2019 ACF Showcase Winners

ST. PAUL, MN – Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, hailed by Classical Guitar Magazine as “Flawless, musical and witty, this quartet is able to do anything it sets its mind on,” partners with the American Composers Forum to present three works by the winners of the 2019 ACF Showcase national competition. Composers Clarice Assad (Chicago, IL), Paul Brantley (New York, NY), and Aubrie Powell (Albuquerque, NM) will be in residence, working with the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet during rehearsals June 13th and 14th. The 2019 ACF Showcase Concert will take place Saturday, June 15, 2019 at Antonello Hall in the MacPhail Center for Music (501 S 2nd Street Minneapolis, MN 55401). Doors open at 6:45 PM, and the concert starts at 7:30 PM. The Minneapolis Guitar Quartet will perform D.A.N.Z.A (2015) by Clarice Assad, The Colored Horses (2015) by Aubrie Powell, Cauda Pavonis (2018) by Paul Brantley, Windy by Astor Piazzolla, Proseta se Jovka Kumanovka arranged by Maja Radovanlija, Macedonian Girl by Jonče Hristovski arranged by Maja Radovanlija, Old Castle, by the river, in the middle of a forest by Hiromi Uehara, and Cuatro Estampas Andaluzas by Joaquin Rodrigo.

About the winners

Clarice Assad (Chicago, IL)

A powerful communicator renowned for her musical scope and versatility, Brazilian American Clarice Assad is a significant artistic voice in the classical, world music, pop and jazz genres. A Grammy nominated composer, celebrated pianist and inventive vocalist, she is renowned for her evocative colors, rich textures, and diverse stylistic range. As an innovator, her award-winning Voxploration Series on music creation, songwriting and improvisation has been presented throughout the United States, Brazil, Europe and the Middle East. With her artistic talents sought-after by artists and organizations worldwide, the multi-talented musician continues to attract new audiences both onstage and off.

In the recording arena, Ms. Assad has released seven solo albums and appeared on or had her works performed on another 30. Her music is represented on Cedille Records, SONY Masterworks, Nonesuch, Adventure Music, Edge, Telarc, NSS Music, GHA, and CHANDOS Ms. Assad will have four recordings featuring her works released in 2019.

A prolific Grammy nominated composer with over 70 works to her credit, Clarice Assad’s numerous commissions include works for Carnegie Hall, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Orquestra Sinfônica de São Paulo, Chicago Sinfonietta, San Jose Chamber Orchestra, the Boston Youth Orchestra, the Bravo! Vail Music Festival, Queen Reef Music Festival and the La Jolla Music Festival, to name a few. Her compositions have been recorded by some of the most prominent names in the classical music, including percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and oboist Liang Wang. Assad’s music has been performed by internationally acclaimed orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony, Queensland Symphony, and the Orquestra Sinfônica de São Paulo. Ms. Assad has served as a composer-in-residence for the Albany Symphony, the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, New Century Chamber Orchestra, and the Boston Landmarks Orchestra. Her works are published in France (Editions Lemoine), Germany (Trekel), Criadores do Brasil (Brazil) and by Virtual Artists Collective Publishing, (VACP) a publishing company co-founded with poet and philosopher Steve Schroeder. Ms. Assad is currently writing the soundtrack to Devoti Tutti, a documentary by Bernadette Wegenstein, while composing the music for a ballet by award-winning choreographer Shannon Alvis.

As a performer, Clarice has shared the stage with such artists as Bobby McFerrin, Anat Cohen, Nadia Sirota, Paquito D’Rivera, Tom Harrell, Marilyn Mazur and Mike Marshall, among other outstanding musicians. She has performed at internationally renowned venues and festivals including The Netherlands’ Concertgebow, New York’s Carnegie Hall, Belgium’s Le Palais des Beaux-Arts, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Le Casino de Paris, Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Caramoor International Jazz Festival.

A passionate educator, in 2015 Ms. Assad founded VOXploration, an award-winning, trailblazing program which presents a creative, fun, and accessible approach to music education through meaningful, interactive experiences. Carefully curated to work equally well with participants of any age who have little music education or those having musical backgrounds, VOXploration has received grants and awards from Brazilian foundations such as CAIXA CULTURAL and SESC, as well as American grants from New Music USA and the McKnight Foundation. Ms. Assad has given masterclasses, residencies and workshops throughout the United States, Europe and Middle East.

Born in Rio de Janiero, Clarice Assad is one of the most widely performed Brazilian concert music composers of her generation.  The recipient of numerous honors and awards, amongst them an Aaron Copland Award and several ASCAP awards in composition, Clarice Assad holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Roosevelt University in Chicago, and a Master of Music degree from The University of Michigan School of Music.

Paul Brantley (New York, NY) 

In recent years Paul Brantley’s compositions have been performed or commissioned by The Knights (at Tanglewood, BRIC, Dumbarton Oaks and Naumburg Concerts), Horszowski Trio, Flux Quartet, New Esterházy Quartet, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, U.C. Berkeley Chamber Chorus (on tour), Monadnock Music Festival, Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, St. Bartholomew’s Summer Festival of Sacred Music, The Young People’s Chorus of NYC, Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas (NYC’s Town Hall), Left Bank Ensemble (Kennedy Center), Ethel (Kimmel Center), Excelsior Trombone Ensemble (NPR’s Performance Today), The Goliard Ensemble on tour, The Manhattan School of Music Symphony, Belladonna (Schubert Club, St. Paul, MN), L’Opera du Village (Pourrieres, France), SONYC (the Kitchen), and as featured composer on these various series: Bargemusic, The Harry Jacobs Chamber Music Society, HVG, North River, MOSA and Concerts in the Heights.

His cello concertino, The Royal Revolver, was premiered in December 2017 by cellist Eric Jacobsen (The Knights, Silk Road Project) and members of The University of Michigan Symphony conducted by Kenneth Kiesler. He currently is composing a Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra for Aventure Piano Duo to be performed in Moscow in Spring, 2020.

He is a five-time MacDowell Colony Fellow who has also received fellowships from Banff Centre and Anderson Center. Brantley has been composer-in-residence for Monadnock Music Festival, Gabriel Fauré Conservatoire (Angoulême, France), Goliard Ensemble, Yara Arts Group, The Seal Bay Festival, Children’s Choral Celebration, Sewanee Music Festival, Washington and Lee University, and the Sophia Institute at Union Theological Seminary in NYC. He has given composition seminars at Yale School of Music, Hunter College (Anthropology Dept.), and The University of Michigan School of Music.

Multifaceted musician, Brantley has performed or recorded as solo cellist with Trey Anastasio (Phish), Cassatt Quartet, Jeff Coffin Mutet, Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, Dave Gregory (XTC), Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, and Lenny White. Brantley has arranged and conducted for David Binney, Ethel, Todd Rundgren, and Christian Scott.

Paul studied at Manhattan School of Music (B.M), Curtis Institute (diploma), Eastman School of Music (M.M.) as well as Fontainebleau, Tanglewood, and The Yellow Barn where he was later artist faculty. His principal teachers include Samuel Adler, Leonard Bernstein, Eugene Eicher, Alan Harris, David Loeb, and David Wells.

He co-founded the Seal Bay Festival of American Music and was artist faculty at Yellow Barn Music Festival for many years. In addition to positions at Syracuse University and Washington and Lee University, Brantley was a Manhattan School of Music faculty member from 2000 to 2014.

Paul Brantley currently resides in New York City where he free-lances as a composer, cellist, and conductor. His music is published by Bill Holab Music and Oxford University Press. He has recorded solo cello for Sony/Columbia, Rounder, Warner Bros., Polydor, Compass, and others. He is director and cellist for The Mercury Chamber Players.

Aubrie Powell (Albuquerque, NM)

Currently studying Musicology at the University of New Mexico, Aubrie Powell has a Master’s of Music degree in composition from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance where she studied with Dr. Zhou Long, Chen Yi, Paul Rudy, and James Mobberley. She received a Bachelor of Music degree in music composition from Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music where she studied with composer in residence, Dr. Clint Needham. Aubrie studies double bass with Mark Tatum at UNM and has previously studied with Henry Peyrebrune, Charles Carlton, and Jeffery Kail. Currently she is researching musical agency in intimate performance venues, developing an original solo double bass program, and swinging with the UNM Honky Tonk band.

About the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet

Virtuosic yet contemplative, propulsive yet intimate, the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet has captivated audiences throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. From J.S. Bach to Piazzolla to Prince, MGQ’s inventive and eclectic programs are enlivened by a bravado and synchronicity that have been honed through decades of classical training and concert experience. The foursome—Joseph Hagedorn, Maja Radovanlija, Ben Kunkel and Wade Oden—builds an uncommon rapport with its audiences through its engaging stage presence and distinctive humor. “More than a guitar quartet, more than superb musicians, and more than a great chamber group,” says composer/performer Daniel Bernard Roumain. “They are ambassadors of sound, style, and substance.” 

The Minneapolis Guitar Quartet’s highly varied repertoire includes their own acclaimed arrangements of music by Japanese jazz pianist Hiromi, Finnish folk musician Maria Kalaniemi, and classical composers Joaquin Rodrigo, Alberto Ginastera, and Modest Mussorgsky. Their numerous commissions include a new work for guitar quartet and flute by Cuban composer Leo Brouwer and Ian Krouse’s StarWaves, an exhilarating fusion of rock and classical music based on a song by British pop/rock musician Nick Drake. MGQ’s diverse and innovative collaborations include their new program for guitar quartet with choir, programs with flamenco dancer Sachiko “La Chayí”, and a program with Chinese pipa master Gao Hong. MGQ has been heard on the nationally syndicated radio program Saint Paul Sunday, and on National Public Radio’s Performance Today, and has garnered unanimous international critical acclaim from its five CDs on the Albany, GSP, and innova labels.

The cultural accessibility of the guitar makes it a natural for MGQ’s various educational and community engagement programs like its popular “Guitar Talk” for all ages. MGQ’s newest educational offering is its “Guitar Ensemble Crash Course”, a 90-minute class introducing participants to the “hands-on” experience of guitar ensemble playing, culminating in a live performance. All members of the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet are collegiate faculty members and frequently conduct master classes and workshops at festivals and universities throughout the United States.

For more information, please visit www.minneapolisguitarquartet.com, follow on Facebook and Twitter @MplsGuitarQt  and Instagram @mplsguitarquartet

Program Funding

Funded, in part, by the Dr. Fred Noah Gordon Charitable Fund of the Minneapolis Foundation. This event is also made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, and a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation Minnesota.