Through more than a hundred published works and many recordings, Bernard Rands is established as a major figure in contemporary music. His work Canti del Sole, premiered by Paul Sperry, Zubin Mehta, and the New York Philharmonic, won the 1984 Pulitzer Prize in Music. His large orchestral suites Le Tambourin won the 1986 Kennedy Center Friedheim Award. His work Canti d’Amor, recorded by Chanticleer, won a Grammy Award in 2000. Rands served as Composer in Residence with the Philadelphia Orchestra for seven years. The first three years were funded by the Meet the Composer Residency Program, with four years continued funding by The Philadelphia Orchestra. Through this residency Rands made a wonderful and dedicated contribution to the music of our time. He has been honored by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters; Broadcast Music, Inc.; the Guggenheim Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; Meet The Composer; the Barlow, Fromm, and Koussevitzky Foundations, among many others. In 2004, Rands was inducted to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Recent commissions have come from the Suntory Concert Hall in Tokyo, the New York Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Internationale Bach Akademie, the Eastman Wind Ensemble, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Many chamber works have resulted from commissions from major ensembles and festivals from around the world. His chamber opera, Belladonna, was commissioned by the Aspen Music Festival and School for its fiftieth anniversary in 1999. Rands is currently composing a full-scale opera, Vincent, based on the life and work of Van Gogh, with poet J.D. McClatchy.
Pianist Ursula Oppens, one of the very first artists to grasp the importance of programming traditional and contemporary works in equal measure, has won a singular place in the hearts of her public, critics, and colleagues alike. Her sterling musicianship, uncanny understanding of the composer’s artistic argument, and lifelong study of the keyboard’s resources, have placed her among the elect of performing musicians. During the 2013/2014 season she will perform Rzewski's The People United Will Never Be Defeated for the Fundação Osesp in São Paulo, return to Portugal in a recital honoring Elliot Carter at the Festival of the Azores, and perform in recital at Shenendoah University. She performs twice at the Library of Congress this season first in a program with the JACK Quartet featuring quintets by Adés and Carter, and later with cellist Fred Sherry, and she will premiere Tania Léon’s new work Ethos with the Cassatt Quartet at Symphony Space.
In 2012, Ms. Oppens captured her fourth Grammy Award nomination in the coveted category of Best Classical Instrumental Solo for the album Winging It: Piano Music of John Corigliano (Cedille Records). Earlier Grammy nominations were for Oppens Plays Carter, a recording of the complete piano works of Elliott Carter for Cedille Records (which also was named a "Best of the Year" selection by Allan Kozinn of The New York Times), her Piano Music of Our Time, featuring compositions by John Adams, Elliott Carter, Julius Hemphill, and Conlon Nancarrow for the Music and Arts label, and her legendary cult classic The People United Will Never Be Defeated, by Frederic Rzewski on Vanguard.
Pianist and Conductor Robert Levin has been heard throughout the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia. His solo engagements include the orchestras of Atlanta, Berlin, Birmingham, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles, Montreal, Utah and Vienna on the Steinway with such conductors as Semyon Bychkov, James Conlon, Bernard Haitink, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Sir Neville Marriner, Seiji Ozawa and Sir Simon Rattle. On period pianos he has appeared with the Academy of Ancient Music, English Baroque Soloists, Handel & Haydn Society, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Christopher Hogwood, Sir Charles Mackerras, Nicholas McGegan, and Sir Roger Norrington.
Levin is renowned for his restoration of the Classical period practice of improvised embellishments and cadenzas; his Mozart and Beethoven performances have been hailed for their active mastery of the Classical musical language. He has made recordings for DG Archiv, CRI, Decca/Oiseau-Lyre, Deutsche Grammophon, ECM, Klavierfestival Ruhr, New York Philomusica, Nonesuch, Philips, and SONY Classical. Among these are the complete Bach concertos with Helmuth Rilling as well as the English Suites and the Well-Tempered Clavier (on five keyboard instruments) for Hänssler’s 172-CD Edition Bachakademie. Other recordings include a Beethoven concerto cycle with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique for Archiv, a Mozart concerto cycle with Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music for Decca/L’Oiseau-Lyre, Mozart sonatas for Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, and the complete piano music of Dutilleux for ECM.
Laura Kaminsky is a composer with “an ear for the new and interesting” (The New York Times) and the former Artistic Director of Symphony Space. She has received commissions and awards from the Koussevitzky Mousic Foundation, NEA, Aaron Copland Fund, NYSCA, and Chamber Music America, among others. She has been a fellow at artists’ communities including the Hermitage Artist Retreat Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Centrum Foundation, Dorland Mountain Arts Colony, and the Millay Colony for the Arts. A native New Yorker, Kaminsky graduated from LaGuardia High School of Music and Arts, received her bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from Oberlin College, and her master’s degree from the City College of New York/CUNY, where she was a Tuch Foundation Fellow. She is on the faculty of the Conservatory of Music at SUNY Purchase. A recording of Kaminsky’s chamber and solo music was released in February 2013 by Albany Records.