Award-winning Bay Area native’s work to be performed by the orchestra next year
Nashville, Tenn. (October 30, 2015) – The Nashville Symphony has named Bay Area composer Gabriella Smith as its inaugural Composer Lab & Workshop Fellow.
Smith was one of five young American composers invited to Nashville earlier this month to participate in the Nashville Symphony’s Composer Lab & Workshop, an intensive three-day program designed to educate emerging composers on every facet of working with a major American orchestra.
As the Composer Lab fellow, Smith will return to Nashville several times next year to work with music director Giancarlo Guerrero and the orchestra. As part of her fellowship, Smith’s original composition Tumblebird Contrails will be performed by the Nashville Symphony as part of its Aegis Sciences Classical Series next year.
“Over the course of just a few short days during this workshop, Gabriella Smith established herself as a unique talent with incredible potential and an eagerness to learn – precisely the type of young, promising composer that this initiative was designed to discover,” said Giancarlo Guerrero. “Smith’s music is bold, original and suggests exciting new directions for American music in the 21st century. We are thrilled to welcome her to the Nashville Symphony family.”
The 24 year-old Smith is a doctoral candidate at Princeton University and a 2015/16 ArtistYear Fellow at the Curtis Institute of Music, where she is dedicating a citizen-artist year of national service in the Philadelphia region.
“An innovative program like the Composer Lab speaks volumes about the Nashville Symphony’s commitment to expanding American orchestral repertoire, which is something I feel very strongly about as a composer,” said Smith. “Receiving this recognition is a tremendous honor, and I’m looking forward to returning to Nashville next year to work with Maestro Guerrero and hearing my work performed by the Nashville Symphony.”
Smith’s music has been performed throughout the United States and internationally by eighth blackbird, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra conducted by Marin Alsop, PRISM Quartet, Aizuri Quartet and Ensemble39, among many others. The recipient of the 2014 ASCAP Leo Kaplan Award, three ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards (2009, 2013, 2015) and the Theodore Presser Foundation Music Award (2012), she earned the First Place Prize in the 2009 Pacific Musical Society Composition Competition. Smith received her Bachelor of Music from Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with David Ludwig, Jennifer Higdon and Richard Danielpour.
Click here to hear a clip of Tumblebird Contrails on Sound Cloud and learn more about all five of the Composer Lab & Workshop participants on YouTube.
Gabriella Smith (b. 1991) is a composer from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her current commissions include upcoming performances by the Aizuri Quartet, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Latitude49, ZOFO, Gabriel Cabezas, and the New York Youth Symphony. Gabriella’s music has been performed throughout the United States and internationally by eighth blackbird, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra conducted by Marin Alsop, PRISM Quartet, Aizuri Quartet, and Ensemble39, among others. Gabriella is the recipient of the 2014 ASCAP Leo Kaplan Award and three ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards (2009, 2013, 2015), the Theodore Presser Foundation Music Award (2012), and First Place Prize in the 2009 Pacific Musical Society Composition Competition.
Gabriella is a 2015-16 ArtistYear Fellow at the Curtis Institute of Music dedicating a citizen-artist year of national service in the Philadelphia region. She is a doctoral candidate at Princeton University, where she has studied with Steve Mackey, Paul Lansky, Dan Trueman, Dmitri Tymoczko, Donnacha Dennehy, and Ju Ri Seo.
She received her Bachelor’s of Music from the Curtis Institute of Music where she studied with David Ludwig, Jennifer Higdon, and Richard Danielpour. Before beginning her studies at Curtis, Gabriella performed as a violinist in the Superdelegates (an improv avant-garde classical/blues string quartet), the Formerly Known as Classical new music ensemble, and the Young People’s Symphony Orchestra. She has also enjoyed singing and performing with the Princeton University Georgian Choir. When not writing music, she can be found backpacking, birding, playing capoeira, or working on small-scale organic farms around the world.
About the Piece – Tumblebird Contrails
Tumblebird Contrails is inspired by a single moment I experienced while backpacking in Point Reyes, sitting in the sand at the edge of the ocean, listening to the hallucinatory sounds of the Pacific (the keening gulls, pounding surf, rush of approaching waves, sizzle of sand and sea foam in receding tides), the constant ebb and flow of pitch to pitchless, tune to texture, grooving to free-flowing, watching a pair of ravens playing in the wind, rolling, swooping, diving, soaring— imagining the ecstasy of wind in the wings—jet trails painting never-ending streaks across the sky. The title, Tumblebird Contrails, is a Kerouac-inspired, nonsense phrase I invented to evoke the sound and feeling of the piece.