2019 EUREKA! Keynote, Gabriela Lena Frank
Included in the Washington Post's list of the 35 most significant women composers in history (August, 2017), identity has always been at the center of composer/pianist Gabriela Lena Frank's music. Born in Berkeley, California (September, 1972), to a mother of mixed Peruvian/Chinese ancestry and a father of Lithuanian/Jewish descent, Frank explores her multicultural heritage most ardently through her compositions. Inspired by the works of Bela Bartók and Alberto Ginastera, Frank is something of a musical anthropologist. She has traveled extensively throughout South America and her pieces often reflect and refract her studies of Latin American folklore, incorporating poetry, mythology, and native musical styles into a western classical framework that is uniquely her own.
Moreover, she writes, "There's usually a story line behind my music; a scenario or character." While the enjoyment of her works can be obtained solely from her music, the composer's program notes enhance the listener's experience, for they describe how a piano part mimics a marimba or pan-pipes, or how a movement is based on a particular type of folk song, where the singer is mockingly crying. Even a brief glance at her titles evokes specific imagery: Leyendas (Legends): An Andean Walkabout; Cuentos Errantes (Wandering Songs); and La Llorona (The Crying Woman): Tone Poem for Viola and Orchestra. Frank’s compositions also reflect her virtuosity as a pianist — when not composing, she is a sought-after performer, specializing in contemporary repertoire.
Winner of a Latin Grammy and nominated for Grammys as both composer and pianist, Gabriela also holds a Guggenheim Fellowship and a USA Artist Fellowship given each year to fifty of the country’s finest artists. Her work has been described as “crafted with unself-conscious mastery” (Washington Post), “brilliantly effective” (New York Times), “a knockout” (Chicago Tribune) and “glorious” (Los Angeles Times). Gabriela Lena Frank is regularly commissioned by luminaries such as cellist Yo Yo Ma, soprano Dawn Upshaw, the King’s Singers, and the Kronos Quartet, as well as by the talents of the next generation such as conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin of the New York Metropolitan Opera and Philadelphia Orchestra. She has received orchestral commissions and performances from leading American orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, the Boston Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony. In 2017, she completed her four-year tenure as composer-in-residence with the Detroit Symphony under maestro Leonard Slatkin, composing Walkabout: Concerto for Orchestra, as well as a second residency with the Houston Symphony under Andrés Orozco-Estrada for whom she composed the Conquest Requiem, a large-scale choral/orchestral work in Spanish, Latin, and Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. Frank’s most recent premiere is Apu: Tone Poem for Orchestra commissioned by Carnegie Hall and premiered by the National Youth Orchestra of the United States under the baton of conductor Marin Alsop. In the season of 2019-20, Fort Worth Opera will premiere Frank’s first opera, The Last Dream of Frida (with a subsequent performance by co-commissioner San Diego Opera) utilizing words by her frequent collaborator Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Nilo Cruz.
Gabriela Lena Frank is the subject of several scholarly books including the W.W. Norton Anthology: The Musics of Latin America; Women of Influence in Contemporary Music: Nine American Composers (Scarecrow Press); and In her Own Words(University of Illinois Press). She is also the subject of several PBS documentaries including Compadre Huashayo regarding her work in Ecuador composing for the Orquestra de Instrumentos Andinos comprised of native highland instruments; and Música Mestiza, regarding a workshop she led at the University of Michigan composing for a virtuoso septet of a classical string quartet plus a trio of Andean panpipe players. Música Mestiza, created by filmmaker Aric Hartvig, received an Emmy Nomination for best Documentary Feature in 2015.
Civic outreach is an essential part of Frank’s work. She has volunteered extensively in hospitals and prisons, with a recent project working with deaf African-American high school students in Detroit who rap in sign language. In 2017, Frank founded the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music, a non-profit training institution that offers emerging composers short-term retreats at Gabriela’s two farms in Mendocino County, CA. Over two visits, participants receive artistic and professional mentorship from Gabriela as well as readings of works in progress by guest faculty master performers in advance of the works' public world premieres at the academy. In support of arts citizenship, the Academy also pairs participant composers and faculty performers with underrepresented rural communities in a variety of projects such as working with students at the Anderson Valley Junior/Senior High enrolled in basic music composition class.
Frank attended Rice University in Houston, Texas, where she earned a B.A. (1994) and M.A. (1996). She studied composition with Sam Jones, and piano with Jeanne Kierman Fischer. At the University of Michigan, where she received a D.M.A. in composition in 2001, Gabriela studied with William Albright, William Bolcom, Leslie Bassett, and Michael Daugherty, and piano with Logan Skelton. She currently resides in Boonville, a small rural town in the Anderson Valley of northern California, with her husband Jeremy on their mountain farm, has a second home in her native Berkeley in the San Francisco Bay Area, and travels frequently in South America.
Gabriela Lena Frank's music is published exclusively by G. Schirmer, Inc.
2017 EUREKA! Keynote, John Koegel
2017 EUREKA! Invited Artist, Annie Gosfield
2017 EUREKA! Keynote, Sean Friar
JOHN KOEGEL, Professor of Musicology, serves as Graduate Advisor for the School of Music, and Coordinator of Music History and Coordinator of Music in General Education. He teaches courses and conducts research in American, Mexican, and European musical topics, particularly musical theater and opera, and music in the context of ethnicity and immigration. His book Music in German Immigrant Theater: New York City, 1840-1940 (University of Rochester Press, 2009) was given the Irving Lowens Book Award of the Society for American Music in 2011, and was a Finalist for the Theater Library Association’s 2010 Freedley Award. Opera News (Metropolitan Opera Guild) described it as “Deep-delving. . . . Readable and entertaining. . . . A tour guide down a forgotten byway of the American immigrant experience.”
Koegel’s article “Mexican Musical Theater and Movie Palaces in Downtown Los Angeles Before 1950” will appear in 2017 in The Tide Was Always High: The Music of Latin America in Los Angeles (University of California Press), edited by Josh Kun. He is currently working on the scholarly musical edition Mexican-American Music from Southern California, circa 1840-1920: The Lummis Cylinder Collection and Other Sources for the Music of the United States of America series (A-R Editions and American Musicological Society). And in 2013-14, Koegel was the recipient of a year-long Research Fellowship given by the National Endowment for the Humanities for work on his in-progress book Mexican Musical Theater in Los Angeles, 1850-1950.
In 2013, he served as Chair of the Cátedra Jesús C. Romero, of the Centro Nacional de Investigación, Documentación e Información Musical Carlos Chávez, in Mexico City. His articles and reviews appear in journals and dictionaries in the United States, Mexico, Spain, and Britain, such as the Journal of the American Musicological Society, American Music, Latin-American Music Review, Journal of the Royal Musical Association, Historia Mexicana, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, and Diccionario de la Música Española e Hispanoamericana.
Koegel holds degrees from Claremont Graduate University (Ph.D. Musicology), Cambridge University (M.Phil. Ethnomusicology), and California State University, Northridge (B.A. Music Education and Spanish). He has served as Book Review Editor for the Journal of the Society for American Music (2010-14), Member-at-large of the Board of Trustees of the Society for American Music (2013-16), Board Member for Musicology for the College Music Society (2011-13), and Member of the National Council of the American Musicological Society (2009-2011). Koegel was also a contributing editor for the Grove Dictionary of American Music, 2nd ed. (2013).
ANNIE GOSFIELD, whom the BBC called “A one woman Hadron collider,” lives in New York City and works on the boundaries between notated and improvised music, electronic and acoustic sounds, refined timbres and noise. Her music is often inspired by the inherent beauty of found sounds, noise, and machinery. She was dubbed “a master of musical feedback” by The New York Times, who wrote “Ms. Gosfield’s choice of sounds — which on this occasion included radio static, the signals transmitted by the Soviet satellite Sputnik I, and recordings of Hurricane Sandy — are never a mere gimmick. Her extraordinary command of texture and timbre means that whether she is working with a solo cello or with the ensemble she calls her “21st-century avant noisy dream band,” she is able to conjure up a palette of saturated and heady hues.”
In 2017 Gosfield collaborated with Yuval Sharon and the Los Angeles Philharmonic on the multi-site opera “War of the Worlds.” This large-scale, citywide collaborative performance was a powerful engagement with public life, bringing opera out of the concert hall and into the streets. Three defunct air raid sirens located in downtown Los Angeles were re-purposed into public speakers to broadcast a free, live performance from Walt Disney Concert Hall. The sirens also served as remote sites for singers and musicians to report back to the concert hall from the street. The notorious 1938 radio drama created by Orson Welles came to new life, directed by The Industry’s Yuval Sharon, conducted by Christopher Rountree and narrated by Sigourney Weaver. The New York Times wrote about “Gosfield’s thrilling chamber orchestra writing,” and Alex Ross selected it as a “Notable Performance of 2017”
Gosfield was a 2012 fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, the 2015 Fromm Composer in Residence at the American Academy in Rome, and the recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts’ “Grants to Artists” award. Most recently, she was awarded a 2017 Guggenheim fellowship in music composition. Other recent activities include two new works for orchestra in a residency sponsored by the League of American Orchestras, and a portrait concert featuring work about immigrant life at YIVO in New York City.
Gosfield has written a series of articles about the compositional process for The New York Times’ series “The Score.” She held the Darius Milhaud chair of composition at Mills College, and has taught at Princeton University and CalArts. Upcoming projects include a new Tzadik CD, a piece inspired by Diego Rivera’s “Detroit Industry” murals that will premiere under the murals themselves, premieres in Athens and New York, and a residency at The Stone at the New School, New York.
Composer and pianist, SEAN FRIAR (b. 1985) grew up in Los Angeles, where his first musical experiences were in rock and blues piano improvisation. While his focus soon shifted toward classical music, his composition has always kept in touch with the energy and communicative directness of those musical roots, now along with an expansive and exploratory classical sensibility that is “powerfully engaging and incredibly fun” (I Care if You Listen) and “refreshingly new and solidly mature… and doesn’t take on airs, but instead takes joy in the process of discovery – in the continual experience of suspense and surprise – that good classical music has always championed.” (Slate Magazine).
He thrives on composing for ensembles both within and outside the realm of traditional concert music, and his recent commissions run the gamut from works for orchestra and string quartet to a junk car percussion concerto and music for laptop orchestra. His music has been performed throughout the world by ensembles including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic Scharoun Ensemble (Germany), the American Composers Orchestra, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Alarm Will Sound, Argento Ensemble, So Percussion, Crash Ensemble (Ireland), Ensemble Klang(Netherlands), New York Youth Symphony, Alter Ego (Italy), Orkest de Ereprijs (Netherlands), Psappha (UK), Darmstadt Staatsorchester (Germany), ensemble Interface (Germany), Newspeak, Janus, Line C3 Percussion, Quintet of the Americas, Formalist Quartet, Matmos, members of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, and 4-time Grammy-winning percussionist, Glen Velez. Festivals featuring his music include Aspen, Bang on a Can, Bowdoin, Cabrillo, Carlsbad, Cresc. Biennal für Moderne Musike, GAUDEAMUS Muziekweek, International Young Composers Meeting, Klangspuren International Ensemble Modern Academy, La Pietra Forum for New Music, Norfolk, Nuova Consonanza, Nuovi Spazi Musicali, RadialSystem, SONiC, and the Venice Biennale.
The youngest winner of the Rome Prize in over 25 years, Friar’s honors include the Aaron Copland Award; a Fromm Foundation Commission; Charles Ives Scholarship; a Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Grant; four ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards; Lee Ettelson Award; First Music Award from the New York Youth Symphony; a CAP Grant and a MetLife Creative Connections Grant from New Music USA; Renee B. Fisher Award; as well as awards from eighth blackbird, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, SCI/ASCAP, and the Hawaii Institute of Contemporary Music.
Recordings of his music can be found on New Amsterdam Records (NOW Ensemble, Awake), Innova Recordings (Mariel Roberts, nonextraneous sounds), Darling Records (Darmstadt Staatsorchester, Soli fan tutti), TRANSIT’s self-released TRANSIT EP, and Crescent Phase Records (Madera Quintet, Five at Play.) Friar’s current projects include an album-length piece for NOW Ensemble, music for solo piano, and a microtonal piano duet for pianists Vicki Ray and Aron Kallay.
Friar is Assistant Professor of Practice in Composition at the USC Thornton School of Music. He previously taught composition at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. He received a Ph.D. and M.F.A. in Music Composition from Princeton University, where he held the Harold W. Dodds Honorific Fellowship and the Roger Sessions Fellowship. He graduated summa cum laude from UCLA in 2007 with B.A.’s in Music and Psychology. His principal teachers have been Steve Mackey, Paul Lansky, Dmitri Tymoczko, and Paul Chihara.