New Jersey Symphony Edward T. Cone Composition Institute

Announcing the 2022 Cone Institute Composers
Dai Wei, Jack Frerer, Baldwin Giang, Sophia Jani

The New Jersey Symphony announces the 2022 New Jersey Symphony Edward T. Cone Composition Institute composers and their winning works: Dai Wei (Samsāric Dance), Jack Frerer (Steep), Baldwin Giang (to remember is always forgetting) and Sophia Jani (What do flowers do at night?).

Chosen from more than 100 applicants, the four composers will participate in in-depth sessions with industry leaders at the multifaceted, tuition-free Institute. The program runs from July 17–23 in Princeton and closes with a Symphony concert performance of the participants’ works.

Celebrated composer Steven Mackey—a music professor and director of graduate studies in composition at Princeton University—is Institute director. Lauded conductor David Robertson, who served as music director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra for 13 years, returns to the Cone Institute in 2022. Robertson was previously Institute conductor in 2016 and 2018.

The Institute is designed to promote contemporary orchestral music by enhancing the careers of four emerging composers. Institute composers will hear their works in rehearsal and performance, participate in one-on-one and group coaching sessions with Mackey and Robertson, and receive musical and practical feedback from Symphony musicians. Career-development opportunities with industry leaders provide the composers with insight into how to get their music published and performed.

The New Jersey Symphony presents the participants’ works in concert on July 23 at 8 pm at Richardson Auditorium. Robertson conducts New Scores: The Cone Institute Concert, which also features a performance of Mackey’s Eating Greens. All tickets are $8 and are available at njsymphony.org/scores.

Concert Info & Tickets

About the 2022 Cone Institute Composers

Dai Wei

Dai Wei is originally from China. Her musical journey navigates in the spaces between east and west, classical and pop, electronic and acoustic, innovation and tradition. She often draws from eastern philosophy and aesthetics to create works with contemporary resonance, and reflect an introspection on how these multidimensional conflicts and tension can create and inhabit worlds of their own. Her artistry is nourished by the Asian and Chinese Ethnic cultures in many different ways. Being an experimental vocalist, she performs herself as a Khoomei throat singer in her recent compositions, through which are filtered by different experiences and backgrounds as a calling that transcends genres, races, and labels. Her work Samsāric Dance for orchestra and electronics was awarded CANOA Commission (Composing a New Orchestra Audience) from the American Composers Orchestra Underwood New Music Reading. Her newly composed orchestra Invisible Portals was conducted by Marin Alsop and premiered in Carnegie Hall in March 2022. Recently, Dai was featured in The Washington Post’s “22 for 22: Composers and Performers to Watch this year.” Dai has received commissions and performances by Utah Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Opéra Orchestre national Montpellier, the Philharmonia Orchestra, Aizuri String Quartet and Curtis Symphony Orchestra. During a centralized quarantine, her piece Song for Shades of Crimson for solo violin and electronics was premiered by violinist Todd Reynolds at Bang on a Can 2020 Marathon. Dai has collaborated with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia under the direction of Dirk Brossé for two consecutive years, where she performed herself as the vocalist and premiered at Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. She also served as young artist composer-in-residence at Music from Angel Fire and Com-poser Fellow at Intimacy of Creativity in Hong Kong. Her compositions have been featured in a variety of venues and festivals, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kimmel Center, Royal Festival Hall, New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, International Computer Music Conference, World Saxophone Congress and North American Saxophone Alliance. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in music composition at Princeton University as a Naumburg Fellow. She holds an artist diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music. After she finished her BA in music composition at the Xinghai Conservatory of Music in China, she came to the United States and earned an MM in music composition at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Jack Frerer

The “exuberant” and “delicious” (Boston Musical Intelligencer) music of Australian composer Jack Frerer has been performed across the US, Australia, Europe and Asia by ensembles including the Nashville Symphony, Albany Symphony, Arapahoe Philharmonic, Australian and Metropolitan Youth Orchestras, Decoda, Metropolis, Tanglewood Music Center and the wind ensembles of UT Austin, UNT and Cornell. Frerer is the recipient of a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Morton Gould Composers Award from ASCAP, the Suzanne and Lee Ettelson Composers Award and Brian Israel Prize from the Society for New Music, and the winner of both the Juilliard Orchestra and Gena Raps Chamber Music competitions. He was a Tanglewood composition fellow for 2019 and a composer for the New York City Ballet’s 2019 Choreographic Institute, and he is currently composer-in-residence with the Arapahoe Philharmonic.

Frerer studied with John Corigliano and Robert Beaser at The Juilliard School, where he now serves on the faculty of its Pre-College division, and is currently a graduate student at the Yale School of Music, where he studies with David Lang, Aaron Jay Kernis, Chris Theofanidis and Martin Bresnick.

Frerer is active as a film composer and producer, with recent projects including scores for Always Summer by Alexa Eve and dance films Virtuality by Maddie Hanson and Tour of a Reverie by Moscelyne ParkeHarrison. He served as recording engineer for the album Cityscapes by Shouthouse, released by New Amsterdam Records in 2019, and produced The Roof, a series of collaborative films and performances featuring NYC-based choreographers and performers.

Baldwin Giang

Baldwin Giang (b. 1992, Philadelphia) is a Chicago-based composer, pianist, multimedia artist and 2022 Gaudeamus Award Nominee. His work aims to empower communities of audiences and performers by creating concert experiences that are opportunities for collective wonder and judgment. Described as “taut and cohesive ... challenging and rewarding” (Cacophony), Giang’s music has been performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Symphony Center in Chicago and Chateau de Fontainebleau. He has received commissions from the National Sawdust Ensemble, Metropolis Ensemble, New York Youth Symphony, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Grossman Ensemble, Playground Ensemble, Fondation Maurice Ravel, Robert Black Foundation, Music in Bloom, How it’s Musically Made and Music from Copland House. Additional collaborators have included the Albany Symphony, Ensemble Intercontemporain, International Contemporary Ensemble, Argento Ensemble, orkest de ereprijs, Arditti Quartet, JACK quartet, Spektral Quartet, Curtis Symphony Orchestra, Yale Symphony Orchestra, University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, Indiana University New Music Ensemble, Rage Thormbones, Quince, Verdant Vibes, AEPEX Contemporary Performance and members of Ensemble Dal Niente and Mocrep.

The domestic and international festivals that have presented his work include: Yale in Norfolk’s New Music Workshop, CULTIVATE, June in Buffalo, New Music on the Point, Bang on a Can, NUNC!3, 24th Annual Young Composers' Meeting (Netherlands), Valencia International Performance Academy (Spain), highSCORE (Italy), Festival Contrasti (Italy), Ecole d’arts Americains de Fontainebleau (France), and Concours International de Piano d’Orléans (France). Baldwin has been awarded the Fondation Maurice Ravel’s Prix Ravel, Musica Prospettiva Competition’s First Prize, University of Pennsylvania’s David Halstead Prize, and Yale’s Beekman Cannon Friends and Abraham Beekman Cox Prizes.

Giang is a graduate of Yale University, earning a BA with honors in both music and political science, and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, earning an MA as a Regents Fellow. He is currently a PhD candidate and Division of Humanities fellow at the University of Chicago.

Sophia Jani

“Some of it reminds me of minimal music, the repetitions, the different layers that build up little by little, but she doesn’t hide behind them, she uses these techniques to express her own ideas. I find it wonderful how carefully she goes about it. When she’s onto an idea, she doesn’t just grab it, but approaches it carefully and gives the idea time to blossom.” – Tuula Simon, West German Radio 3, “3 of now”

Currently based in Berlin and Munich, Sophia Jani is a composer of contemporary classical and electronic music. Recent commissions include works for the Munich Symphony Orchestra, Yale Philharmonia, Bang on a Can Festival Fellows, Kontai Ensemble, Goldmund Quartet, Sirius Quartet, Omer Quartet and Dandelion Quintet, as well as soloists Jiji Kim, Teresa Allgaier and Eunbi Kim, among others.

A central aspect of her art is her love of collaborating with artists from other disciplines, which is evident in her contributions to prize-winning film, theater and dance productions. In February 2022, her debut album with chamber music works, Music as a mirror, was released through Berlin-based label Neue Meister.

Jani is passionate about building a strong, diverse, international community of artists that open-mindedly and responsibly addresses the challenges music, especially notated music, faces in the 21st century. Therefore, Jani is one of the founders and artistic directors behind “Feet become ears”: a brand-new concert series that will present and celebrate contemporary chamber music in eight concerts in Munich and Berlin starting in the 2022–23 season.

Jani is a recent graduate of the Yale School of Music (MM), where she studied with David Lang and Martin Bresnick, made possible through the generous support of the Fulbright Foundation. She holds a degree in film composition from the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich (BM), as well as a degree in economics from the University of Augsburg (BSc).

Learn More about the Institute

Institute Director Steven Mackey

Bright in coloring, ecstatic in inventiveness, lively and profound, Steven Mackey’s music spins the tendrils of his improvisatory riffs into large-scale works of grooving, dramatic coherence.

As a teenager growing up in Northern California obsessed with blues-rock guitar, Mackey was in search of the “right wrong notes,” those heart-wrenching moments that imbue the music with new, unexpected momentum. Today, his pieces play with that tension of being inside or outside of the harmony and flow forward shimmering with prismatic detail.

Signature early works merged his academic training with the free-spirited physicality of his mother-tongue rock guitar music: Troubadour Songs (1991) and Physical Property (1992) for string quartet and electric guitar; and Banana/Dump Truck (1995), an electrified-cello concerto. Later works explored his deepening fascination in transformation and movement of sound through time: Dreamhouse (2003), a rich work for voices and ensemble that was nominated for four Grammy awards; A Beautiful Passing (2008) for violin and orchestra on the passing of his mother; and Slide (2011), a Grammy Award-winning music theater piece.

Today, Mackey writes for chamber ensemble, orchestra, dance and opera—commissioned by the greatest orchestras around the world, and winner of several awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Kennedy Center Friedheim Award. He continues to explore an ever-widening world of timbres befitting a complex, 21st-century culture, while always striving to make music that unites the head and heart, that is visceral, that gets us moving.

Background

The New Jersey Symphony and Princeton University Department of Music are well positioned to provide emerging composers with a comprehensive Institute experience that will enhance their careers. Over years of reading sessions in which the New Jersey Symphony has played through orchestral works written by Princeton University Ph.D. composition candidates, the Orchestra and its musicians are experienced in mentoring and advising student composers. Through the New Jersey Symphony’s commitment to presenting new music, the Orchestra has performed works not only by the late Princeton University professor and composer Edward T. Cone, but also by composers who felt the impact of Cone’s legacy as a teacher.

Mackey—a lauded composer and William Schubael Conant Professor of Music at Princeton University—says: “The New Jersey Symphony has had a strong relationship with Princeton University composers for years, and we are excited to again partner with the Orchestra for this immersive composition institute. This program fosters emerging composing talent by preparing composers for both the creative and practical elements of composing works for orchestra.”

By the end of the Institute, participants will have gained invaluable musical and practical feedback about writing for orchestra through real-time interactions with Mackey, the guest conductor and New Jersey Symphony musicians, as well as advice from decision makers in the industry about how to get their music published and performed.

About the Organizations

Princeton University Department of Music

Princeton’s Department of Music is at the epicenter of a musical culture that is broad and deep, reaching from edge to edge of the campus, from the classroom to the concert hall, into the community and from faculty-led groups to those run exclusively by students.

New Jersey Symphony

Named “a vital, artistically significant musical organization” by The Wall Street Journal, the New Jersey Symphony embodies that vitality through its statewide presence and critically acclaimed performances, education partnerships and unparalleled access to music and the Orchestra’s superb musicians.

Music Director Xian Zhang—a “dynamic podium presence” The New York Times has praised for her “technical abilities, musicianship and maturity”—continues her acclaimed leadership of the New Jersey Symphony. The Orchestra presents classical, pops and family programs, as well as outdoor summer concerts and special events. Embracing its legacy as a statewide orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony is the resident orchestra of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark and regularly performs at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick, Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, Richardson Auditorium in Princeton, Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown and bergenPAC in Englewood. Partnerships with New Jersey arts organizations, universities and civic organizations remain a key element of the Orchestra’s statewide identity.

In addition to its lauded artistic programming, the New Jersey Symphony presents a suite of education and community engagement programs that promote meaningful, lifelong engagement with live music. Programs include school-time Concerts for Young People, and New Jersey Symphony Youth Orchestras family of student ensembles, led by José Luis Domínguez. New Jersey Symphony musicians annually perform original chamber music programs at community events in a variety of settings statewide through the New Jersey Symphony Community Partners program.

For more information about the New Jersey Symphony, visit njsymphony.org or email information@njsymphony.org. Tickets are available for purchase by phone at 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476) or on the Orchestra’s website.

The New Jersey Symphony’s programs are made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, along with many other foundations, corporations and individual donors.

Cone Institute 2021

The 2021 Cone Institute composers were Elise Aranco with her work Wake, Kevin Day with his work Tango Oscuro, Erin Graham with her work Increase and Jared Miller with his work Under Sea, Above Sky. View concert and composer information.

Listen to the full broadcast.

Cone Institute 2019

The 2019 Institute composers included Dan Caputo with his work Liminal, Patrick O’Malley with his work Rest and Restless, Iván Enrique Rodríguez with his work A Metaphor for Power and Bora Yoon with her work The Encyclopedia of Winds. View concert and composer information.

Listen to the WWFM broadcast.

Cone Institute 2018

The 2018 Cone Institute composers were Jonathan Cziner with his work Resonant Bells, Natalie Dietterich with her work Aeolian Dust, Aaron Hendrix with his work Night Train and Brian Shank with his work Into the Rose Garden. View concert and composer information.

Listen to the WWFM broadcast.

Princeton Department of Music.jpg

The Symphony presents the Institute in collaboration with Princeton University Department of Music.

Major underwriting support for the New Jersey Symphony Edward T. Cone Composition Institute is generously provided by the Edward T. Cone Foundation and Princeton University.