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Michael R. Holloway Chosen in National Search for Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute

Michael HollowayThey only picked six. And now 20-year-old McNally Smith College of Music student Michael R. Holloway will be joining five other composers for the prestigious 2012 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute. In a national search, Holloway was chosen along with two doctoral candidates and graduates of schools such as the New England Conservatory, Yale, Eastman School of Music, Harvard, Juilliard, and others. As part of the program, the orchestra will perform his Rhythm: Theta Beta Theta.

News of his accomplishment was reported in the highly read “Item World” column of the Star Tribune’s Entertainment section August 5th.

All the composers will travel to Minneapolis for the Minnesota Orchestra’s acclaimed professional training program that runs from January 2 to 7, 2012, highlighted by the January 6 Future Classics concert. The participants in the Minnesota Orchestra’s 11th annual Composer Institute — under Institute Director Aaron Jay Kernis — were chosen from a pool of 153 candidates through a highly competitive process. Besides rehearsals, seminars, and tutoring sessions, the group will perform in a public “Future Classics” concert of their works on Friday, January 6, led by Music Director Osmo Vänskä.

“I want to try to convey the magnitude of this opportunity for an ‘early career’ composer like Michael,” explains his McNally Smith Composition teacher, J. Anthony Allen, who won the coveted selection six years ago. “The Composer Institute is internationally recognized, and there is a limited number who have ever had this opportunity! This year, Michael is the only person that is not in grad school, or graduated from grad school and is among the youngest ever to be chosen. It’s clearly one of the highest honors an up and coming composer can get; everyone on the McNally Smith Faculty is very excited for him.”

“The Composer Institute is a really wonderful opportunity for me,” Holloway notes. “To be selected from the large number of submissions that the Minnesota Orchestra received is truly an honor, and I feel blessed to be able to go through the weeks events with the five other gifted composers that were also selected. As a composer you spend many months alone with a pencil and paper working on a piece of this length and the unfortunate reality is that you may never hear your work realized in its entirety. I am fortunate that I have The Minnesota Orchestra to finish this piece with me and give it a world premiere.”

“I am absolutely delighted to say that the competition for the six top spots was fierce, with many more imaginative and innovative pieces than would be possible to program on the upcoming season’s single Composer Institute concert,” says Kernis, who chaired the selection panel. “The jury noted that the number of works of excellent quality made the final choices of composers and works extremely difficult.” Other panel members included composers Martin Bresnick, Tania Leon, Steven Stucky and Michael Gatonska, the latter of whom is a Composer Institute alumnus.

About Michael R. Holloway and Rhythm: Theta Beta Theta

Michael writes music for concerts, television, film and radio, and has also spent time working with dancers and installations. His compositions combine a classical aesthetic with interests in the natural world, mathematics and physics. His recent works include Cantor, a string quartet exploring the mathematical theorems of Georg Cantor. He is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in composition at the McNally Smith College of Music.

Rhythm: Theta Beta Theta is a reference to different types of brainwaves. The beginning of the piece develops slowly and ideas overlap each other, representing the Theta wave, which has a longer oscillation. The middle section develops ideas in a quicker fashion and moves through material with more agitation, signifying the Beta wave, which has a much shorter oscillation. The piece ends by returning to material from the opening Theta section, bringing it full circle.

About the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute

The Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute’s acclaimed program is entering its 11th year and is co-presented with the American Composers Forum. It is widely recognized as one of the leading professional training programs for emerging symphonic composers.

The Institute, directed by Kernis, is an outgrowth of the Orchestra’s Perfect Pitch program, an annual series of new music reading sessions for Minnesota composers launched during the 1995-96 season. Many of the 100 composers who have previously taken part in Perfect Pitch and the Composer Institute have gone on to receive major commissions, awards, grants and additional performances of their works.

Save the date for Holloway’s Premiere!

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