NJSO announces composers of the 2016 NJSO Edward T. Cone Composition Institute

May 10, 2016

James Anderson, Matthew Browne, Will Stackpole and Jung Yoon Wie selected from international applicant pool

  • Institute includes sessions with Institute Director Steven Mackey, conductor David Robertson, NJSO musicians and industry leaders
  • Presented in collaboration with the Princeton University Department of Music, generously funded in part by Edward T. Cone Foundation and Princeton University

July 11–16 at Princeton University

NEWARK, NJ (May 10, 2016)—The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra announces the four composers of the 2016 NJSO Edward T. Cone Composition Institute, a multi-faceted program that promotes new music and emerging composers. Selected from an international applicant pool of university composition students and composers in the early stages of their professional careers, this year’s composers are James Anderson, Matthew Browne, Will Stackpole and Jung Yoon Wie.

At the six-day Institute, to be held July 11–16 at Princeton University, the composers will participate in masterclasses with Institute Director Steven Mackey, have their work rehearsed and performed by the NJSO and receive feedback from guest conductor David Robertson and NJSO musicians. The Institute will also provide career-enriching sessions with music-industry leaders, including Boosey & Hawkes, Inc., New Music USA, Subito Music Corporation and WQXR’s online new-music station Q2 Music, as well as executive speech coach, author and Inc.com columnist Sims Wyeth. Robertson will conduct an NJSO concert featuring each Institute composer’s work, as well as Mackey’s Turn the Key, on July 16 at 8 pm at Richardson Auditorium.

Mackey says: “These four talented composers impressed us with their dynamic works and strong individual voices. The composers will receive invaluable workshop and rehearsal feedback with the NJSO and conductor David Robertson, whom we are thrilled to welcome to the Institute this summer. We are looking forward to sharing these compelling new works in concert. Taking a comprehensive view of the life of a composer, the Institute composers will also connect with industry leaders to learn more about the publishing, promotion and practical elements that are crucial for successful careers.”

The Institute is presented in collaboration with the Princeton University Department of Music and generously funded in part by the Edward T. Cone Foundation and Princeton University.


James Anderson: Places with Pillars

James Anderson is a composer in both acoustic and electroacoustic media, as well as a guitarist. He is pursuing a Master of Music in Composition at the University of Michigan, studying with Michael Daugherty and Evan Chambers. In 2014, he received a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition at Western Washington University, studying with Roger Briggs and Bruce Hamilton. His music has been featured in the 2014 Electroacoustic InterExchange in Seattle and the 2014 Midwest Composers Symposium. He also is involved with building community as a member of the University of Michigan residential staff. In his spare time, he enjoys kayaking and hiking through the Cascades.

Of the composition he will present at the Cone Institute, Anderson writes: “The title Places with Pillars does not necessarily refer to the physical pillars of the Parthenon or a courthouse edifice. There are also the pillars that people strive to build in their lives: pillars of material success and of social status, while others may cling to the pillars of established institutions and dogmas. Still others seek different ways to find meaning, looking out at the mountains or over the vast ocean, perhaps even withdrawing into the life of a recluse. This orchestral composition explores different aspects of our experiences with these multifaceted phenomena through a variety of musical means: imposing orchestral fanfares, blaring brass instruments, virtuosic timpani solos, an introverted passage for woodwinds and the searching voice of a solo violin.”


Matthew Browne: Farthest South

Composer Matthew Browne incorporates into his music such eclectic influences as the timbral imagination and playfulness of György Ligeti, the shocking and humorous eclecticism of Alfred Schnittke and the relentless rhythmic energy of Igor Stravinsky. His music has been called “compelling” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) and “beautifully crafted and considered” (What’s On London). The Burlington, Vermont, native has collaborated with the Minnesota Orchestra, Albany and Milwaukee symphonies, Alarm Will Sound, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, New England Philharmonic, PUBLIQuartet, SEVEN)SUNS and the Villiers, Donald Sinta and Tesla quartets.

His music has received honors such as an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award, BMI Student Composer Award and Special Distinction in the ASCAP Foundation Rudolf Nissim Prize; he won the New England Philharmonic Call for Scores and the American Viola Society’s Maurice Gardner Composition Award, and he has had residencies at the Mizzou International Composers Festival, Minnesota Orchestra Composers Institute and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s First Annual Composers Institute. He holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Music Composition from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Previous teachers include Michael Daugherty, Kristin Kuster, Carter Pann and Daniel Kellogg.

Browne writes of Farthest South: “This piece is one of a planned series of tone poems titled Cabinet of Curiosities, inspired by fantastical tales of curious natural specimens, archeological artifacts and unique artworks that may or may not have any basis in reality. The term farthest south refers to the most southerly latitudes reached by explorers during the so-called ‘Heroic Age’ of Antarctic Exploration prior to the conquest of the South Pole in 1911. Ernest Shackleton’s ‘Nimrod Expedition’ of 1907–09 reached a latitude of 88° 23’ S …

“What is largely unknown about this expedition, however, is the unusual encounter made by Shackleton and his company. While traversing atop Beardmore Glacier, a monumental discovery … they came into view of an awesome sight; an expansive and glorious field of curious glass structures, between four and 15 feet in height. They were immaculate, crystalline, impeccably smooth and laid out with meticulous and symmetrical coordination, reminiscent of the quiet solemnity of a cemetery. When the sunlight rose above the surrounding mountain ranges and hit these fantastic monuments, a brilliant diffusive gleam of light filled the glacial valley and illuminated everything it touched with the brightest white light imaginable … analysis shows that they have been sitting like this, unblemished, for the past 4,000 years. It is still unknown who built or arranged them.”


Will Stackpole: … Ask Questions Later

Originally from Goffstown, New Hampshire, Will Stackpole’s works have been played across the country. Stackpole began his musical career as an electric guitarist and recording engineer, primarily performing in rock bands in his home state and later in Hoboken, New Jersey. While attending Stevens Institute of Technology for his undergraduate studies, Stackpole began writing concert music and quickly developed a unique compositional voice. He spent the next two years studying composition with Justin Dello Joio while working in New York as a freelance composer and orchestrator for theater, film and television. Stackpole has since refocused his efforts on creating conceptually innovative concert music. His work is made up of an eclectic blend of styles and influences ranging across a wide spectrum, from opera to rock, from Miles Davis to Igor Stravinsky. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in composition at The Juilliard School in the studio of Robert Beaser.

Of … Ask Questions Later, Stackpole writes: “The first thing that I feel the need to explain about this piece is that the title is cynical. This piece is about gun violence and about the permanence of consequences. I debated internally for quite a while about whether or not this was my piece to write, or more accurately, whether it was appropriate for me to give voice to my own opinions on the subject in such a public way. This work is the manifestation of my own personal reactions to a seemingly unending stream of headlines in the summer of 2015, relaying the details of death after death after death of innocent people. This work explores the effects of violent choices. Once a dire action is taken, there is a short while when its consequences have not yet occurred but when those consequences become inevitable; when those involved become helpless to change the outcome of what is happening. … Ask Questions Later is an exploration of the brief moment of inevitability between an explosion and its impact. I do not presume to offer a solution for the current state of things, but I do hope to call further attention to an urgent problem that absolutely must be solved.”


Jung Yoon Wie: Water Prism for Orchestra

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Jung Yoon Wie’s works have been performed by leading ensembles in notable venues. Her chamber orchestra work Flying in Winter was performed by the Grammy Award-winning Cleveland Chamber Symphony in 2012. Her Chung-sung-gok for piano trio received an Honorable Mention at the 2012 International Sejong Music Composition Competition and was premiered at Charles E. Gamper Festival of Contemporary Music at the 2013 Bowdoin International Music Festival. Her choral work, How Beautiful is Night, was performed numerous times by the Wooster Chorus and Lisa Wong, Assistant Director of the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus. In 2015, Telephone, for string ensemble and percussion, was premiered by Avanti! String Ensemble and Magnus Lindberg in Helsinki, Finland.

An avid performer, she premiered her piano concerto, Jindo Arirang Concerto, with the Wooster Symphony Orchestra in 2014; the work received First Prize at the 2014 Ohio Federation of Music Clubs Collegiate Composers Competition and was a finalist at the 2014 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. In 2016, Wie performed the concerto again with the Wooster Symphony for the 100th-anniversary celebration of the orchestra at Symphony Space in New York City. Wie is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Michigan. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Composition/Theory under the guidance of Jack Gallagher at the College of Wooster.

Wie writes: “Water Prism for Orchestra is inspired by the phenomenon in which light passes through a prism, forming a rainbow. Prism separates white light and refracts it to form the colors of rainbow. This composition begins with short notes with simple harmonies, which become longer and longer in length and grow into more complex harmonies, as the light is separated into many different colors through the prism. Longer notes eventually evolve into melodies, creating the greatest color and brilliance.”

Additional information about the Institute is available at www.njsymphony.org/institute.



Steven Mackey, Institute Director and William Shubael Conant Professor of Music at Princeton University

Steven Mackey was born in 1956 to American parents stationed in Frankfurt, Germany. He is regarded as one of the leading composers of his generation and has composed for orchestra, chamber ensemble, dance and opera. His first musical passion was playing the electric guitar in rock bands based in northern California. He blazed a trail in the 1980s and 90s by including the electric guitar and vernacular music influence in his concert music, and he regularly performs his own works, including two electric guitar concertos and numerous solo and chamber works. He is also active as an improvising musician and performs with his band Big Farm.

Mackey’s music has been performed by leading musical institutions throughout the world, including the Los Angeles, BBC and New York philharmonics; San Francisco and Chicago symphonies; Philadelphia and Concertgebouw orchestras and Brentano, Kronos and Arditti string quartets, among others. He has received numerous awards, including a Grammy Award in 2012 for his album Lonely Motel: Music From Slide.


David Robertson, conductor

A consummate musician, masterful programmer and dynamic presence, American maestro David Robertson has established himself as one of today’s most sought-after conductors. A passionate and compelling communicator with an extensive orchestral and operatic repertoire, he has forged close relationships with major orchestras around the world through his exhilarating music-making and stimulating ideas. In fall 2015, Robertson launched his 11th season as music director of the 136-year-old St. Louis Symphony. In January 2014, Robertson assumed the post of chief conductor and artistic director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in Australia.

Born in Santa Monica, California, Robertson was educated at London’s Royal Academy of Music, where he studied horn and composition before turning to orchestral conducting. Robertson is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. He and his wife, pianist Orli Shaham, are parents of twin boys. Robertson also has two older sons.



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

Under the bold leadership of Music Director Jacques Lacombe, the NJSO presents classical, pops and family programs, as well as outdoor summer concerts and special events. Embracing its legacy as a statewide orchestra, the NJSO is the resident orchestra of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark and regularly performs at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, Count Basie Theatre 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 NJSO 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 performances and multiple offerings—including the NJSO Youth Orchestras family of student ensembles and El Sistema-inspired NJSO CHAMPS (Character, Achievement and Music Project)—that provide and promote instrumental instruction as part of the NJSO Academy. The NJSO’s REACH (Resources for Education and Community Harmony) chamber music program annually brings original programs—designed and performed by NJSO musicians—to a variety of settings, reaching as many as 17,000 people in nearly all of New Jersey’s 21 counties.

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

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’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.



Princeton University’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.



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