Magnus Lindberg (b. 1958) returns in the 2010–11 season for his second consecutive season as The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence at the New York Philharmonic. As part of his appointment, Mr. Lindberg will write music for the Philharmonic and serve in a curatorial role for the institution. He will also be an integral part of CONTACT!, the New York Philharmonic’s new-music series, including curating and hosting programs. Born in Helsinki, he began musical training as a pianist, then entered the Sibelius Academy, where his composition teachers included Einojuhani Rautavaara and Paavo Heininen. The latter encouraged his pupils to look beyond the prevailing Finnish conservative and nationalist aesthetics, and to explore the works of the European avant-garde. This led, around 1980, to the founding of the informal group known as the Ears Open Society, which included Mr. Lindberg and his contemporaries Eero Hämeeniemi, Jouni Kaipainen, Kaija Saariaho, and Esa-Pekka Salonen, sought to encourage a greater awareness of mainstream modernism. In 1981 Mr. Lindberg made a decisive move, traveling to Paris for studies with Vinko Globokar and Gérard Grisey and attending Franco Donatoni’s classes in Siena, Italy. During the same period, he also was in contact with Brian Ferneyhough, Helmut Lachenmann, and Karl Höller.
Mr. Lindberg’s compositional breakthrough came with two large-scale works, Action-Situation-Signification (1982) and Kraft (1983–85), which were inextricably linked with his founding, with Mr. Salonen, of the experimental Toimii Ensemble. This group — in which Mr. Lindberg plays piano and percussion — has provided the composer with a laboratory for his sonic development. His compositions of the early 1980s combined experimentalism, complexity, and primitivism, working with extremes of musical material. Toward the end of that decade, his compositional style transformed toward a new modernist classicism, in which many of the communicative ingredients of a vibrant musical language (harmony, rhythm, counterpoint, and melody) were reinterpreted afresh for the post-serial era. Key scores in this stylistic evolution were the orchestral/ensemble triptych Kinetics (1988), Marea (1989–90), and Joy (1989–90), reaching fulfillment in Aura (1993–94) and Arena (1994–95).
Over the past decade Magnus Lindberg’s output has positioned him at the forefront of orchestral composition, including his concert-opener Feria (1997); large-scale statements such as Fresco (1997), Cantigas (1999), Concerto for Orchestra (2002–03), and Sculpture (2005); and concertos for cello (1999), clarinet (2002), and violin (2006). Recent works include Seht die Sonne (2007), commissioned by the Berlin Philharmonic under Simon Rattle, and the San Francisco Symphony. For his first season with the Philharmonic, Mr. Lindberg composed two works: EXPO, which was premiered on the Opening Night Concert in September 2009 and reprised on the Orchestra’s tours to Asia and Europe, and a second work for the final program of the Philharmonic’s 2009–10 subscription season.
Mr. Lindberg’s music has been recorded on the Deutsche Grammophon, Sony, Ondine, and Finlandia labels and is published by Boosey & Hawkes. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the UNESCO International Rostrums (1982 and 1986), the Nordic Council Music Prize (1988), the Koussevitzky Prize (1988), the Prix Italia (1986), the Royal Philharmonic Society (1993), the First European Composer Prize of the “young.euro.classic – Musik Sommer Berlin 2000” (which he shared), and the Wihuri Sibelius Prize (2003).
James Matheson (b. 1970) has had his music performed by the Seattle and Albany Symphony Orchestras, American Composers Orchestra, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and other ensembles. Among his best known works are Songs of Desire, Love and Loss, which was commissioned by Carnegie Hall; The Anatomy of Melancholy; Colonnade; and River, River, River, which critical reviews characterize as “beautiful,” lustrous,” “amiable and often sumptuous.” Mr. Matheson holds degrees from Cornell University (D.M.A. 2001, M.F.A. 1997) where he studied composition with Steven Stucky and Roberto Sierra, and at Swarthmore College (B.A. 1992), where he majored in music and philosophy, studying composition with Gerald Levinson. In 2009 he became the director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Composer Fellowship Program.
Jay Alan Yim (b. 1958) is associate professor of composition at Northwestern University. His works have been commissioned and performed by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Lyon, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Korean Broadcast Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands RadioPhilharmonic, Residentie Orkest Den Haag, London Sinfonietta, New Music Consort, Arditti Quartet, Nieuw Ensemble, JACK Quartet, Ensemble SurPlus, International Contemporary Ensemble, and dal niente. Mr. Yim is the recipient of a Kennedy Center/Friedheim award, three BMI and two ASCAP awards, Tanglewood and Aspen fellowships, Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, and three Illinois Arts Council fellowships. He was composer/fellow at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1995 to 1996, and is the co-founder of the “localStyle” digital media collaborative, with museum installations in the U.S. and Europe.