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Kaleidoscope will commission 20 American composers for premieres in 2020.


Kaleidoscope is excited to present 20×2020, a series of concerts in 2020 celebrating 20 world premieres by Andy Akiho, Anna Clyne, Augusta Read Thomas, Billy Childs, Christopher Cerrone, David Hertzberg, Hannah Lash, Joel Hoffman, Julia Adolphe, Krists Auznieks, Libby Larsen, Melinda Wagner, Melissa Dunphy, Natalie Dietterich, Pamela Z, Peter Shin, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Stephen Hartke, Ted Hearne, and Will Healy.

2020 will be an important year in many ways, and we have commissioned each composer to write a piece for Kaleidoscope focusing on a major current issue that is personally important to them such as climate change, violent conflicts, or inequality. Each composer has been asked to write a piece of their choosing between 5 and 15 minutes, using between 2 and 15 instruments including 2 violins, 1 viola, 1 cello, 1 bass, 1 flute, 1 oboe, 1 clarinet, 1 bassoon, 1 trumpet, 1 horn, 1 trombone, 1 piano, and 2 percussion, with standard doublings. So, the combination of pieces we will receive should be quite diverse in terms of instrumentation and inspiration.

Almost all of the concerts Kaleidoscope performs are free or donation-based so we can reach the largest and most diverse audience possible without financial barriers for anyone. We have also found that our focus on performing music by living composers has helped us attract younger and more diverse audiences, who we want to feel just as welcome as everyone else. Although Kaleidoscope has primarily performed music by living composers we have commissioned only a handful of pieces so far. Just as the great works of the past were made possible by the generous support of others, we believe that as a performing arts organization we have a responsibility to find the resources to commission and support today’s composers.

Why are we commissioning 20 new works? Kaleidoscope believes that contemporary music is the translation of people’s current life experiences into sound, and as creators of this music, living composers are essential voices of our era. Their music represents both the good and the bad aspects of our world in an honest way and helps us reflect on the parts of society we want to keep and the parts we want to change. With so much strife and conflict in many areas of the world, giving voice to our experiences and reflecting together through art is more important than ever. We hope commissioning these 20 new works for 2020 will allow our audience to experience renewed hope and positivity in the world around them, understanding that the commonalities that unite human beings around the world are greater than the barriers that divide us.

Project Media

Peter Shin—Screaming Shapes
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Kaleidoscope presented the west coast premiere of this piece in our 2017-18 season in collaboration with Iris Company. Shin writes:

“Audiogenic epilepsy, extreme puppetry, fricatives on the verge of intelligibility, and a guessing game of identifying who is doing what. Based on a poem by Nick Volpert outlining his visceral response to the 2016 United States sociopolitical events, a live amplified quartet duels with an electronic quartet, flickering between harmonious commingling and bouts of grating friction.”

Hannah Lash—Music for Loss
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This video is from the first program of Kaleidoscope’s 2018-2019 season. It was first performed in 2011 by the Yale Philharmonia in New Haven, CT and deals with the loss of a loved one in the composer’s life.

Christopher Cerrone—High Windows
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This performance is from our 2017-18 season. Cerrone writes:

The title High Windows is a quote, and has two meanings. It is a literal reference to the windows of St. Ann’s Church in Brooklyn, the reverberant space for which I composed the piece; it also refers to a Philip Larkin poem in which the older author sums up the tumult of his youth with the lines:

[…] And immediately

Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:
The sun-comprehending glass,
And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows
Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.

Start and End Dates



Los Angeles, California

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Los Angeles, California
Founded in 2014, Kaleidoscope is a conductorless orchestra dedicated to enriching lives through exhilarating concert experiences, artistic excellence, musician leadership, and connecting with the diverse communities of Los Angeles. Recently featured in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, Musical America, and Symphony Magazine, Kaleidoscope performed 77 concerts in the past year in venues…

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