Since its launch in January 2021, All Classical Portland’s Recording Inclusivity Initiative (RII) received nearly 100 nominations by listeners, artists, and community members. These nominations, including works by living composers and posthumous compositions, represent a diverse array of cultural backgrounds, musical influences, and artistic perspectives.
After an extensive and inspiring review process of so many deserving nominees, the RII Panel and Executive Advisors are pleased to announce the top finalists! From these twelve finalists, five composers will be selected to have their nominated composition recorded at N M Bodecker Foundation’s state-of-the-art recording facilities, and distributed worldwide by Naxos Records. Learn more about the finalists below, and stay tuned for more details to be released later this Spring as these twelve extraordinary composers are narrowed down to the final five.
Jasmine Barnes: Taking Names
Jasmine Barnes is a Baltimore native and a multifaceted composer who embraces any writing style of music using a variety of instrumentation and specializes in writing for the voice. She has been commissioned by numerous organization, and her 10 minute opera, “The Late Walk,” has been archived in the Library of Congress. Jasmine is also an honored educator, and previously served as Head of Compositional Studies and Jazz Voice Studies at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX. Now a full time composer, Barnes has held many residencies including a composer fellowship at Chautauqua Opera, and was recently commissioned by The Washington National Opera in celebration of the Kennedy Center’s 50th year anniversary. Upcoming, she will serve as a first year resident artist for American Lyric Theater’s Composer Librettist Development Program in New York City.
About Taking Names:
Inspiration for the piece came from the poet Shana Oshiro, who expressed the irony in the idea of Black Girl Magic and the relationship Black women have to Social and Political movements. The piece is meant to feel like conjuring up the names of those who have gone on in a spell-like manner. The piece lists names of fallen Black Women and Black Trans Women whose names are connected yet hidden in many movements.
Giancarlo Castro D’Addona: Concierto Sureño
An award-winning composer, conductor, and trumpet player, Giancarlo Castro D’Addona’s compositions have been performed in Carnegie Hall, Disney Concert Hall, the Royal Albert Hall in London, Berlin Konzerthaus, and Vienna Concertgebouw, among others. He has been commissioned by New World Symphony, the Youth Orchestra Commissioning Initiative, and by Carol Jantsch, principal tuba of Philadelphia. In 2018, Giancarlo moved to Portland, and in September 2019, he was named conductor for the Sinfonietta Orchestra of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony as well as appointed by the Reed College Music Department as conductor of its Reed Orchestra. In January 2020, Giancarlo Castro D’Addona was named conductor for PYP’s Portland Youth Wind Ensemble (PYWE).
About Concierto Sureño:
Concierto Sureño was commissioned in 2010 by violinist Laurentius Dinca (Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra). It alludes to the south side of the American continent, Uruguay and Argentina. It is a piece that has romantic parts, other rhythmic and dense, typical of tango.
James Lee III: Night Visions of Kippur
Since Dr. James Lee’s graduation with a D.M.A. in composition from the University of Michigan in 2005, his orchestral works have been commissioned and premiered by symphonies across the US, and have been conducted by such artists as Marin Alsop, Michael Tilson Thomas, Juanjo Mena, David Lockington, and others. Dr. Lee is a winner of a Charles Ives Scholarship and the Wladimir Lakond Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Dr. Lee is a Professor of Music at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD.
About Night Visions of Kippur:
Night Visions of Kippur was inspired by the seventh chapter of the biblical book of Daniel. It also tells a story about the perseverance of a people who overcame insurmountable obstacles to stand for what is right, justice, and a looking forward to eternal peace.
Lauren McCall: A Spark and a Glimmer
Lauren McCall is a composer and educator from Atlanta, Georgia. She has had compositions performed around North America and in Europe, including her piece for piano, Shake the Earth, which was performed at the Morehead State University’s Contemporary Piano Festival, along with being performed in Eugene, Oregon at the Oregon Bach Festival Composers’ Symposium. Her arrangement of the spiritual I’m Troubled was performed in Lakeland, Florida at Florida Southern College for the Grady Rayam Prize in Sacred Music, and her graphic score composition The Fish Wife was performed in Montreal, Canada by the ensemble Amis Orgue Montreal.
About A Spark and a Glimmer:
A Spark and a Glimmer was inspired by visual artist Alison Saar’s sculpture installation titled Feallan and Fallow. Alison Saar created Feallan and Fallow based on the Greek myth of Persephone, and the sculpture this composition is particularly based on is Summer. Summer is a sculpture of Persephone’s mother Demeter who is pregnant with fireflies. This sculpture of Demeter is also a representation of fertility and the blooming of fruit during the summer.
Keyla Orozco: Souvenirs
Cuban composer and educator Keyla Orozco’s international career has made her recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, Fromm Music Foundation Composition Grant (Harvard University), Cintas Fellowship, and MacDowel Residency Fellowship, among other awards. Orozco has been commissioned multiple times in the Netherlands and the US, and her works have been performed by internationally acclaimed ensembles. Orozco graduated in Composition at the University of the Arts in Havana. Later, she followed advanced composition studies at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague and Conservatory of Amsterdam.
“I called this Souvenirs because it is inspired by cities I have visited or lived in to the time of composing this work. Some parts were made or sketched during a visit to that specific place. In some cases the inspiration is from a certain kind of music or rhythm typical from that city. I tried to give each piece its own personality; therefore the style of the pieces differ from one another. The cities of my Inspiration: Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Caracas, New York, Washington DC, Havana, Santiago de Cuba, and My Inner City.” – Keyla Orozco
Kirsten Volness: little tiny stone, full of blue fire
Kirsten Volness’ emotive soundscapes integrate electronics and modern composition techniques with jazz and pop influences to create intimate listening that is “nothing short of gorgeous.” (New York Arts). Also a sought-after performer, producer, and a passionate promoter of multimedia, Volness has cultivated and curated numerous festivals and series featuring the work of interdisciplinary artists. A graduate of the Universities of Michigan and Minnesota (summa cum laude), her teaching history includes positions at Reed College and the University of Rhode Island with guest appearances at Brown University, the University of Michigan, and Interlochen Arts Camp.
About little tiny stone, full of blue fire:
“little tiny stone, full of blue fire takes it name from Dorothea Lasky’s poem ‘Beyond the Blue Seas,’ which I found after pondering the breathtaking beauty of YInMn blue—a pigment discovered in a fire during a chemistry experiment at OSU. The poem serves as a point of inspiration and departure, exploring surreal images of a long journey, sacrifice, self-actualization, transformation, and cyclic inevitability.” – Kirsten Volness