Detroit Symphony Orchestra: Wang Jie named winner of annual Elaine Lebenbom Memorial award for female composers

Detroit Symphony Orchestra: Wang Jie named winner of annual Elaine Lebenbom Memorial award for female composers



Wang Jie named winner of annual Elaine Lebenbom Memorial award for female composers

DETROIT, (July 16, 2012) –Wang Jie has been awarded the sixth annual Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award for Female Composers from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO). Jie, who was chosen from applicants worldwide, will compose a new work that will be given its premiere in the 2013-14 season. In addition to concerts presenting her work, Jie will receive a $10,000 prize and a one-month residency at the Ucross Foundation, an artist’s retreat in northern Wyoming.

“It is with deep honor and gratitude that I receive this year’s Elaine Lebenbom Commission,” said Jie. “I am honored that members of the jury entrust me with this opportunity to create a new work for one of the most important musical institutions of our time.”

Jie was chosen by a jury composed of composers Evan Chambers and Bright Sheng, and DSO musicians Stephen Edwards, Dennis Nulty and Shannon Orme.

“Ms. Wang Jie is right on target in her approach to pique the interest of today’s contemporary classical audience,” said Edwards. “Most music performance outside the classical realm now has a very large visual component intermixed with the music. Ms. Jie inventively addresses this issue with great music and images that touch on issues of politics and mortality. She does this with thought provoking taste and humor. Her music leaves your mind a buzzing.”

Born and raised in Shanghai, China, Jie has received commissions from the American Composers Orchestra, Orchestra of the League of Composers, Opera America, Muisc-Theatre Group and Continuum, among others. Presenters such as New York City Opera, The Minnesota Orchestra, ICE, The New Juilliard Ensemble, The Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, The Aspen New Music Ensemble have performed her works. Her concert opera, From the Other Sky, was the centerpiece of the American Composers Orchestra’s season opening concert at Carnegie Hall during the 2010-11 season. Other honors include multiple ASCAP awards, citations from BMI, Opera America, American Music Center, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the MacCracken Fellowship from NYU Graduate School of Arts and Science, and most recently a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Jie is an alumna of Manhattan School of Music and Curtis Institute of Music. Multiple projects are in the works for Jie, including an Oboe Concerto for Liang Wang and Orchestra of the League of Composers and a song cycle on sensuous love. Aside from composing, she is a semi-pro badminton player, a self-taught chef, a photographer, and plays softball on a team in Central Park.

Last year’s winner, Missy Mazzoli, will debut her work, presently untitled, under the direction of DSO Music Director Leonard Slatkin, at the 2012-13 Season Finale on May 31 and June 1, 2012.

Details and submission deadlines for the seventh annual Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Competition for Female Composers will be announced this fall. The international competition, launched in 2006, is the only annual symphony orchestra sponsored award granted annually to a living female composer, of any age or nationality. Each year, one winner receives a $10,000 prize and the opportunity to have her original work premiered in the DSO’s Classical Subscription Series. The award is made possible by an anonymous donor. More information can be found at For questions, please contact Erik Rönmark at

To be considered for the award, participants must submit a resume; a completed application form; sample scores of up to three completed works, including one scored for full symphony; and supporting audio and/or video representation of at least one, preferably the symphonic work. Submitted entries will be judged by a committee formed by the DSO.

The first winner of the Lebenbom Competition was Stacy Garrop, a composer and Associate Professor of Composition at Roosevelt University in Chicago. Garrop was chosen from 192 applicants from 17 countries. Her work, Becoming Medusa, received its world premiere at Orchestra Hall under the direction of the DSO’s Principal Guest Conductor Peter Oundjian on May 29 during the DSO’s final classical subscription concert of the 2007-08 season.

The second Lebenbom Award-winner, Margaret Brouwer, is an American composer who also served as the head of the composition department at the Cleveland school of music from 1996 until 2008. Her composition, Rhapsody for Orchestra, received its world premiere on Jan. 9 during the 2008-09 classical subscription season under the direction of DSO Music Director, Leonard Slatkin.

The third winner, Cindy McTee, is the recipient of numerous awards for her music and has been commissioned to create works by the Detroit, Houston, Amarillo and Dallas orchestras as well as Bands of America, the American Guild of Organists, the Barlow Endowment and the College Band Directors National Association. Her music has been performed by leading orchestras, bands, and chamber ensembles in Japan, South America, Europe, Australia, and the United States in such venues as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Sydney Opera House. In 2010, she retired as the Regents Professor of Music at the University of North Texas, where she had taught since 1984. Her Double Play received its world premiere on June 3, 2010 under the direction of DSO Music Director Leonard Slatkin.

The fourth winner, Du Yun, received her Doctor of Music degree from Indiana University in 2000, her Master of Arts degree from the University of Chicago in 1995 and her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Michigan in 1992. Born in Shanghai, China and currently residing in New York City, Du Yun is an alumna of the Shanghai Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory and Harvard University. Since 2006, she has served on the composition faculty at the State University of New York Purchase and is a founding member of the critically acclaimed International Contemporary Ensemble (I.C.E.). Equally adept at writing for concert halls, art shows, experimental theatres and dance, her compositions can be heard on record labels Wugui (Beijing), Shanghai Classical Music and ATMA Classique.

The fifth winner, Missy Mazzoli, has received commissions from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, Bard College Conservatory and the Whitney Museum of Art. She is an active pianist performing with Victorie, an “all-star, all-female quintet” she founded that only performs her compositions. Their album, “Cathedral City,” has been named one of the year’s best classical albums by NPR, The New York Times and Time Out NY. Missy has taught composition in the Music Department of Yale University and is currently the Executive Director of the MATA Festival in New York City, an organization dedicated to promoting the work of young composers.

The Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award was inspired by composer, teacher, poet, artist and lecturer Elaine Lebenbom, a resident of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., who died in 2002. The DSO has premiered three of Lebenbom’s works. Kaleidoscope Turning received its world premiere under the direction of DSO Music Director Emeritus Neeme Järvi in 1997. Reflections on a Rainbow and Gamatria were debuted in 2004 and 2007, respectively, both after the composer’s death.

The internationally acclaimed Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the fourth-oldest symphony orchestra in the United States, is known for trailblazing performances, visionary maestros and collaborations with the world’s foremost musical artists. Esteemed conductor Leonard Slatkin, called “America’s Music Director” by the Los Angeles Times, became the 12th Music Director of the DSO during the 2008-09 season. The DSO offers a year-round performance schedule that includes classical, pops, jazz, young people’s concerts and festivals. The DSO makes its home in historic Orchestra Hall, one of America’s most acoustically perfect concert halls, and actively pursues a mission to impact and serve the community through music.

The DSO’s diversity programs include the pioneering Classical Roots concerts, the Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Competition for Female Composers, the annual Concert of Colors music festival and the African-American Fellowship program established in 1990. For more information on the DSO’s programs, initiatives and concerts, please visit

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Detroit Symphony Orchestra