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CULTIVATE – emerging composers institute and concert

The musical future starts here! An intensive, annual creative lab and public concert of 6 World Premieres


Past CULTIVATE Fellows tell our story:

I’ve been to several other summer programs that are similar to this one, but what makes CULTIVATE different from the others is the close 1-on-1 attention and the abundance of rehearsal time. Even for these kinds of summer programs, it’s pretty unusual to have this much of an opportunity to really work with the performers, and that’s what sets CULTIVATE apart in my mind. EMILY COOLEY (2014)

Our daily rehearsals with the Music from Copland House ensemble provided a unique forum in which we could not only work with each musician individually, but also try new experiments, and continue to polish our musical pieces – something that is rarely possible given severe time and resource constraints. POLINA NAZAYKINSJAYA (2015)

Beyond the rehearsals, we received insightful artistic guidance through group discussions, mentoring sessions, and career-related presentations. GITY RAZAZ (2015)

Composers cannot create in a vacuum, and require both performers and audiences. Copland House’s CULTIVATE emerging composers institute furnishes meaningful contact with both, as it embraces the entire artistic process, directly linking creation and execution with public performance and preservation (through recording). Fundamental to composing is understanding how performers interact with their instruments, relate to the works they play, and communicate their understanding of the music to the listening public. CULTIVATE provides the necessary partnership as well as the luxury of time to allow Composer Fellows to share ideas, and experiment “hands-on” with highly-accomplished performers in the creation of their work – all in a collegial, risk-free environment that encourages discovery. Our funding request focuses on support for the closing CULTIVATE concert that features the World Premieres of the six new works created by our Composer Fellows.

Each year, six gifted composers at the start of their professional careers are selected to participate in CULTIVATE, an intensive, week-long creative workshop and mentoring program directed by the Grammy-nominated composer-clarinetist Derek Bermel, and taking place in upstate New York at Aaron Copland’s National Historic Landmark home and its satellite venue at the historic Merestead estate nearby (this year, June 6-12). Copland House covers all costs of Fellows’ participation, preparation of performance materials, travel, accommodations, and meals.

Fellows each compose one 5- to 7-minute, small-ensemble composition (any combination of clarinet, violin, cello, and/or piano), which serves as the core of their work. CULTIVATE consists of daily individual and collective rehearsals and work sessions exploring and refining the new pieces with Bermel and the Music from Copland House ensemble (MCH), as well evening discussion sessions with prominent, forward-thinking music executives and arts leaders about practical, professional, and career matters.

CULTIVATE culminates in a sold-out public concert and live recording featuring the World Premieres of all the Fellows’ new compositions. This concert generates significant additional exposure for the Fellows beyond the live audience, as it will be broadcast by WWFM (Princeton, NJ).  MCH also often performs CULTIVATE works at around America. Fellows gain recording experience in working directly with the audio engineer on the preparation of the recording of their CULTIVATE works.

Project Media

STEVEN SNOWDEN: “Steam Man on the Prairie” (2014) for clarinet, piano, and electronics
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Features: Copland House

Written for CULTIVATE 2014; World Premiere, performed by Music from Copland House (6/8/14)

GITY RAZAZ: a prayer for the abandoned [after RUmi] (2015)
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Features: Copland House

Written for CULTIVATE 2015, World Premiere, performed by Music from Copland House (6/7/15)

Start and End Dates



Cortlandt Manor, New York

Project Created By

Cortlandt Manor, New York
Inaugurated in 1998, Copland House is an award-winning creative center for American music based at Aaron Copland’s National Historic Landmark home in upstate New York. Copland House emerged from a genuine grassroots movement of local townspeople and municipal officials who envisioned Copland’s longtime home becoming the living, enduring embodiment of his seminal artistic and personal…

In Collaboration With

Composer; CULTIVATE 2016 Fellow
Princeton, New Jersey
Composer; CULTIVATE 2016 Fellow
Hamilton, New York
Composer; CULTIVATE 2016 Fellow
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Compsoer; CULTIVATE 2016 Fellow
Brooklyn, New York


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