Missy Mazzoli, whose acclaimed works, including three operas, have propelled her to the forefront of contemporary music, will be the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s next Mead Composer-in-Residence.
Her two-year appointment, by Music Director Riccardo Muti, begins July 1 and runs through June 30, 2020. In her new post, Mazzoli will curate MusicNOW, the CSO’s contemporary music series, and will provide artistic guidance for contemporary music commissions and programming, special events and artistic collaborations. She also will receive a commission to write a new work for the CSO in the 2019-20 season, as well as a commission for a new work for MusicNOW. In addition, she will collaborate with the CSO’s Negaunee Music Institute and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the CSO’s training ensemble.
“The CSO’s Mead Composer-in-Residence position represents a significant vote of confidence from a legendary musical institution,” said Mazzoli in a statement. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to develop a relationship with an orchestra that is infinitely deeper than the brief window of time allotted to a composer in a typical rehearsal process. I’m also excited to promote composers I feel are deserving of a wider audience through my curation of the MusicNOW series and through my role as an adviser on commissions and new music for the orchestra. I am truly honored and energized by this opportunity, and I look forward to connecting with the CSO and the broader Chicago community.”
Based in Brooklyn, Mazzoli, 37, has won many accolades, including a 2015 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Award, four ASCAP Young Composer Awards and a Fulbright grant. She previously held positions as composer-in-residence with Opera Philadelphia and Gotham Chamber Opera. She attended the Yale School of Music, the Royal Conservatory of the Hague and Boston University, where her teachers included David Lang, Louis Andriessen and Aaron Jay Kernis.
Her opera works have been especially lauded. Her latest, Proving Up, received its world premiere in January from the Washington National Opera, and Breaking the Waves, based on the Palme d’Or-winning 1996 film by Lars von Trier, bowed at Opera Philadelphia in 2016 and won the inaugural Best New Opera Award from the Music Critics Association of North America.
Mazzoli has received commissions for world premieres of new orchestral works from the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony. Her orchestral works also have been performed at the 2017 BBC Proms and by the Sydney Symphony, Basel Sinfonietta, Minnesota Orchestra and at the Cabrillo Festival.
The composer’s works already have become an integral part of Chicago’s new music scene. Her acclaimed first opera, Song from the Uproar, was presented by Chicago Fringe Opera in 2016, and Mazzoli and her band Victoire performed a concert at Millennium Park in 2010. In 2015, Mazzoli and Victoire performed and recorded her third album, “Vespers for a New Dark Age,” with Glenn Kotche, percussionist and member of the Chicago-based alt-rock band Wilco. Most recently, the Chicago Composers Orchestra performed Mazzoli’s These Worlds in Us at St. James Cathedral in May.
The Mead Composer-in-Residence position is endowed by Cindy Sargent and the Sally Mead Hands Foundation. Support for MusicNOW is provided by the Irving Harris Foundation, the Sally Mead Hands Foundation, the Julian Family Foundation, Cindy Sargent and the Zell Family Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust and the Aaron Copland Fund for Music.