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Jonas Tarm Composition Prize

Student of John Mallia to write commissioned work for New York Youth Symphony for premiere in Carnegie Hall

NEC Composition Student Jonas Tarm Commissioned to Write Orchestral Work for New York Youth Symphony

Composition to Receive Premiere at Carnegie Hall in March 2015

NEC Composition student Jonas Tarm ’16, a student of John Mallia, has been commissioned to write a new orchestral work by the New York Youth Symphony to be played at Carnegie Hall. The honor came with his selection as one of seven winners of the prestigious First Music competition sponsored annually by the orchestra. Called "invaluable" by The New York Times, the 31-year-old competition is widely seen as a leading force in the U.S. for spotlighting up-and-coming composers under age 30.

Tarm, a 20-year old Estonian-American from Highland Park, IL, was selected based in part on his work for string orchestra, Headline Hues, which had its world premiere in Estonia last year by the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Risto Joost. It received its American premiere at NEC, April 9, performed by the NEC Symphony and conductor Paul Biss.

Composers of orchestral, chamber music, and jazz works were eligible to participate in the First Music competition, which is judged by a panel of professional composers. The competition is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State Council on the Arts.

The winning composers will have their new pieces performed by the NYYS during the 2014-15 season. Tarm's will be premiered at Carnegie Hall on March 8, 2015.

Past recipients of a First Music commission include such respected composers as David Lang, Augusta Read Thomas, Michael Torke, Kevin Puts, and Derek Bermel, among others. First Music composers have gone on to receive a combined total of 3 Pulitzer Prizes, 12 Rome Prizes, 16 Guggenheim Fellowships and the Grawemeyer Award.

The Estonia-born Tarm, who moved to the Chicago area at age 10 and attended Highland Park High School, has received national and international attention, including as a winner of a National YoungArts Foundation Award. He graduated from the Music Institute of Chicago's Academy program where he studied composition with MIC's Dr. Matthew Hagle and Dr. Mischa Zupko, and violin with Northwestern University Professor Gerardo Ribeiro.

For additional information on the competition, see the New York Youth Symphony announcement.

For further information about studying composition at NEC, click here

A cultural icon approaching its 150th anniversary in 2017, New England Conservatory (NEC) is recognized worldwide as a leader among music schools. Located in Boston, Massachusetts, on the Avenue of the Arts in the Fenway Cultural District, NEC offers rigorous training in an intimate, nurturing community to undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate music students from around the world. Its faculty of 225 boasts internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars. NEC alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios, and arts management positions worldwide. Half of the Boston Symphony Orchestra is composed of NEC-trained musicians and faculty.

NEC is the oldest independent school of music in the United States. Founded in 1867 by Eben Tourjee, an American music educator, choral conductor and organist, its curriculum is remarkable for its wide range of styles and traditions. On the college level, NEC features training in classical, jazz, and Contemporary Improvisation. Graduate and post-graduate programs supplement these core disciplines with orchestral conducting and professional chamber music training. Additional programs, such as the Sistema Fellows, a professional training program for top postgraduate musicians and music educators that creates careers connected to music, youth, and social change, and Entrepreneurial Musicianship, a cutting-edge program integrating professional and personal skills development into the musical training of students to better develop the skills and knowledge needed to create one’s own musical opportunities, also enhance the NEC experience.

Through its Preparatory School, School of Continuing Education, and Community Programs and Partnerships Program, the Conservatory provides training and performance opportunities for children, pre-college students, and adults. Through its outreach projects, it allows young musicians to engage with non-traditional audiences in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes—thereby bringing pleasure to new listeners and enlarging the universe for classical music, jazz, and Contemporary Improvisation. Currently more than 750 young artists from 46 states and 39 foreign countries attend NEC on the college level; 1,400 young students attend on the Preparatory level; and 325 adults participate in the Continuing Education program.

The only conservatory in the United States designated a National Historic Landmark, NEC presents more than 900 free concerts each year. Many of these take place in Jordan Hall (which shares National Historic Landmark status with the school), world-renowned for its superb acoustics and beautifully restored interior. In addition to Jordan Hall, more than a dozen performance spaces of various sizes and configurations are utilized to meet the requirements of the unique range of music performed at NEC, from solo recitals to chamber music to orchestral programs to big band jazz, Contemporary Improvisation, and opera scenes. Every year, NEC’s opera studies department also presents two fully staged opera productions at the Cutler Majestic Theatre or Paramount Center in Boston, and a semi-staged performance in Jordan Hall. This past 2012-2013 season, the operas produced were Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, and Rossini’s La Gazzetta.

NEC is co-founder and educational partner of From the Top, a weekly radio program that celebrates outstanding young classical musicians from the entire country. With its broadcast home in Jordan Hall, the show is now carried by National Public Radio and is heard on 250 stations throughout the United States.

Contact: Ellen Pfeifer
Senior Communications Specialist
New England Conservatory
290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115