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Sunday, November 15th, 2015 at 6:00 PM
“Try, a breakout piece for the Los Angeles-based Andrew Norman, is about the relationship between trying and success. For him, the compositional process involves a certain amount of failure and frustration before it can come to fruition. He writes of the piece: “it’s messy, and fragmented, and it certainly doesn’t get things right on the first try. It does things over and over, trying them out in as many different ways as it can… And, at long last, after ten minutes of increasingly frantic trying… it finally gets it right.”
Andrew’s honesty about the necessity of trying before succeeding resonated with me, and reminded me of Schumann’s symphonies. His first attempt at writing one was so frustrating that it took him ten years to complete, and his second symphony - arguably his most profound - was written in a time of deep despair for the composer. The Second Symphony is a testimony to the resilience of the human spirit and the value of trying in the face of failure and adversity.
The process of improvement that the act of trying presupposes is one that is critical to music. Great performances, much like great compositions, come about only after grueling and sometimes disheartening attempts at refinement. Trying is the foundation of the fine arts not just because it begets better results, but because it transforms the artist himself.
This opening concert is thus emblematic of the approach I have taken with my first season with the YMF Debut Orchestra. In the quest for finding a place for classical music in the 21st century, we will undoubtedly face some hiccups - but there is no choice: we must try.”
Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra
Yuga Cohler, conductor
Andrew NORMAN: Try
Robert SCHUMANN: Symphony No. 2
Sunday, November 15th, 2015 at 6:00 PM
Leo S. Bing Theatre
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Listeners may also hear the entire program on 91.5 FM KUSC’s weekly Sundays Live podcast.
Yuga Cohler, Music Director and Conductor
As the youngest graduate of the Juilliard School’s course in orchestral conducting, 26-year-old Yuga Cohler is revolutionizing classical music through his incorporation of technology, popular culture, and other creative media into the concert going experience. He was recently appointed music director and conductor of the Young Musicians Foundation (YMF) Debut Orchestra, one of the foremost professional training orchestras in the country. For his first season with YMF, Cohler has instituted The Great Music Series, a concert series which explores the elements common to massively popular music and works from the classical canon. The 2015/16 season sees the inaugural installation of this series: Yeethoven, a comparison of the works of Kanye West and Beethoven, conceived in collaboration with composer Stephen Feigenbaum.
A recipient of the Bruno Walter Memorial Scholarship, Cohler studied with New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert at the Juilliard School. There, he worked extensively with the Juilliard Orchestra and served as its assistant conductor under Itzhak Perlman. He continues to enjoy a close relationship with the group, having made his professional debut with them in 2013. Other orchestras which Cohler has conducted include the Dallas, Baltimore, Fort Worth, and New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestras, and the New World and Danish National Symphonies.
Among the accolades granted to Cohler are the Career Assistance Award from the Solti Foundation U.S., the Ansbacher Fellowship from the American Austrian Foundation, the Charles Schiff Conducting Award from the Juilliard School, and the David McCord Prize for Artistic Excellence from Harvard University. He has been granted fellowships to some of the most prestigious musical institutions in the country, including the Aspen Music Festival and the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, and has additionally studied at the Tanglewood Music Center.
A skilled interpreter of modern music, Cohler was selected by composer John Adams to perform a program of modern American orchestral music at Carnegie Hall, where the New York Times lauded his “strong rendition” of Elliott Carter’s Double Concerto. He currently serves as a Director of the Asia / America New Music Initiative, with whom he was a featured performer at the 2015 Beijing Modern Music Festival.
Cohler is a summa cum laude graduate of Harvard College, where he studied computer science. He first became a music director at the age of 20 when he assumed the helm of the Harvard Bach Society Orchestra. As an advocate for the integration of art music into mainstream American culture, Cohler has collaborated as both performer and lecturer with such forward-thinking institutions as Google, Groupmuse, and the Danbury Music Centre. He is the founder of the blog State of Art (yugacohler.com/stateofart), which examines American musical culture without preconceptions of genre or quality.
Andrew Norman, Composer
Andrew Norman (b. 1979) is a Los Angeles-based composer of orchestral, chamber, and vocal music.
A lifelong enthusiast for all things architectural, Andrew writes music that is often inspired by patterns and textures he encounters in the visual world. He has a passion for musical notation, its long history, and the many ways its boundaries can be pushed to find new modes of expression. He also loves collaborating with performers to explore the act of interpreting notation and he is fascinated by the translation of written symbols into physical gesture and sound.
Andrew is increasingly interested in story-telling in music, and specifically in the ways non-linear, narrative-scrambling techniques from cinema, television, and video games might intersect with traditional symphonic forms. His distinctive, often fragmented and highly energetic voice has been cited in the New York Times for its “daring juxtapositions and dazzling colors,” in the Boston Globe for its “staggering imagination,” and in the L.A. Times for its “Chaplinesque” wit.
Andrew’s symphonic works have been performed by leading ensembles worldwide, including the Los Angeles, New York, and Royal Liverpool Philharmonics, the Philadelphia and Minnesota Orchestras, the BBC, Saint Louis, and Melbourne Symphonies, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Tonhalle Orchester Zurich, the Orchestre National de France, and many others. Andrew’s music has been championed by some of the classical music’s eminent conductors, including John Adams, Marin Alsop, Gustavo Dudamel, Simon Rattle, and David Robertson.
In recent seasons, Andrew’s chamber music has been featured at the Bang on a Can Marathon, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Wordless Music Series, the CONTACT! series, the Ojai Festival, the MATA Festival, the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music, the Green Umbrella series, the Monday Evening Concerts, and the Aspen Music Festival. In May of 2010, the Berlin Philharmonic’s Scharoun Ensemble presented a portrait concert of Andrew’s music entitled “Melting Architecture.”
Andrew is the recipient of the 2004 Jacob Druckman Prize, the 2005 ASCAP Nissim and Leo Kaplan Prizes, the 2006 Rome Prize and the 2009 Berlin Prize. He joined the roster of Young Concert Artists as Composer in Residence in 2008, and held the title “Komponist für Heidelberg” for the 2010-2011 season. Andrew served for two years as Composer in Residence with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and is currently Composer in Residence with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Opera Philadelphia. Andrew’s 30-minute string trio The Companion Guide to Rome was named a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music.
Andrew is a committed educator who enjoys helping people of all ages explore and create music. He has written pieces to be performed by and for the young, and has held educational residencies with various institutions across the country, including a week-long outreach visit with the Des Moines Symphony and a two-year stint with the schools in Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley. Andrew joined the faculty of the USC Thornton School of Music in 2013, and he is thrilled to serve as the new director of the L.A. Phil’s Composer Fellowship Program for high school composers.
Andrew recently finished a piano concerto, Suspend, for Emanual Ax, as well as a widely-discussed symphony-in-all-but-name, Play, for BMOP. Upcoming projects include another piano concerto for Jeffrey Kahane and the New York Philharmonic, a percussion concerto for Colin Currie, a three-part symphony for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and collaborations with the Calder Quartet, eighth blackbird, Jeremy Denk, Jennifer Koh, and the Berlin Philharmonic.
Andrew’s works are published by Schott Music.
Young Musicians Foundation (YMF)
Young Musicians Foundation exists to unify communities through exceptional classical music experiences. We provide opportunities for youth of all socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds to cultivate their abilities and passion for music during the pivotal formative years of their development. By expanding access to quality musical education and performances, we nurture creativity and emotional expression, enriching quality of life and fostering current and future audiences. Our eight interconnected music programs provide an introduction to musical instruments and technique, in addition to scholarships and performance opportunities for advanced students embarking on professional careers.
Now celebrating its 61st season, the Debut Orchestra is one of the oldest pre-professional training orchestras in the country. Comprised of approximately 70 talented musicians ages 15-25 from across the Los Angeles area, the orchestra hones the skills of students who are on the cusp of professional careers. Musicians are selected each year through blind auditions adjudicated by eminent Los Angeles-based musicians, and alumni of the orchestra perform today in virtually every major symphony orchestra in the country. Currently led by Music Director and Conductor Yuga Cohler, the orchestra also remains one of few programs giving talented young conductors the opportunity to plan, rehearse, and conduct a full orchestra season.
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