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Hannibal Lokumbe Selected for Music Alive Residency with The Philadelphia Orchestra

December 22, 2016

Program Embeds Composers Deeply into Orchestras and Communities for

Three-Year Period, Beginning in 2016-17 Season

(Philadelphia, December 22, 2016)—Hannibal Lokumbe and The Philadelphia Orchestra are one of only five composer and orchestra pairs selected through a peer review panel process to participate in Music Alive, a national three-year composer-orchestra residency program of the League of American Orchestras and New Music USA.

Beginning in the 2016-17 season, this new iteration of the Music Alive program prioritizes collaborative work and immersive experiences for composers, orchestra musicians, artistic leadership, and community members. Music Alive hopes to demonstrate—through active partnership with the participating residency pairings—the power and value of living composers working at the center of American orchestras.

Philadelphia Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore said, “We are honored that Music Alive has chosen The Philadelphia Orchestra and the composer Hannibal for this multi-year collaborative experience with our city. Hannibal empowers and inspires communities in a way that connects us all at an emotional and spiritual level. In 2015, during our world premiere of his One Land, One River, One People, we saw compelling and moving evidence of the ties he can fashion for audiences in settings from detention centers to the concert stage.” 

Hannibal’s project, entitled Healing Tones, is a community-commission that will engage Philadelphians in writing a “hymn for the city.” This hymn will focus on healing communities that are experiencing trauma, homelessness, and divisiveness. This includes inmates of the Philadelphia Detention Center, guests of Broad Street Ministry, and the youth of Philadelphia who are the future. These groups represent collaborators in the Orchestra’s HEAR initiative, which invests in projects that utilize music as a tool for Health, Education, Access, and Research. The world premiere of this new oratorio, Healing Tones, will be part of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2018-19 concert season.

Hannibal, a composer and accomplished jazz trumpeter, has a long history with The Philadelphia Orchestra. He was one of eight composers commissioned to create works honoring the Orchestra’s Centennial Celebration, and the resultant work, One Heart Beating, was premiered in 1999. 

“We live in an era of unsurpassed compositional invention, as composers break musical barriers and redefine the rules,” said League of American Orchestras President and CEO Jesse Rosen. “This new iteration of Music Alive takes engagement several steps further, building opportunities for cohorts of composers to learn from each other, and for entire orchestra staffs and musicians, as well as their communities, to interact closely with these talented composers-in-residence.”  

“Music Alive is driven by a belief in the power of new work,” said New Music USA President and CEO Ed Harsh. “These new residencies will demonstrate even more powerfully than ever before the role that collaboration with living artists can play in vitalizing orchestras’ connections to their communities.” 

The newly configured Music Alive program was reimagined as a result of an extensive survey of leading professionals deeply experienced in relationships between composers and orchestras. The survey culminated in a 2015 convening by New Music USA and the League of American Orchestras hosted by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Colleagues in the new music and orchestra worlds met to identify and discuss critical challenges that the program could address directly. This iteration of Music Alive, and its residency priorities, directly emerged from these conversations.

More than visiting artists, the composers in residence will be centrally embedded within their orchestras, and their roles will be incorporated directly into the orchestras’ operations, programming and curatorial decisions, and activities in their communities. Dedicated funding will be attached to the residency priorities, including workshopping, rehearsing, and developing new works or performing existing works by living composers; mentoring emerging composers through readings, shadowing, and other mentoring opportunities; and creating public access to the artistic process through open rehearsals, access to various media, and other points of entry. The composers, orchestra leadership teams, and program staff are also committed to engaging in a cohort-based planning process around the residency priorities, which will include virtual gatherings as a group several times per year, as well as an annual in-person meeting at the League’s National Conference.

The five new Music Alive composer-orchestra pairings are:

Lembit Beecher and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra

Anna Clyne and the Berkeley Symphony

Stacy Garrop and the Champaign-Urbana Symphony

Hannibal Lokumbe and The Philadelphia Orchestra

Jerod Tate and the South Dakota Symphony

Panelists for the residencies were:

Jenny Bilfield, President and CEO, Washington Performing Arts

Avner Dorman, Composer and Music Director, CityMusic Cleveland Chamber Orchestra

Sarah Lutman, Founder, Lutman & Associates

Shulamit Ran, Composer

Kathleen van Bergen, CEO and President, Artis—Naples

Review criteria for the residencies were:

Artistry: the artistic merit of the composer’s work and orchestra’s performances

Opportunity: the partnership’s potential for depth and innovation in residency work and in tackling the

            thematic priorities

Capacity and commitment: the ability of the orchestra and composer to make the residency a success and

            to adhere to two core commitments—having a centrally embedded composer and a cohort-based

            planning process

Music Alive

Launched in 1999 as a joint program between Meet the Composer (now New Music USA) and the League of American Orchestras, Music Alive has been a steward and partner in a multitude of projects that foster strong working relationships between American orchestras and accomplished composers across the country. In its 17 years, the program has supported 115 composers, 77 orchestras, and 119 distinct residencies. Music Alive is made possible due to a $1.5 million lead grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, the Amphion Foundation, and the ASCAP Foundation Bart Howard Fund.

League of American Orchestras

The League of American Orchestras leads, supports, and champions America’s orchestras and the vitality of the music they perform. Its diverse membership of more than 2,000 organizations and individuals across North America runs the gamut from world-renowned symphonies to community groups, from summer festivals to student and youth ensembles, from conservatories to libraries, from businesses serving orchestras to individuals who love symphonic music. The only national organization dedicated solely to the orchestral experience, the League is a nexus of knowledge and innovation, advocacy, and leadership advancement. Its conferences and events, award-winning Symphony magazine, website, and other publications inform people around the world about orchestral activity and developments. Founded in 1942 and chartered by Congress in 1962, the League links a national network of thousands of instrumentalists, conductors, managers and administrators, board members, volunteers, and business partners. Visit americanorchestras.org.

New Music USA

New Music USA is devoted to fostering the creation, dissemination, and enjoyment of new American music. New Music USA places special emphasis on broadening the public community for the music and musicians whom we serve. Advocacy in the broadest sense is at the heart of all of New Music USA’s work. It is inherent in the work of the online magazine NewMusicBox and radio station Counterstream, in all of New Music USA’s grantmaking activity—which distributes more than one million dollars each year to the field—and in New Music USA’s role as a key voice in the national and international scenes. Visit NewMusicUSA.org.


Jay Nachman                                                                                     

phone: 215.893.3136                                                                       

e-mail: jnachman@philorch.org                                                      

Patricia O’Kelly

phone: 202.999.9806

e-mail: pokelly@philorch.org

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