For the first time in 2018, Guest Faculty will join Fifth House Ensemble on campus for in-person workshops, group lessons, and private instruction. Guest faculty bring a diverse range of vision and experience to support these two weeks of artistic discovery, including composing for film and video games, improvisation, global collaboration, teaching artistry, and social entrepreneurship.
Learn more about this year’s guest faculty below!
SHANE SHANAHAN, PERCUSSIONIST & CO-DIRECTOR, SILK ROAD ENSEMBLE
Grammy Award-winning percussionist Shane Shanahan has cultivated his own unique and highly sought after sound by combining his studies of drumming traditions from around the world with his background in jazz, rock and Western art music. His interest in other cultures has lead to extended visits to Turkey, India, and Tajikistan, among others. Shane’s rare set of diverse skills is what attracted Yo-Yo Ma when he was forming the Silk Road Ensemble. In the summer of 2000, Shane was invited to Tanglewood where he played an important role in the formation of the group. Ever since, he has been touring around the globe performing side-by-side with Mr. Ma as an original member of the award-winning Silk Road Ensemble. Shane’s playing can be heard on all four of the ensemble’s top-selling recordings for the Sony/BMG label. The most recent was nominated for a Grammy and two of them feature his arranging skills. These arrangements have brought ecstatic audience to their feet in the top concert halls of North America, Europe and Asia. Shane can also be seen and heard on Mr. Ma’s CD/DVD release “Songs of Joy.”
He is also a member of frame drum master Glen Velez’ TaKaDiMi Ensemble and cellist Maya Beiser’s Provenance Project. He has performed and/or recorded with Bobby McFerrin, Aretha Frankin, Philip Glass, Alison Krause, Sonny Fortune, Deep Purple, Jordi Savall, Fantasia, Chaka Khan, G. E. Smith, Simon Shaheen, Jamey Haddad, Cyro Baptista, Anindo Chaterjee, Sandeep Das, Shahram Nazeri, Alim Qasimov, Kayhan Kalhor, Howard Levy and Steve Gorn, among others.
During the 2009-2010 season, Shane co-curated a 40 week concert series at The Museum of Natural History for the Traveling the Silk Road Exhibit. He was also highly involved in The Bridge Project, a three-year trans-Atlantic partnership uniting The Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Old Vic Theatre of London, and Neal Street Productions. Shane was one of two featured musician in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” and “The Tempest,” directed by Oscar winner Sam Mendes (“American Beauty”/”Skyfall.”) After two months of performances in New York, the production commenced an extensive tour of Asia and Europe. On Broadway, Shane has played for Caroline, Or Change, The Color Purple, Shrek, and Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark.
Shane has been seen/heard on TV and radio throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, including appearances on David Letterman, Good Morning America, the National Geographic Channel, NPR, PBS, NHK, and The Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics in Shanghai. Shane has presented workshops and clinics in many of the world’s top universities, including Harvard, Princeton, Northwestern, New York University, UC Santa Barbara and the Rhode Island School of Design. He has also performed and created outreach programs for many world-class museums, such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Museums of Japan in Kyushu and Nara, the British Library in London, the Rietberg Museum in Zurich and the Ruben Museum of Himalayan Art in New York.
In the spring of 2000, Shane was the director of the percussion department at The Hartt School, University of Hartford. In the fall of 2006, he was a Guest Artist in Residence at the Hartt School, focusing on multi-cultural hand drumming. This residency culminated in a student concert consisting entirely of Shane’s compositions and arrangements. He returned to Hartt for both semesters of 2011. He has also taught at the Amherst Early Music Festival, as one of Lincoln Center’s Meet the Artist performers, and is currently the Lead Teaching Artist for the Silk Road Projects education initiative Silk Road Connect. He received his Bachelor’s Degree and prestigious Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music and his Master’s Degree from The Hartt School.
DEREK BERMEL, GRAMMY-NOMINATED COMPOSER & PERFORMER
Composer and clarinetist Derek Bermel has been widely hailed for his creativity, theatricality, and virtuosity. Artistic Director of the American Composers Orchestra, Bermel is also curator of the Gamper Festival at the Bowdoin International Music Festival, Director of Copland House’s emerging composers institute Cultivate, and recently enjoyed a four-year tenure as artist-in-residence at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton. Bermel has become recognized as a dynamic and unconventional curator of concert series that spotlight the composer as performer, including ACO’s SONIC Festival. Alongside his international studies of ethnomusicology and orchestration, an ongoing engagement with other musical cultures has become part of the fabric and force of his compositional language, in which the human voice and its myriad inflections play a primary role.
He has received commissions from the Pittsburgh, National, Saint Louis, and Pacific Symphonies, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, WNYC Radio, La Jolla Music Society, Seattle Chamber Music Festival, eighth blackbird, Guarneri String Quartet, Music from Copland House and Music from China, De Ereprijs (Netherlands), violinist Midori, and electric guitarist Wiek Hijmans among others. His many honors include the Alpert Award in the Arts, Rome Prize, Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships, American Music Center’s Trailblazer Award, and an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; commissions from the Koussevitzky and Fromm Foundations, Meet the Composer, and Cary Trust; and residencies at Yaddo, Tanglewood, Aspen, Banff, Bellagio, Copland House, Sacatar, and Civitella Ranieri.
His discography features three critically-acclaimed discs: an all-Bermel orchestral recording that includes the Grammy-nominated performance of his clarinet concerto Voices, (BMOP/sound); Soul Garden, his small ensemble/solo music (New World/CRI); and his most recent disc, Canzonas Americanas, with Alarm Will Sound (Cantaloupe). Recent appearances include the Intimacy of Creativity Festival in Hong-Kong; Seattle, La Jolla, and Lincoln Center Chamber Music Societies, Migration Series with the Seattle Symphony, Elixir with the Boston Symphony, Hyllos, his evening-length collaboration with The Veenfabriek and Asko | Schönberg Ensemble in Amsterdam, as well as composer-in-residence stints at Kempten Classix (Germany) and Nuova Consonanza (Rome). Two upcoming Bermel discs feature recordings with the JACK quartet and Albany Symphony Orchestra.
AUSTIN WINTORY, GRAMMY- NOMINATED FILM & VIDEO GAME COMPOSER
Dubbed “Gaming’s Eclectic Outspoken Maestro” by Game Informer magazine, Austin Wintory has built his career on exploring and curiosity. He began his obsession with composing back when he was ten years old, when he discovered Jerry Goldsmith’s scores to Patton and A Patch of Blue. After a busy high school career composing for the student orchestras, Austin went on to study at NYU and USC with composers Morten Lauridsen, Charles Fussell, and Erica Muhl. Never satisfied with working in a single medium, Austin has worked in the concert world, film music, video games, and miscellaneous others.
In March 2012, the PlayStation3 game Journey was released, after three years of work. The game instantly became Sony’s fastest-selling PlayStation title, and the soundtrack album debuted on the Billboard charts higher than any original score in gaming history. In December 2012, more history was made when it was announced that Journey had become the first-ever Grammy-nominated videogame score. The score subsequently won an Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences D.I.C.E. award, two British Academy Awards, a Spike TV VGA, and IGN’s “Overall Music of the Year,” five G.A.N.G. Awards and host of others. The score features the Macedonia Radio Symphonic Orchestra and a lineup of top soloists (Audio excerpts available here). Orchestral excerpts, and the stand alone mini-concerto “Woven Variations” have been consistently scheduled for concert performances all over the world since its release.
Beginning humbly as a Kickstarter campaign, Austin’s next major game effort was Stoic Studio’s The Banner Saga, a unique and mature turn-based strategy / RPG hybrid with a dazzling art direction. The score featured the Dallas Wind Symphony, America’s premiere wind ensemble, and an all-star trio of YouTube musicians: Malukah, Peter Hollens and Taylor Davis. The game and soundtrack were released in early 2014 to critical and commercial success; the score earned Austin over a dozen awards and nominations, including his 4th and 5th British Academy Award nominations, and won the first-ever peer-voted ASCAP Composer’s Choice Award for “Best Video Game Score of the Year.” He is currently working with Stoic on The Banner Saga 2, which was announced live, on-stage at The Game Awards in December 2014 to an audience of nearly 2 million people.
Most recently (released August 2016), Austin scored the debut title for Giant Squid Studios, ABZÛ. The score was an ambitious blend of orchestra, choir and large harp ensemble recorded in both the US and the UK. The game and score were both immensely well-received, earning a number of publications’ “Best Of” lists for top soundtrack of the year, in addition to Austin’s second D.I.C.E. Award nomination, a Hollywood Music in Media nomination, and others.
In 2015, Austin wrote and produced the score for Ubisoft’s latest blockbuster: Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. The music is at its heart a chamber score deeply rooted in 19th century traditions, featuring virtuoso musicians Sandy Cameron and Tina Guo, and an all-star ensemble recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London. The score earned Austin his 6th British Academy Award nomination, and second ASCAP Composer’s Choice Award win, and has been lauded as among the top game scores for 2015 by major industry organizations like GameTrailers, IGN, Movie Music UK, the International Film Music Critics Association and the Hollywood Music in Media Awards.
Austin has also scored nearly 50 feature films, and his first major film score, for the Sundance Film Festival-winning film Captain Abu Raed, was shortlisted for the 2009 Academy Awards for Best Original Score by the LA Times. His next major film, Grace, was also a hit at the Sundance Film Festival. Austin’s score (which featured a wild array of custom-recorded sounds such as babies crying and horse flies, in addition to a large ensemble of clarinets at London’s famed Abbey Road Studios), was also highly lauded, earning a notorious Fangoria Chainsaw Award nomination and being cited by “Visions in Sound” (a popular film scoring radio program) as among the Top 10 Scores for 2010. His most recent films are writer/director Adam Alleca’s Standoff, starring Thomas Jane and Laurence Fishburne, and Amin Matalqa’s The Rendezvous, starring Stana Katic.
Outside of games, Austin also maintains a busy concert composing schedule, with regular appearances throughout the world. Most recently he premiered the commissioned work “This Gaming Life” with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, a theatrical work created in collaboration with the legendary comedians called “Tripod.” Announced in 2016 was also the unveiling of his partnership with the Chicago-based chamber group Fifth House Ensemble, with whom he will tour in a production of “Journey LIVE,” a recreation of the hit PlayStation title, performed interactively live. His chamber music show “Mythos,” combining his own music with other contemporary works, is also touring throughout 2015 and beyond following a successful world premiere in Manhattan at New York Comic Con in 2014. Forthcoming he will also have premieres with the West Michigan Symphony, Colorado Symphony and others.
Passionate about education, Austin is a regular public speaker at schools and events around the world, in addition to pre-concert talks and workshops. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the non-profit Education Through Music – Los Angeles, as well as the Board of Directors for the Society of Composers and Lyricists.
JIM STEPHENSON, COMPOSER
Leading American orchestras, instrumentalists, and wind ensembles around the world have performed the music of Chicago based composer James M. Stephenson, both to critical acclaim and the delight of audiences. The Boston Herald raved about “straightforward, unabashedly beautiful sounds,” suggesting “Stephenson deserves to be heard again and again!” A formal sense of melody and tonality characterize his music, each embedded in a contemporary soundscape. These qualities, coupled with the composer’s keen ability to write to each occasion, have led to a steady stream of commissions and ongoing projects.
“The Chicago Symphony Orchestra – Riccardo Muti, Zell Music Director – have announced a world premiere planned with Jim for the 2018/19 season. Details will be announced in January of 2018.” A second bass trombone concerto received its orchestral premiere with the St. Louis Symphony and soloist Gerry Pagano, in 2017. “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band commissioned a symphony (the composer’s second in this genre) and gave the work its premiere in 2016 at the prestigious Midwest Clinic, and subsequently recorded the work. Additionally, Compose Yourself!, Stephenson’s landmark young-audience work has now been performed over 300 times since its creation in 2002, engaging children in New Zealand and Canada and across the U.S. Additional premieres include Carnegie Hall in May, 2017 (Chamber Music Charleston) and in the summer, 2017, a Music Academy of the West premiere of “Martha Uncaged” – with the composer conducting – and a west-coast premiere of his violin concerto at the famed Cabrillo Music Festival. The 2017-18 season will see a new “Low brass concerto” with the Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä.
The Devil’s Tale (2013), a sequel to Stravinsky’s famous “Soldier’s Tale” has become a highlight of Stephenson’s extensive chamber music output, having already garnered much critical praise for its recent recording (“a most remarkable work” – Fanfare Magazine) and numerous performances, including at noteworthy venues such as Ravinia and Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center.
James M. Stephenson came late to his full-time composing career, having first earned a degree from the New England Conservatory in trumpet performance, and then going on to perform 17 seasons in the Naples Philharmonic in Florida. As such, the composer is largely self-taught, making his voice truly individual and his life’s work all the more remarkable. Colleagues and friends encouraged his earliest efforts and enthusiasm followed from all directions. As his catalog grew, so did his reputation. That catalog now boasts concertos and sonatas for nearly every instrument, earning him the moniker “The Concerto King” from Chicago Symphony clarinetist John Yeh. The vast majority of those compositions came through commissions by and for major symphony principal players, in Chicago, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Minnesota, Washington DC, St. Louis, Oregon, Milwaukee, and Dallas, among others. A major break came from the Minnesota Commissioning Club, which led to two works (violin concertos) receiving premieres in 2012—by Jennifer Frautschi with the Minnesota Orchestra under Osmo Vänskä and by Alex Kerr with the Rhode Island Philharmonic under Larry Rachleff. Other international soloists for whom Stephenson has composed include saxophonist Branford Marsalis and trumpeter Rex Richardson, whose concerto has been performed on five continents. With such prolific output, Stephenson’s music is well represented in recordings. Nearly all of his solo brass works (over 50) have been professionally recorded, and in total, his extensive catalog for all instruments can be heard on over 30 CDs.
James Stephenson is also a highly sought-after arranger and conductor, rounding out his constantly busy schedule. His arrangements have been performed/recorded/broadcast by virtually every major orchestra in the country, including the Boston Pops, Cincinnati Pops, New York Pops and more. On the podium, Stephenson has led orchestras in Chattanooga, Bozeman, Charleston, Ft. Myers, Modesto, and Wyoming, in addition to numerous concert bands. With the Lake Forest Symphony, near his Illinois home, he has not only conducted but also has served for seven years as Composer-in-Residence.
Jim originally hails from the Greater Chicago area, as does his wife Sally. In 2007 the couple, along with their four children, returned to the region to pursue the life they now share.