakla), and No. 3 (Shousty) for voice-based electronics, and Pogpo (electric guitar quartet). Warren’s research interests include voice, electronics, and questions of aleatory and performance practice in conjunction with various non-Eurocentric musics, such as folk music and Korean p’ansori. Warren’s compositions have been performed across the US and in Europe, and she has been fortunate to study composition with Ted Coffey, Judith Shatin, Anthony Kelley, Scott Lindroth , and John Supko.

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