Chamber Music America (CMA) has been a stalwart supporter of new music since the inception of the organization. While offering grants for recording projects, new commissions, and other initiatives, CMA offers resources and networking opportunities that foster the development of chamber music groups across the country.
Chamber Music America recently announced the recipients of its 2016 commissioning program, comprising grants for new works that total $483,000. Two chamber groups receiving commissioning money have connections with SFCM: the Thalea String Quartet (SFCM's quartet-in-residence) and the reed quintet Splinter Reeds.
The Thalea String Quartet has received funds to commission New York City-based composer Vincent Calianno. "Vin is a good friend of [Thalea member] Luis [Bellorin] and is a bit of a rising star in New York having recently won a number of awards from ASCAP," says violinist Christopher Whitley. "We were particularly drawn to Vin's work because of his sense of humor (titles of his works include The Facts and Dreams of the World According to Michael Jackson) and his ability to bring together radically different musical influences into his works.
"The piece that Vin is composing for the Thalea Quartet has been tentatively titled on the Horse Latitudes and it will be a piece for string quartet, video playback, and three-channel soundtrack. The piece will be an exciting blend of instrumental music, electronic music, and live video (created by Vin). It's very exciting for us to be involved in a project like this; multimedia works offer a unique challenge for the performer and a particularly immersive viewing experience for the audience."
The grant given to Splinter Reeds, a group that includes SFCM alumnus and faculty member Jeff Anderle, will go towards the commission of a new work by Sky Macklay. "We know and enjoy her music for other ensembles, and our bassoonist, Dana Jessen, has worked with her in the past," comments Anderle. "She's an oboist as well, and it's always fun to have reed players write for us."
"This piece is...a natural outgrowth of my creative fascination with perception of cadence, stability, and harmonic hierarchy in contemporary experimental music," says Macklay. "I am inspired by the work of Splinter Reeds as a group and as improvising individuals and I plan to capture the wide-ranging timbres of their individual improvisational personalities in this fully notated piece."
Click here to view the full list of CMA grant recipients.