Friday, March 23, 2012

A Young Composer Receives Some Recognition

When you go to an orchestra concert and hear music composed by guys who've been dead for a century or two, do you ever wonder where tomorrow's music might be coming from?

Well, if you attended the Harrisburg Youth Symphony Orchestra's concert back on February 14th, you heard Tara Simoncic conduct them in a beautiful new orchestral piece entitled "Oaken Sky," written last year by a young composer named Chris Rogerson.

Completing his Masters in Music at Yale this year, he is among the six recipients of Charles Ives Scholarships of $7500, which are given to composition students of great promise.

Chris Rogerson’s music has been praised for its “virtuosic exuberance” and “haunting beauty” (New York Times). Ensembles such as the New World Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Grand Rapids Symphony, and the New York Youth Symphony have performed his work at venues including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Library of Congress. He has won other awards and fellowships from ASCAP, the MacDowell Colony, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Presser Foundation.

His music has also been performed by the cutting-edge new music ensemble, the JACK Quartet, which played in Harrisburg with Market Square Concerts earlier this season.

Rogerson is Composer-in-Residence with Young Concert Artists.

He has attended the Curtis Institute of Music and Yale University, where he studied with Jennifer Higdon (whose "Blue Cathedral" and Percussion Concerto were performed by the Harrisburg Symphony in seasons past) as well as Aaron Jay Kernis, and Martin Bresnick.

In 2009, he composed an orchestral work inspired by the news story of a young child's death in Noble, OK, a five-year-old boy who was accidentally shot by police officers at a fishing pond. The work, which he called "Noble Pond" and which the Curtis Orchestra premiered in March of 2009, was featured in a FOX-news story which you can view here. The work later received the Jacob Druckman Prize in 2011 and was performed at the Aspen Music Festival last summer.

I'm hoping we'll be hearing a lot more of Chris Rogerson's music in the future.

- Dick Strawser

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