Composer Archives - Berkeley Symphony
Derrick Spiva Jr.

Derrick Spiva Jr.

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Derrick Spiva, Jr. 

Guest Artist ~ Commissioned Composer

Biography

Derrick Spiva Jr. is a composer and musician based in the Los Angeles area who often integrates music practices from different cultural traditions around the world into his work with classical music communities. The Los Angeles Times has described his music as “something to savor” and “enormous fun to listen to.” During his studies at the University of California, Los Angeles and the California Institute of the Arts, music across many cultures became an integral part of his musical vocabulary. Spiva studied classical music with Ian Krouse, Alex Shapiro, Paul Chihara, and David Rosenboom while also studying West African music and dance with Kobla Ladzekpo; Persian music theory with Pirayeh Pourafar and Houman Pourmehdi; Balkan music theory with Tzvetanka Varimezova; and tala (rhythmic cycles) in Hindustani classical music with Swapan Chaudhuri and Aashish Khan.

Spiva’s works have been premiered by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, UCLA Philhamonia, Los Angeles Electric 8, Chapman University Wind Ensemble, the Salastina Music Society, Super Devoiche (Bulgarian Women’s Choir), and Lian Ensemble (Persian Ensemble). Spiva has given pre-concert talks and workshops about the use of non-Western music in his compositions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Skirball Cultural Center. He received the New Music USA Award in 2010 and 2011 and was awarded a composer residency with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) through New Music USA’s “Music Alive” program with LACO for the 2015-2016 season. He was asked to speak at the 2016 League of Orchestras Conference on the topic of how classical music orchestras can forge stronger relationships with their diverse communities. Spiva serves as Artistic Director of the new music collective and arts organization Bridge to Everywhere.

Spiva passionately believes in music as a doorway into understanding other cultures and different ways of living. Through learning the music of other cultures, the opportunity for dialogue rather than conflict between strangers is opened, and our society can become one with less conflict due to cultural misunderstanding. He is deeply invested in fostering creative and effective collaboration between artists of different disciplines and traditions.

Mary Kouyoumdjian

Mary Kouyoumdjian

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Mary Kouyoumdjian

Composer

Biography

MARY KOUYOUMDJIAN is a composer with projects ranging from concert works to multimedia collaborations and film scores. As a first generation Armenian-American and having come from a family directly affected by the Lebanese Civil War and Armenian Genocide, she uses a sonic palette that draws on her heritage, interest in music as documentary, and background in experimental composition to progressively blend the old with the new.

Kouyoumdjian has received commissions for such organizations as the NY Philharmonic, Kronos Quartet, Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Alarm Will Sound, International Contemporary Ensemble [ICE], Brooklyn Youth Chorus, the American Composers Forum/JFund, Roomful of Teeth, WQXR, REDSHIFT, Experiments in Opera, the Nouveau Classical Project, Music of Remembrance, Friction Quartet, Ensemble Oktoplus, and the Los Angeles New Music Ensemble. Her documentary work was recently presented by the 2016 New York Philharmonic Biennial and has also been performed internationally at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Barbican Centre, Cabrillo Festival, Millennium Park, Big Ears Festival, 21C Music Festival, and Cal Performances. Her residencies include those with Alarm Will Sound/The Mizzou International Composers Festival, Roulette/The Jerome Foundation, Montalvo Arts Center, and Exploring the Metropolis. Her music has been described as “eloquently scripted” and “emotionally wracking” by The New York Times and as “the most harrowing moments on stage at any New York performance” by New York Music Daily.  In her work as a composer, orchestrator, and music editor for film, she has collaborated on a diverse array of motion pictures including orchestrating on the soundtracks to The Place Beyond the Pines (Focus Features) and Demonic (Dimension Films). 

Currently pursuing her Composition D.M.A. as a Teaching Fellow at Columbia University, Kouyoumdjian studies primarily with Zosha Di Castri, Georg Friedrich Haas, Fred Lerdahl, and George Lewis. She holds an M.A. in Scoring for Film & Multimedia from New York University and a B.A. in Music Composition from the University of California, San Diego, where she studied contemporary composition with Chaya Czernowin, Steven Kazuo Takasugi, and Chinary Ung; new music performance with Steven Schick; and modern jazz with Anthony Davis. Kouyoumdjian is an educator, served as the founding Executive Director of contemporary music ensemble Hotel Elefant, is a co-founder of the annual new music conference New Music Gathering, and is a co-artistic director of Alaska’s new music festival Wild Shore New Music.

Peter S. Shin

Peter S. Shin

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Peter S. Shin


Berkeley Sounds Composer Fellow

Biography

Peter S. Shin (b. 1991) is a composer whose music navigates issues of national belonging, the co-opting and intermingling of disparate musical vernaculars, and the liminality between the two halves of his second-generation Korean-American identity. The New York Times described him as “a composer to watch” and his music “entirely fresh and personal.”

Peter’s music has been performed at Carnegie Hall through the “First Music” Commission, Walt Disney Concert Hall through the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s “Noon to Midnight” series, and Chicago’s Symphony Center through the Civic Orchestra New Music Workshop.

Current projects include a commission by John Adams and Deborah O’Grady for the 2018 Cabrillo Festival (Hypercolor premiering August 11, 2018), a commission for Roomful of Teeth through the American Composers Forum premiering in 2019, a film score for the 2019 Mizzou International Composers Festival with Alarm Will Sound, and a chamber orchestra work for the Berkeley Symphony’s 2018/19 season.

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Aiyana Braun

Aiyana Braun

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Aiyana Braun


Berkeley Sounds Composer Fellow

Biography

Aiyana Tedi Braun (b. 1997) is a pianist and composer of orchestral, chamber, and vocal music. Currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Aiyana studies under full scholarship as the Edith Evans Braun Fellow. She is currently in the composition studio of Dr. Jennifer Higdon, and during her time at Curtis, she will also study with Dr. Richard Danielpour, and Dr. David Ludwig. She has had several orchestral works performed by orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic at the age of 15, the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, the New York Youth Symphony and the De Capo Players. She has worked with members of the New York City Ballet Orchestra, the Minnesota Opera Orchestra, as well as others. 

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Ursula Kwong-Brown

Ursula Kwong-Brown

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Ursula Kwong-Brown


Berkeley Sounds Composer Fellow

Biography

Ursula Kwong-Brown (b. 1987) is a composer and media artist from New York City. Her work has been performed in diverse venues including Carnegie Hall and Le Poisson Rouge in New York and the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Her awards include the Bowdoin Festival Composition Prize, the Chicago Ensemble’s “Discover America” prize, the Longfellow Chorus “Director’s Prize,” Columbia University’s Sudler Arts Prize, and UC Berkeley’s George Ladd Prix de Paris and Nicola de Lorenzo Prizes. Ursula received her Bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in 2010, graduating with honors in music and biology, and studied abroad at the Royal College of Music in London. In 2012, she started a combined M.A./Ph.D. program at the University of California, Berkeley with support from a Mellon-Berkeley fellowship. After earning a Master of Arts in music composition in 2014, she expanded her focus to include New Media studies and has been experimenting with sound spatialization at the Center for New Music & Audio Technologies, and learning about design and interface aesthetics at the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation. Ursula plans to graduate in 2018 with a Ph.D. in New Media & Music.

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Anna Clyne

Anna Clyne

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Anna Clyne


Composer ~ Music Alive Composer-in-residence

Biography

London-born Anna Clyne is a Grammy-nominated composer of acoustic and electro-acoustic music. Described as a “composer of uncommon gifts and unusual methods” in a New York Times profile and as “dazzlingly inventive” by Time Out New York, Clyne’s work often includes collaborations with cutting-edge choreographers, visual artists, filmmakers, and musicians worldwide.

Appointed by Music Director Riccardo Muti, Clyne served as a Mead Composer-in-Residence for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 2010-2015. She also recently served as Composer-in-Residence for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra during the 2015-2016 season and for L’Orchestre national d’Île-de-France from 2014-2016. This season, Clyne was selected by the League of American Orchestras and New Music USA to serve as the Music Alive Composer-in-Residence with the Berkeley Symphony through the 2018-2019 season. She has been commissioned by such renowned organizations as American Composers Orchestra, BBC Radio 3, BBC Scottish Symphony, Carnegie Hall, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Houston Ballet, London Sinfonietta, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, and the Southbank Centre, and her work has been championed by such world-renowned conductors as Marin Alsop, Pablo Heras-Casado, Riccardo Muti, Leonard Slatkin, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. 

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Music Alive

The Residency of Anna Clyne is made possible through Music Alive, a residency program of the League of American Orchestras and New Music USA. This national program is designed to provide orchestras with resources and tools to support their work with composers and new music, capitalizing on the power of composers and their creativity to build new paths for orchestras to heighten their relevancy and deepen their relationships with their communities. Major funding for Music Alive comes from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, The Amphion Foundation, The ASCAP Foundation Bart Howard Fund, the Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Berkeley Symphony Performances

Anna Clyne’s visually stunning Night Ferry and in collaboration with the Fisher Family Art Lab at BAMPFA will display graphic scores inspired by Clyne’s ground-breaking approach to composition through visual art.

Anna Clyne curates a selection of chamber works to be performed by musicians and guest artists of Berkeley Symphony

A special presentation of Anna Clyne’s This Midnight Hour choreographed by ODC/Dance Co-Artistic Director KT Nelson and performed by ODC/Dance.

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