Friday, October 27, 2017

University of New Orleans Music Professor Awarded Coveted Commission from Library of Congress

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University of New Orleans music professor Yotam Haber is one of six composers to be awarded a commission by the Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress. Haber will be writing a work for soprano and chamber ensemble for the New York-based Collide-O-Scope Music. The coveted commissions are granted jointly by the foundation and the performing organizations that will present performances of the newly composed works.

“I am absolutely thrilled and honored to have received the Koussevitzky commission,” Haber said. “I’m proud to be in the company of five truly inspiring composers who have also received it this year.”

Haber is an internationally-renowned composer and an assistant professor of music at the University of New Orleans. After receiving his doctorate in composition from Cornell University, Haber was awarded two ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Awards and the ASCAP Frederick Fennell Prize. He received a Rome Prize Fellowship from the American Academy in Rome, as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship, among others. Haber’s commissions have come from ensembles and festivals in the U.S. and Europe, including works for JACK Quartet, Bang on a Can, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and an evening-length piece for the Alabama Symphony.

Serge Koussevitzky, conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1924 to 1949, was a champion of contemporary music. Throughout his distinguished career, he played a vital role in the creation of new works by commissioning such composers as Béla Bartók, Leonard Bernstein and Igor Stravinsky. He established the Koussevitzky Foundation in the Library of Congress in 1949 to continue his lifelong commitment to composers and new music. Applications for commissions are accepted annually.

There are nearly 500 of these commissioned works, created by some of the world’s most celebrated composers, in the library’s unparalleled music collections. Among the commissions are examples of the composers’ most iconic works, including Bartók’s “Concerto for Orchestra;” Benjamin Britten’s opera “Peter Grimes;” Olivier Messiaen’s “Turangalîla-Symphonie;” and Arnold Schoenberg’s cantata “A Survivor from Warsaw.” The library holds the composers’ original manuscripts of these works.

The Koussevitzky commissioning program is designed primarily for established composers who have demonstrated considerable merit through their works and for orchestras and chamber groups that have a record of excellence in the performance of contemporary music. For more information, visit