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CULTIVATE 2020 emerging composers institute

The Future is HERE!


Several 2019 Fellows tell our story:

Flannery CunninghamCULTIVATE was an invaluable experience. It provided a rare opportunity for several rounds of rehearsal and revision with incredible and thoughtful musicians, and experimenting and hearing the effects of changes the next day, not weeks or months later. I deeply appreciated the knowledge and candor of Derek Bermel and visiting industry professionals all week for a look into the field that emerging composers badly need. The warmth of Music from Copland House, impressive range of my colleagues’ compositional voices, and clear audience engagement at the end-of-week concert made for an all-around exciting and rewarding experience.

Nina ShekharCULTIVATE was one of my favorite musical experiences – extremely well-run and organized, and the schedule perfectly balanced so that I felt inspired and motivated throughout and never overwhelmed. Working with Music from Copland House was truly wonderful, and it’s rare to have so much rehearsal time and the ability to workshop pieces with such a world-class ensemble. Having this safe, nurturing environment where the Fellows could share feedback with each other made CULTIVATE so special.

Charles Peck:   A whole week devoted to experimenting with and refining one piece is a rare gift. Each day, I went to rehearsal with a new batch of ideas and left with a better piece. The Music from Copland House performers were amazing collaborators, offering a welcoming spirit, thoughtful perspective, and exceptional musicianship. An absolutely wild ride; I couldn’t have asked more!

Now in its 9th season, CULTIVATE embraces the entire artistic process, from creation and development to public performance and preservation. Having built the exacting yet collegial experience about which all our Fellows rave, CULTIVATE is a coveted destination for gifted composers beginning their professional careers. CULTIVATE 2020 takes place June 7-15 at Copland’s National Historic Landmark home in upstate New York and its primary public venue at the nearby Merestead estate.  A peer-review composer jury selects six composers for Copland House’s flagship, all-scholarship, creative workshop and mentoring program. Fellows are commissioned for a chamber composition (5’-7’) as the focus of an intensive week of daily individual and collective rehearsals and work sessions mentored by CULTIVATE’s Grammy-nominated Director Derek Bermel and Music from Copland House. After the new works are read, Fellows dive deeply into a weeklong immersion with Bermel and MCH preparing, considering, and revising the pieces in a safe-space combining rigor and community to encourage risk and experimentation. Enhancing the week’s experience are evening, career-centered discussions with prominent, visionary industry leaders (publishing, recording, management, promotion, law). Ample daily down-time allows for Fellows’ reflection. Two World Premiere performances of each fully-honed work conclude the week on MCH’s series at Merestead and the City University of New York’s Graduate Center, which telecasts that concert on CUNY-TV to a large regional audience, providing Fellows with considerable media exposure, and portfolio-ready audio and three-camera productions. CULTIVATE Fellowships cover all the week’s expenses:  composer participation, commissioning, copying, airfare, local transportation, accommodations, food, rehearsals, work sessions, events attendance, mentorship, recordings, videos, etc.

Project Media

Highwire (2019) by Will Healy
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Features: Will Healy

A bravura work for mixed octet of winds, strings, percussion, and piano, written for and performed live by Contemporaneous.

Boreal (2019, a CULTIVATE commission) by Flannery Cunningham
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An evocative, haunting work for clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and electronics, inspired by Scottish Highlands bag-piping and singing, written for Copland House’s CULTIVATE 2019, premiered and recorded live by Music from Copland House.

Soll ich mit dir gehen (2018) by Baldwin Giang
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Features: Baldwin Giang

A work for violin, viola, cello, and piano, written for L’Ecole d’arts Americaines de Fontainebleau. The piece re-imagines “Der Leiermann,” the finale of Schubert’s song cycle “Winterreise.””My piano quartet,” the composer explained,” takes as its starting point the question of what would happen if, rather than just one protagonist, a group of people meet Schubert’s hurdy-gurdy player? What would be the dynamic within the collective if, in the face of a shared fatalism, they ask themselves ‘soll ich mit dir gehen’?” (“should I go with you?”)

Start and End Dates



Cortlandt Manor, NY, New York

Project Created By

Cortlandt Manor, New York
MUSIC FROM COPLAND HOUSE is the internationally-acclaimed touring, resident ensemble based at Aaron Copland’s National Historic Landmark home, an award-winning creative center for American music. Hailed by The New York Times for “all the richness of its offerings” and “illuminating essential truths about the music,” Music from Copland House occupies a special place as the…

In Collaboration With

CULTIVATE 2020 Composer Fellow
Brooklyn, New York
CULTIVATE 2020 Composer Fellow
New York, New York
CULTIVATE 2020 Composer Fellow
New York, New York
CULTIVATE 2020 Composer Fellow
Chicago, Illinois


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