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A Tempo - Young Composers Get Boost from New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Program

It's a rare opportunity when an emerging composer gets extended rehearsal time with a symphony orchestra to work through a new piece. So the chance to spend a week preparing a new work with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and hearing feedback directly from musicians offered an unusual learning experience for a select group of composers earlier this month. 

"Normally things are done so quickly, and rehearsal just flies by, and before you know it, the concert just happens," said Alyssa Weinberg, one of the four young composers chosen to participate in this year's Edward T. Cone Composition Institute. "But this orchestra has really been taking the time to get to know our pieces and make sure that everything is exactly the way we want it. It's a very unique experience in terms of working with an orchestra."

Together with Saad Haddad, Sam Lipman and Noah Kaplan, Weinberg spent a week at Princeton University going through rehearsals and one-on-one sessions with Princeton composition professor and Institute Director Steven Mackey to refine her composition, Tereza Slumbers. The NJSO performed the work at a concert July 15, alongside Haddad's Takht, Lipman's Song of the Bhagavan and Kaplan's Forest Through Forest, with guest conductor JoAnn Falletta at the podium. 

Conductor JoAnn Falletta rehearses "Four Iconoclastic Episodes" by Steven Mackey, director of the Edward T. Cone Composition Institute, featuring Mackey on electric guitar and NJSO Concertmaster Eric Wyrick on violin.

This week on A Tempo (Saturday at 7 pm), host Rachel Katz sits down with the composers for a roundtable discussing the institute and the opportunities and challenges facing them as composers. She also speaks with Mackey and Falletta.

Participants in the 2017 NJSO Edward T. Cone Composition Institute (l-r) Saad Haddad, Noah Kaplan, Alyssa Weinberg, Sam Lipman and Institute Director Steven Mackey.

Additional comments from the roundtable discussion, including thoughts on the current landscape facing composers.

Rachel Katz is the host of A Tempo which airs Saturdays at 7 pm.
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