James Ra, 2016-17 Composer in Residence
James Ra’s music has been described as “coursing with adrenaline-pumping energy.” Of the New Jersey Symphony performance of Awakened Spirit, The Star Ledger wrote, “Once it caught sight of the end...it was a fast sprint to the tape.” In Japan, when the Curtis Chamber Orchestra took his Concerto Grosso No. 1 on tour, they wrote: “the Concerto Grosso No. 1 had a tremendous impact on the audience. Its themes of love, life, and death were dramatically expressed.” This work subsequently aired on National Public Radio. The Philadelphia Inquirerwrote, “This is a composer to watch.”
Ra has received commissions and performances from many recognized artists such as Soovin Kim, Ju Young Baek, Julius Jeongwon Kim, Dami Kim, Patrick Jee, Michelle Kim, and the Arditti Quartet among many others. Some of his songs were performed at Princeton University as part of their Atelier under the direction of Richard Danielpour and Toni Morrison. His music has been performed by various members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Baltimore Symphony and Seoul Philharmonic in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Weill Hall, Merkin Hall, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Philadelphia Convention Center, Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, Seoul Arts Hall and IBK Hall in Seoul, Arts Hall in Busan, Daejeon Arts Hall, Tong Yeong International Music Festival, as well as in France, India and Turkey. It has been recorded on the Stomp (EMI), Urtext and Sony labels. His most recent projects are to compose a work for orchestra commissioned by Franklin and Marshall College and a collaboration with Peter Paul and Mary.
He was the Young Composer-in-Residence at Music From Angel Fire under the direction of Ida Kavafian and has also served as Composer-in-Residence for the Korean Concert Society in Washington D.C. He has collaborated with the Vienna Boys Choir on a documentary film scheduled to air on PBS. He is currently Composer-in-Residence of Ensemble 212 in New York and Ensemble V9 in Korea.
Ra is the recipient of a MacDowell residency, the International NPSS Composition Concours Grand Prize, the Manhattan Prize, the Franklin & Marshall College Composition Prize, the Louisa Knapp Fellowship, the John Brenton Fellowship, a scholarship to the Aspen Music Festival, a fellowship at the Academy of Villecroze, and was a winner of the New Jersey Symphony Composition & Conducting Institute Competition.
Born in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, his teachers include Richard Danielpour, Ned Rorem, George Tsontakis and John Carbon. He holds degrees from Franklin and Marshall College (BM), the Curtis Institute of Music (Diploma) and the Manhattan School of Music (MM & DMA).
Jeffrey Mumford, 2017-18 Composer in Residence
Born in Washington, D.C. in 1955, composer Jeffrey Mumford has received numerous fellowships, grants, awards and commissions. Awards include the "Academy Award in Music" from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, a Fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, and an ASCAP Aaron Copland Scholarship. He was also the winner of the inaugural National Black Arts Festival/Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Composition Competition. Other grants have been awarded by the Ohio Arts Council, Meet the Composer, the Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund for Music Inc. , the ASCAP Foundation, and the University of California.
Mumford's most notable commissions include those from the San Antonio Symphony, Washington Performing Arts, the Fulcrum Point New Music Project (through New Music USA), Duo Harpverk (Iceland), the Sphinx Consortium, the Cincinnati Symphony, the VERGE Ensemble /National Gallery of Art/Contemporary Music Forum, the Argento Chamber Ensemble, Ole Bohn, the Haydn Trio Eisenstadt (Vienna), the Network for New Music, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a consortium of presenters consisting of the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Chamber Music Columbus (OH.) and Omus Hirshbein, the Nancy Ruyle Dodge Charitable Trust, the Meet the Composer/Arts Endowment Commissioning Music/USA the National Symphony Orchestra (twice), Cincinnati radio station WGUC, the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation, the Fromm Music Foundation, and the McKim Fund in the Library of Congress. His music has been performed extensively, by major orchestras, soloists, and ensembles, both in the United States and abroad, including London, Paris, Reykjavik, Vienna, & The Hague.
Recent and forthcoming performances include amid fleeting pockets of billowing radiance, by ‘cellist Christine Lamprea, in Jacksonville, Fl., and at the Krannert Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, three windows for soprano. ‘cello & harp, by Alyson Cambridge, Christine Lamprea and Ina Zdorovetchi, respectively at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in soft echoes . . . a world awaits, by Sound Energy, this season, in Boston, and by members of Ensemble 212, in New York, revisting variazioni elegiaci . . . once more by ‘cellist Deborah Pae, in New York and Elyria, OH, an expanding distance of multiple voices, by violinist Luosha Fang, in New York, undiluted days, by The Meadowlark Trio, in New York, eight musings . . . revisiting memories, by violinist Caroline Chin, in Toledo & Lorain OH., and a portrait concert of his music in Boston (funded by New Music USA). As well, noted Italian pianist, Pina Napolitano will include his two Elliott Carter tributes in her European concerts this and next season, with plans to record them as part of a disc of American piano music.
Current projects include, verdant cycles of deepening spring, a violin concerto for Caroline Chin, a new string quartet for an international consortium (including ensembles from London, Berlin, Stuttgart, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Glasgow, Boston & New York, of radiances blossoming in expanding air, for ‘cello & chamber orchestra, for Deborah Pae,. unfolding waves, a piano concerto for Italian pianist Pina Napolitano, and the ongoing set of “rhapsodies” for ‘cello & strings. His 2013 residency at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C, included three concerts featuring his music as well as lectures at three area universities and his alma mater, the Sidwell Friends School. He was (2008) Composer-in Residence at the Alba (Italy) Music Festival and The Chamber Music Conference and Composers Forum of the East (Bennington, VT), and returned there in 2013. As well, his program notes (commissioned by the Boston Symphony and Tanglewood) for three works of Elliott Carter were published as part of a celebration of Mr. Carter’s music. Mumford has taught at the Washington Conservatory of Music, served as Artist-in-Residence at Bowling Green State University, and served as assistant professor of composition and Composer-in-Residence at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. He is currently Distinguished Professor at Lorain County Community College in Northern Ohio. Mr. Mumford is published by Theodore Presser Co. and Quicklight Music.