The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Public Radio, and American Composers Forum announce new UBS Forum series, to debut September 2012

Composer Conversation Series’ inaugural season will feature world-renowned music makers John Luther Adams, Laurie Anderson, Nicola Campogrande, Shawn Jaeger and Maria Schneider

For Immediate ReleaseContact: Kelly Belich 651-292-3239

SAINT PAUL, MN, August 20, 2012 -The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO), Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), and American Composers Forum (ACF) are pleased to announce the inaugural season of the Composer Conversation Series, events of which will take place at MPR’s UBS Forum September 2012 through May 2013. A co-presentation of the SPCO, MPR and ACF, the Composer Conversation Series will be hosted by Classical MPR program director Daniel Gilliam and feature some of today’s most original, prominent, and prestigious voices in composition. The 2012/13 season will feature live interviews with distinctive creators John Luther Adams, Laurie Anderson, Nicola Campogrande, Shawn Jaeger, Maria Schneider, and one additional composer to be announced at a later date. The events will include time devoted for audience Q&A and informal pre- and post-show receptions. 

“Creating as many opportunities as possible for audiences to engage with composers adds a vital dimension to SPCO’s advocacy of contemporary music,” said SPCO Senior Director of Artistic Planning Patrick Castillo, “and having such committed accomplices as MPR and ACF goes a long way towards impressing the value of this art form to as broad a range of listeners as possible.”

ACF President and CEO John Nuechterlein added, “The creative process of composers today varies widely, and this extraordinary group of artists will no doubt broaden our view of what it means to be a composer in the early 21st century.”

Composer Conversation Series events are free but reservations are required (tickets available approximately one month prior to each event; dates listed below). Details at The UBS Forum is located at 480 Cedar Street at MPR Headquarters. The interviews will also be available online in their entirety following the live events.

Inaugural season schedule of events
Maria Schneider
Friday, September 28 at 2pm

“To call Schneider the most important woman in jazz is missing the point… She is a major composer–period.” –Time Magazine

Tickets available Monday, August 27

Laurie Anderson
Presented in partnership with the Walker Art Center and SPCO’s Liquid Music series
Tuesday, November 1 at 7pm

"Laurie Anderson is the most stimulating female artist on the planet...pushing the barriers but always supremely musical, Anderson is manna for the heart, soul and mind." – Mojo

Tickets available August 27 for MPR, SPCO, ACF and Walker Art Center members; October 1 for non-members

Nicola Campogrande
Tuesday, November 13 at 7pm

“One of the most interesting Italian composers of the young generation” –

Tickets available Monday, October 8

John Luther Adams
Tuesday, April 16 at 7pm

"One of the most original musical thinkers of the new century" – Alex Ross, The New Yorker

Tickets available Monday, March 11

Shawn Jaeger
Wednesday, May 29 at 7pm

“[Jaeger creates] spare, enigmatic melodies that leap and ooze unpredictably... you sense the entire audience holding its breath in wonder.” – The New York Times

Tickets available Monday, April 29

Stay tuned: one additional composer will be announced at a later date.

Called "one of the most original musical thinkers of the new century" (Alex Ross, The New Yorker), John Luther Adams is a composer whose life and work are deeply rooted in the natural world. Adams composes for orchestra, chamber ensembles, percussion and electronic media, and his music is recorded on Cold Blue, New World, Mode, Cantaloupe and New Albion. A recipient of the Heinz Award for his contributions to raising environmental awareness, Adams has also been honored with the Nemmers Prize from Northwestern University "for melding the physical and musical worlds into a unique artistic vision that transcends stylistic boundaries." Adams' music is heard regularly all over the world. The Chicago Symphony, the Radio Netherlands Philharmonic, and the Melbourne Symphony have performed his Dark Waves for large orchestra and electronic sounds. Inuksuit for up to ninety-nine percussionists has been performed in New York City's Morningside Park and at the Park Avenue Armory, as well as many other outdoor venues throughout the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Adams is the author of Winter Music (2004), a collection of essays, journal entries and reflections on his life and work in Alaska. The subject of his second book is The Place Where You Go to Listen (2009) his installation at the Museum of the North that translates geophysical data streams into an ever-changing environment of sound and light. The Farthest Place (2012), a book-length critical study of Adams' music, includes essays by Kyle Gann, Steven Schick, Glenn Kotche and many other prominent musicians and scholars. Adams has taught at Harvard University, the Oberlin Conservatory, Bennington College, and the University of Alaska. He has been composer in residence with the Anchorage Symphony, Anchorage Opera, Fairbanks Symphony, Arctic Chamber Orchestra, and the Alaska Public Radio Network, and he has served as president of the American Music Center. Born in 1953, Adams grew up in the South and in the suburbs of New York City. He studied composition with James Tenney and Leonard Stein at the California Institute of the Arts, where he was in the first graduating class (in 1973). In the mid-1970s he became active in the campaign for the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, and subsequently served as executive director of the Northern Alaska Environmental Center.

Laurie Anderson is one of America’s most renowned – and daring – creative pioneers. Known primarily for her multimedia presentations, she has cast herself in roles as varied as visual artist, composer, poet, photographer, filmmaker, electronics whiz, vocalist, and instrumentalist. O Superman launched Anderson’s recording career in 1980, rising to number two on the British pop charts and subsequently appearing on Big Science, the first of her seven albums on the Warner Brothers label. Other record releases include Mister Heartbreak, United States Live, Strange Angels, Bright Red, and the soundtrack to her feature film Home of the Brave. A deluxe box set of her Warner Brothers output, Talk Normal, was released in the fall of 2000 on Rhino/Warner Archives. In 2001, Anderson released her first record for Nonesuch Records, entitled Life on a String, which was followed by Live in New York, recorded at Town Hall in New York City in September 2001, and released in May 2002. Anderson has toured the United States and internationally numerous times with shows ranging from simple spoken word performances to elaborate multimedia events. Major works include United States I-V (1983), Empty Places (1990), The Nerve Bible (1995), and Songs and Stories for Moby Dick, a multimedia stage performance based on the novel by Herman Melville. Songs and Stories for Moby Dick toured internationally throughout 1999 and 2000. In the fall of 2001, Anderson toured the United States and Europe with a band, performing music from Life on a String. She has also presented many solo works, including Happiness, which premiered in 2001 and toured internationally through Spring 2003. Recognized worldwide as a groundbreaking leader in the use of technology in the arts, Anderson collaborated with Interval Research Corporation, a research and development laboratory founded by Paul Allen and David Liddle, in the exploration of new creative tools, including the Talking Stick. She created the introduction sequence for the first segment of the PBS special Art 21, a series about Art in the 21st century. Her awards include the 2001 Tenco Prize for Songwriting in San Remo, Italy and the 2001 Deutsche Schallplatten prize for Life On A String as well as grants from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She recently collaborated with Bran Ferren of Applied Minds, Inc to create an artwork to be displayed in “The Third Mind” exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in Winter 2009. In 2002, Anderson was appointed the first artist-in-residence of NASA out of which she developed her solo performance “The End of the Moon” which premiered in 2004 and toured internationally through 2006. Other recent projects include a commission to create a series of audio-visual installations and a high definition film, Hidden Inside Mountains, for the World Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan and an audio journal and accompanying book for French radio called “Nothing in my Pockets”. Her score for Trisha Brown’s acclaimed piece “O Composite” premiered at the Opera Garnier in Paris in December 2004. Anderson was also part of the team that created the opening ceremony for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. In 2007 she received the prestigious Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize for her outstanding contribution to the arts. Anderson’s newest solo performance, “Delusion,” debuted at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in early 2010 and tour internationally. Anderson lives in New York City.

Nicola Campogrande, born in Turin in 1969, is regarded as “one of the most interesting Italian composers of the young generation” ( Able to connect the past and the present in a fascinating new way, he has developed a personal style that is considered absolutely original. Musicians like Gautier Capuçon, Mario Brunello, Robert Cohen, Lilya Zilberstein, and Paul Daniel have said that they appreciate the freshness and the vitality of his music, as well as his ability to touch the hearts of listeners. A musical theater enthusiast, he wrote the operas Opera italiana, Macchinario, Lego, and Alianti, bringing together the lyrical tradition, the most interesting experiences coming from old avant-gardes, and some atmospheres related to jazz and rock. He has also developed a rich orchestral and chamber catalog. His music has been recorded on twenty-nine CDs (from Decca to independent labels) and is published by Universal and Ricordi. In more than sixty performances every year, Nicola Campogrande’s music is regularly played in the most important halls throughout the world (Europe, the United States, South America, China, Australia). He is also the Artistic Director of the Orchestra Filarmonica di Torino and one of the hosts of national Italian radio, RAI Radio 3.

Daniel Gilliam (host) is a composer of art songs, choral, orchestra, and chamber music. His works have been commissioned and performed by City Center Opera Theater, Arsenal Trio, The Phoenix Concerts and The Seasons Music Festival the Louisville Youth Choir, Turin Philharmonic Orchestra and Central Presbyterian Church (Louisville). Gilliam is the Program Director of Classical Minnesota Public Radio, and originally from Louisville, Kentucky.

Shawn Jaeger was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1985. His music, described as “introspective, mournful [...] evocative” by The New York Times draws inspiration from Appalachian ballad singing and Old Regular Baptist hymnody. Honors include an ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composers Award, the Northwestern University M. William Karlins and William T. Faricy Awards, and two BMI Student Composer Awards. His works have been performed by the JACK Quartet, Ensemble Dal Niente, the Northwestern University Contemporary Music Ensemble, and Duo Borealis at venues including Zankel Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, the Chicago Cultural Center, and on radio station WUOL. In 2010, Jaeger received a commission from Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute as part of a Professional Training Workshop led by soprano Dawn Upshaw and composer Donnacha Dennehy. Currently, Jaeger is a doctoral candidate at Northwestern University, having previously received a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan. He lives in the Hudson River Valley with his wife, soprano Lucy Dhegrae.

Maria Schneider’s music has been hailed by critics as “evocative, majestic, magical, heart-stoppingly gorgeous, and beyond categorization.” She and her orchestra became widely known starting in 1994 when they released their first recording, “Evanescence”. With that recording, Schneider began to develop her personal way of writing for her 17-member collective, tailoring her compositions to distinctly highlight the unique voices of the group. Subsequently, the Maria Schneider Orchestra has performed at festivals and concert halls worldwide. She herself has received numerous commissions and guest conducting invites, working with over 85 groups from over 30 countries spanning Europe, South America, Australia, Asia and North America. Schneider’s music blurs the lines between genres, and as a result, her long list of commissioners have slowly become quite varied. They include: the Norrbotten Big Band and Danish Radio Orchestra with Toots Thielemans and Ivan Lins, the Metropole Orchestra in the Netherlands (several works), Orchestra National de Jazz (Recapitulaion), Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra (El Viento), Monterey Jazz Festival (Scenes from Childhood, Willow Lake), The American Dance Festival (for dance company, Pilobolus - Dissolution), University of Miami Concert Jazz Band (Three Romances), Hunter College (Concert in the Garden, Sky Blue), Jazz at Lincoln Center (Buleria, Soleá y Rumba), Los Angeles Philharmonic Association (Aires de Lando), Peter Sellars’ New Crowned Hope Festival (Vienna’s Mozart Festival–Cerulean Skies), Kronos Quartet (String Quartet No. 1) and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra with soprano, Dawn Upshaw (Carlos Drummond de Andrade Stories), a work that had its New York premiere May 2011 at Carnegie Hall conducted by Schneider. Schneider’s most recent work (premiered June 12th, 2011), co-commissioned by the Ojai Festival, The Australian Chamber Orchestra and Cal Performances, blurred boundaries further as it featured the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Dawn Upshaw, and three musicians long associated with Schneider’s own orchestra: pianist, Frank Kimbrough, bassist, Jay Anderson, and multi-instrumentalist, Scott Robinson. For this work, she incorporated poems by poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner, Ted Kooser, from his book, Winter Morning Walks. Schneider and her orchestra have a distinguished recording career with nine Grammy nominations and two Grammy awards. Concert in the Garden (Best Large Ensemble Album), released only through her ArtistShare® website, became historic as the first record to win a Grammy with Internet-only sales. The second Grammy was awarded for Maria’s composition, Cerulean Skies (Best Instrumental Composition). Unique funding of projects has continued for Schneider, as she has recently composed two works for her own orchestra with the involvement of commissioners, not from arts organizations, but directly from her ArtistShare fan base. For these projects, she documented her process of creating the two new works for participating fans. The commissioners are, Christophe Asselineau (The Thompson Fields), and Bill and Carol Bloemer, Justin Freed, Paul James and John Koerber (Lembrança).  Concert in the Garden and her orchestra’s latest album, Sky Blue (on which Cerulean Skies was recorded) were both named “Jazz Album of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association and the DOWNBEAT Critics Poll.

Presenting partners
The American Composers Forum enriches lives by nurturing the creative spirit of composers and communities by providing opportunities for composers and their music to flourish, and engage communities in the creation, performance and enjoyment of music. For more information visit

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The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, beginning its 54th season in September 2012, is widely regarded as one of the finest chamber orchestras in the world. In collaboration with five artistic partners – Roberto Abbado, Edo de Waart, Dawn Upshaw, Christian Zacharias and Thomas Zehetmair – the 34 virtuoso musicians present more than 130 concerts and educational programs each year, and are regularly heard on public radio’s Performance Today which reaches 1.3 million listeners each week on 256 stations, and SymphonyCast reaching 335,000 listeners each week on 126 stations nationwide. The SPCO has released 67 recordings, commissioned 131 new works, and performed the world premiere of 49 additional compositions. The SPCO has earned the distinction of 16 ASCAP awards for adventurous programming. Renowned for its artistic excellence and remarkable versatility of musical styles, the SPCO tours nationally and internationally, including performances in premier venues in Europe, Asia and South America. Launched in 1995, the SPCO’s award-winning CONNECT education program reaches nearly 6,000 students and teachers annually in 16 Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools. For more information, visit