Support for the 125 Commissions Project is provided by members of Carnegie Hall’s Composer Club.
In his ninth season as music director of the American Composers Orchestra (ACO), the wide-ranging and versatile George Manahan has an esteemed career that embraces everything from opera to the concert stage, the traditional to the contemporary. In addition to his work with ACO, Manahan continues his commitment to working with young musicians as director of orchestral studies at the Manhattan School of Music as well as guest conductor at the Curtis Institute of Music. He also serves as music director of Portland Opera.
Manahan was music director at New York City Opera for 14 seasons. His recording activities include the premiere recording of Steve Reich’s Tehillim for ECM; Edward Thomas’s Desire Under the Elms, which was nominated for a Grammy; Joe Jackson’s Will Power; and Tobias Picker’s Emmeline. His enthusiasm for contemporary music continues today; he has conducted numerous world premieres, including Charles Wuorinen’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories, David Lang’s modern painters, and the New York premiere of Richard Danielpour’s Margaret Garner. As music director of the Richmond Symphony in Virginia for 12 years, he was honored four times by the American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP) for his commitment to 20th-century music.
Since 1997, Grammy-nominated wind quintet Imani Winds has taken a unique path, carving out a distinct presence in the classical music world with its dynamic playing, culturally poignant programming, adventurous collaborations, and inspirational outreach programs. With a deep commitment to commissioning new work, the group is enriching the traditional wind quintet repertoire while meaningfully bridging American, European, African, and Latin traditions. From Mendelssohn to Piazzolla, Wayne Shorter to Stravinsky, Imani Winds seeks to engage new music and new voices into the modern classical idiom.
Imani Winds’ touring schedule has taken the quintet around the globe. At home, the group has performed in the nation’s major concert venues, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, and Walt Disney Concert Hall, to name a few. In recent seasons, the group has traveled internationally, with tours in China, Singapore, Brazil, Australia, and Europe.
Imani Winds continues its Legacy Commissioning Project, in which the ensemble commissions and premieres new works for wind quintet written by a variety of composers of diverse musical backgrounds. Recently, a concert-length new work by Imani Winds member Jeff Scott was written for the ensemble, jazz trio, and string quartet entitled The Passion, which musically explores the idea of a fictitious meeting between J. S. Bach and John Coltrane.
Through 2018, Imani Winds is the University of Chicago’s Don Michael Randel Ensemble-in-Residence, which includes in-depth collaborations with wind students, members of the chamber music department, composition majors, and the Hyde Park community.
In the summer of 2010, the ensemble launched its annual Chamber Music Festival. The program, set on the campus of Mannes School of Music, brings together young instrumentalists and composers from across North America and beyond for an intense exploration and performance of traditional and new chamber music compositions. The participants have gone on to successes around the world, ranging from winning positions in orchestras, expanding entrepreneurial endeavors, founding their own music educational programs, and forming their own chamber music ensembles.
Meaghan Burke is a cellist, vocalist, and composer working in the space between contemporary music, improvised music, and songwriting. She is a founding member of The Rhythm Method, a contemporary, feminist string quartet of composer-performers. She’s also the lead singer and cellist of the avant-grunge band Forever House, which will release its debut album, Eaves, this month.
Her collaboratively composing trio, Dead Language, explores the use of objects and toys, as well as classical instruments, in order to deconstruct ideas of “serious music” and entrepreneurship. Burke has released two solo albums of her songs for cello, voice, and other things: the lush, chamber folk of Creature Comforts in 2017 and her stripped-down debut Other People’s Ghosts in 2010. She is also a member of the Vienna-based songwriter collective Loose Lips Sink Ships.
As a cellist, Burke has worked closely with composers such as Muhal Richard Abrams, Lewis Nielsen, John Zorn, and Butch Morris, and plays with many new-music ensembles in New York City. As a member of the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra, she has performed under the batons of Sir Simon Rattle, Matthias Pintscher, and Pierre Boulez.
Burke holds degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna (MUK), and Yale University. Also an avid writer and translator, her English translation of Peter Ablinger’s collected writings will be published by next year.