Recent Press Releases
BNMI tenth season continues with relationship-themed new music on February 16
Boston, MA - January 31, 2018
The Boston New Music Initiative, Inc. (BNMI) dashes into the second half of its 10th season with a concert, titled ‘<3’ on February 16. In keeping with the theme of Valentine’s Day, ‘<3’ includes a program of songs inspired by the concept that relationships of all types are powerful forces in our lives. The concert will be performed at Third Life Studios at 33 Union Square in Somerville, MA, and will feature new works of music from composers around the world.
The concert will be performed by the Boston New Music Initiative core ensemble and Guest Artists, including bassoonists Grant Bingham and Katie Noe, saxophonist Dennis Shafer, pianist Amy Lee, and Felicia Chen, a dynamic vocalist with a fearless approach toward the interpretation of new works. Felicia employs a wide arsenal of extended techniques ranging from vocal percussion to multiphonic singing.
Included in the program will be work by composers new to BNMI including Aaron Alter, whose Solar Rays was conceived as a jazz song, but later re-imagined as a classical piano trio, with the violin part taking the role of the singer.
Lonnie Hevia is a composer whose work has been previously been performed by the ensemble. His piece, Invocation, is written for unaccompanied violin, and is a sister piece to his earlier work for unaccompanied cello, Nefarious. The newer work is a prayer for absolution-a desperate cry for help from above.
“We are very excited to present this collection of works which will showcase many unusual relationships, and hopefully inspire the audience to see the many relationships in their lives in a new and different way,” said Beth Ratay, BNMI Artistic Director.
Bahar Royaee is an award-winning composer born and raised in Iran. Her work has been praised for its ‘haunting sound design’, with their mixture of timbral and sound-based atmospheric structures, with lyrical influences derived from the Iranian lullabies of her childhood. Her work for soprano and live electronics, Kitchen, portrays these attributes perfectly.
Award-winning composer and pianist Tianyi Wang writes solo, chamber, choral, orchestral, electronic, as well as film scores. His Song of Normality involves unconventional elements, and uses the flute as a companion and extension of the human voice, with pitch fluctuations, air noises, syllables that articulate musical notes, and the most primitive form of human singing and shouting.
Celka Ilona Ojakangas’ Gersh(win or lose) is a playful banter between alto saxophone and bassoon that warps the archetypal clarinet and brass lines from Rhapsody in Blue. The work evokes a conversation between the two instruments that combines the tension of argument with the enjoyment of improvisation.
Yellow, by boston-based Martin Kenealy, is a cello duet that tells the story of the schism that colors the relationship between two people, driven by betrayal, often associated with the color yellow. The work begins in harmony, but quickly devolves into dissonance until only one is left repeating the opening motive, alone.
Boston composer Clifton Ingram’s piece, Alas, departynge ys ground of woo takes as its source material an eponymous song from the Bodleian Library's MS Ashmole 191. His music evokes the ‘unreliable narrator’, with musical and extra-musical elements such as hidden objects, delicate obstinance, self-devouring ornamentation. In Alas, the original counterpoint has been layered upon itself again and again, to reduce a sense of history.
Agoraphobia is Boston composer and bassoonist Grant Bingham’s piece based on the anxiety disorder that causes people to fear situations where they might feel trapped, helpless, or embarrassed. In this composition, the clarinet and bassoon represent the victim and agoraphobia, respectively, where the victim’s everyday life is disrupted by the other.
The award-winning Chiayu Hsu’s work has been performed by symphony orchestras around the world. Her composition, Zhi, is about the concept of interlacing textures to form a design, that can take on different characteristics depending on the viewing angle. In this piece, violin and piano weave relatively simple motifs that intertwine to create complex inflections.
Eric Paul Mandat has performed as a clarinetist with numerous orchestras, and includes techniques such as multiphonics and microtones in his compositions. The effects explore the limits of the instrument in ways that are startling and eerie. Ritual takes experimentation to another level, requiring choreography where each player presses keys on the other player’s instrument, among other on-stage instructions.
Montreal-based composer Jérémie Jones has toured around the world, and is constantly exploring new music composition techniques, at the meeting point of acoustic and electronic music. His piece, Talking To Myselves is an interaction between a soprano saxophonist and recorded samples of microtonal improvisations, in a pattern that allows space for a conversation.
‘<3’ is on Saturday, February 16, at 7:30pm, at Third Life Studio at 33 Union Square in Somerville. The studio is a perfect venue for ‘<3’, for its reputation as a center for creativity and spirit, for many who perform, teach, guide, quest, and heal.
About the Third Life Studio
From Middle Eastern Belly Dance to Japanese Taiko Drumming, Argentine Tango to West African drumming, and Balkan singing to the contemporary improvisational frontier, Third Life Studio is available to rent for concerts, performances, classes, workshops, rehearsals, recording sessions, video shoots, private lessons and special events.
To learn more about Third Life Studio, visit Third Life Studios at 33 Union Square in Somerville. The studio is a perfect venue for ‘<3’, for its reputation as a center for creativity and spirit, for many who perform, teach, guide, quest, and heal.
The Boston New Music Initiative, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining an international network of composers, performers, conductors, directors, and champions of music in order to generate new music concerts, compositions, collaborations, and commissions. Incorporated in 2010, the organization aims to advance the careers of its members in the field of new music by serving as a resource for networking, professional development, commissioning, collaboration, and programming. With the Boston region as its center, BNMI continually seeks new ways to engage the community and promote the music of our time.
Winning work from BNMI’s 2018 Young Composers Competition is planned for October concert
Boston, MA - October 5, 2018
The Boston New Music Initiative, Inc. (BNMI) announces the winner of its 4th Annual Young Composers Competition, Cheng Jin Koh, for her work Kuda Kepang. The piece will be performed at the organization’s upcoming October 12 concert, The Beauty of the Night at The Arts at the Armory in Somerville.
Cheng Jin is a Singaporean composer studying Music Composition at The Juilliard School. She plays violin, viola, piano, yang qin, and the nanyin (southern) pipa. Her work combines early styles of play and techniques, with melodies and tonal structures that explore the limits of the instruments and vocal performance. She is a fan of every style of music, ranging from classical to modern experimental, as well as pop, rock, and jazz, reaching well beyond western styles into Chinese, Indian, Malay, Celtic, and Hungarian folk.
"We are very excited to present Ms. Koh’s work which incorporates elements of Javanese ritual music with western music." said Beth Ratay, BNMI Artistic Director.
The composer was recognized as one of four 2016 new artists by Zaobao Singapore, and has been highly acclaimed for her debut. She written works for the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO), Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO), Hong Kong Music For Our Young Foundation, T’ang Quartet, School of the Arts Singapore (SOTA) Chinese Music Ensemble, Juilliard’s Azure Quartet, The TENG Company, and other ensembles.
"I really did not expect it...I am so fortunate and honoured to be selected! The BNMI Ensemble is such a fantastic group and I am looking forward to their performance of Kuda Kepang, a work with Malay elements that represent my cultural identity as a Singaporean," said winning composer Cheng Jin Koh.
Cheng Jin was also lauded for her mastery of the Yang Qin, a dulcimer played with bamboo beaters with leather heads, winning first prize in the Singapore National Chinese Music Competition Youth and Open categories in 2012 and 2014. She has also appeared as a soloist with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, the Hsinghai Art Association Chinese Orchestra and the Ding Yi Music Company in Singapore.
In addition to her music, Cheng Jin pursues a passion for philanthropy, performing on the violin as part of the Hong Kong Music For Our Young and the Purple Symphony in Singapore. These organizations both empower people that are disadvantaged or have special needs. She is also the recipient of 2018 - 2019 Juilliard's Gluck Community Fellowship.
Her winning piece, Kuda Kepang, will be performed during the The Beauty of the Night concert on October 12, 2018, at Arts at the Armory in Somerville, MA
About Cheng Jin Koh
Cheng Jin Koh graduated from School of the Arts Singapore in 2014 with the International Baccalaureate Diploma as a major in Yang Qin. Her Yang Qin teachers include Miss Seah Poh Chun and Miss Qu Jian Qing, and she studied Composition with Dr. Kelly Tang. She is currently purposing music composition with Dr. Robert Beaser at The Juilliard School, generously sponsored by Singapore’s Loke Cheng Kim Foundation.
BNMI and Cambridge Chamber Singers collaborate on new work for a future concert
Boston, MA - September 13, 2018
The Boston New Music Initiative, Inc. (BNMI) announces its seventh annual Commissioning Competition, to promote the creation of new music and connect audiences in Greater Boston with the latest music for voice.The competition is held in collaboration with the Cambridge Chamber Singers (CCS), which is now in its 37th season of offering exciting and eclectic concert programs.
"We are excited about our collaboration with the Cambridge Chamber Singers, because of its history of sponsoring and promoting masterful works of choral music for new music listeners in Boston," said Beth Ratay, BNMI Artistic Director. "The competition is essential because of potential for unique interplay between the human voice and the instrumental ensemble."
Under Musical Director Dr. Raymond Fahrner, CCS seeks out innovative programming and creative collaborations. The ensemble has given forty world premieres and over 100 American premieres, including works by Gyorgy Ligety. Recent repertoire has included Tallis’s 40-part Spem in Alium, and works by Britten, Pizzetti, Ned Rorem and Cipriano da Rore.
"This is an incredible opportunity for CCS, for BNMI, and for the winning composer," said Dr. Fahrner. "We are happy to support the creation of a new work of such significance!"
Composers taking part in the competition are invited and encouraged to demonstrate the ability to write for both voice and instruments, and may enter more than one work if one is for voice, with the other for instrumental composition. The commissioned work will not involve electronics, although the competition though the will not. Composers are encouraged to show their ability to write for the BNMI core ensemble (fl, cl, vn, vc, pf, perc) and the Cambridge Chamber Singers.
The winner will be awarded a grand prize of at least $1,350 USD, in addition to being engaged to compose one new 8 minute acoustic work for joint performance by The Boston New Music Initiative and the Cambridge Chamber Singers in a future concert season. The winner of the 2017 competition, Charles Peck, received a $1,000 prize and had his new work, Kindling, premiered on BNMI’s April 2018 concert, conducted by Yuga Cohler.
Composers currently or formerly on the staff of The Boston New Music Initiative or the Cambridge Chamber Singers, and past commission winners, are ineligible to apply.
About Cambridge Chamber Singers
CCS offers exciting and eclectic concert programs to connect audiences in Greater Boston with the best in choral music, from traditional masters to talented new composers. Under Musical Director Dr. Raymond Fahrner, CCS seeks out innovative programming and creative collaborations.
CCS is organized under IR Code 501(c)(3) and gifts are tax-deductible as provided by law. Visit https://cambridgechambersingers.org.
Ng brings passion for new music and extensive experience partnering with composers
Boston, MA - May 23, 2018
The Boston New Music Initiative, Inc. (BNMI) announces that Tianhui Ng has accepted the position of Resident Conductor starting with the 2018-2019 season, the organization's tenth series of concerts dedicated to the presentation and promotion of new music. Mr. Ng brings extensive experience nurturing new composers, and has pursued a career in leadership that highlights his passion for contemporary music and live performance.
"I think my creative practice, inquisitive nature and collaborative approach will be a great fit with the BNMI." said Tianhui Ng, BNMI's new Resident Conductor. "I take great joy in helping new composers realize their vision, and I intend to bring my pedagogical experience to the organization."
As Director of Orchestral Studies at Mount Holyoke College, Mr. Ng has built a commissioning program that continues to discover outstanding works by new composers, as well as those from under-represented communities. His ongoing explorations include works that are interdisciplinary in nature, in synchrony with dance, film, theatre and art. He has presented numerous premieres of new music for orchestral, choral and operatic formats, and the Mount Holyoke Symphony Orchestra has twice been acknowledged by the American Prize for its innovative programming.
"BNMI first worked with Mr. Ng for our 2017 fall collaboration with Boston Opera Collaborative. It was clear to us then that his outstanding musical skills, passion for new music, and interest in interdisciplinary programming complements the goals of our organization. We are very excited that he will be joining the us on a more permanent basis." said Beth Ratay, BNMI Artistic Director.
Mr. Ng has participated in numerous international new music forums, including Manifeste in France, Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Italy and the International Bartok Festival in Hungary. He was a founding member of the Composers’ Association of Singapore, and set up one of the first new music ensembles in Singapore, called Magnetic Band. Tianhui Ng received his Masters in Choral Conducting from Yale, and in addition to conducting the orchestra at Mount Holyoke College, assists Kevin Rhodes at the Springfield Symphony, and has held academic positions at Mount Holyoke College, UMass Amherst, Haverford College and Bryn Mawr College.
BNMI’s 2018-2019 concert series will include new compositions for string quartet
Boston, MA - April 17, 2018
The Boston New Music Initiative, Inc. (BNMI) announces its Call for Scores for new music compositions for the upcoming 2018-2019 concert season. The theme of BNMI's Tenth Season is “The Beauty of the Line” and will include works to be performed in collaboration with an established guest string quartet during its 2018 fall concert.
"We have received many interesting string quartet submissions over the years, but have been unable to program them regularly because the repertoire really calls for an established group that plays together frequently. We are really excited to be collaborating with one of these groups in order to present interesting and challenging new works for string quartet." said Beth Ratay, BNMI Artistic Director.
The call for scores is open until April 30, 2018, and will accept works in two categories: string quartet and pierrot ensemble. BNMI will program the concert to include works for the quartet and its core ensemble, which includes Flute (doubling Piccolo, Alto Flute or Bass Flute), Clarinet in B-flat (doubling Clarinet in A, or Bass Clarinet in B-flat), Violin, Violoncello, Piano and Percussion. The call is open for acoustic, electro-acoustic, and multimedia works. The competition is open to all composers with no restrictions. BNMI and the guest quartet will choose at least one work per category to be performed.
Composers wishing to submit scores must become members of BNMI; Associate Membership is free and Full Membership is $20 a year. More detail on the submission of works to the Call for Scores and BNMI membership are found at www.bostonnewmusic.org/submit.