Missy Mazzoli is the Chicago Symphony's new Mead Composer-in-Residence
26th June 2018
Mazzoli, a noted young American composer, is the recipient of a 2015 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Award, four ASCAP Young Composer Awards, and a Fulbright Grant. She previously held positions as Composer-in-Residence with Opera Philadelphia and Gotham Chamber Opera. She attended the Yale School of Music, the Royal Conservatory of the Hague, and Boston University, where her teachers have included David Lang, Louis Andriessen, and Aaron Jay Kernis.
Mazzoli has received commissions for new orchestral works from the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Detroit Symphony, and her music has been featured at the BBC Proms, Sydney Symphony, Basel Sinfonietta, and the Cabrillo Festival, among others. Washington National Opera premiered Proving Up in 2018, and Breaking the Waves received its world premiere by Opera Philadelphia in 2016. The Music Critics Association of North America (MCANA) honored this production of Breaking the Waves with its inaugural 'Best New Opera' award. In 2016, with composer Ellen Reid and in partnership with Kaufman Music Center, Mazzoli founded Luna Lab, a mentorship program for young female composers. Mazzoli is active as a pianist and electronic musician, performing with Victoire, a band she founded in 2008 dedicated to performing her compositions.
In recent years, Mazzoli's wide-ranging projects have been an integral part of Chicago's new music scene on several occasions. Highlights include 2016 performances of her acclaimed first opera, Song from the Uproar, by Chicago Fringe Opera, and a 2010 Millennium Park concert featuring Mazzoli and her band Victoire. In 2015, Mazzoli and Victoire performed and recorded her third album, Vespers for a new Dark Age, with Glenn Kotche, percussionist and member of the Chicago-based band Wilco. Most recently, the Chicago Composers Orchestra performed Mazzoli's These Worlds in Us at the city's St. James Cathedral in May 2018.
As Mead Composer-in-Residence, Mazzoli will curate the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's four-concert contemporary music series, MusicNOW. In addition, she will provide artistic guidance for contemporary music commissions and programming, special events, and collaborations with other artistic partners. Mazzoli will also receive a commission to write a new work for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to be premiered in the 2019/20 season along with a commission for a new work to be premiered on the MusicNOW series. She will also collaborate with the Negaunee Music Institute at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
Sir Georg Solti appointed John Corigliano as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's first Composer-in-Residence in 1987, and he was succeeded by Shulamit Ran from 1990 until 1997. Augusta Read Thomas was appointed by Daniel Barenboim in 1997. Thomas continued her tenure as Mead Composer-in-Residence until 2006, and Osvaldo Golijov and Mark-Anthony Turnage from 2006 until 2010. Riccardo Muti appointed Mason Bates and Anna Clyne in 2010, and they held the positions until 2015, when Muti appointed Samuel Adams and Elizabeth Ogonek, who both completed their tenures as Mead Composers-in-Residence at the conclusion of the 2017/18 season.
The Mead Composer-in-Residence position is endowed by Cindy Sargent and the Sally Mead Hands Foundation. Major support for MusicNOW is generously provided by the Irving Harris Foundation, the Sally Mead Hands Foundation, the Julian Family Foundation, Cindy Sargent, and the Zell Family Foundation. Additional support is provided by The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust and The Aaron Copland Fund for Music.