Composers will travel to Minneapolis for Orchestra’s acclaimed professional training program, directed by Pulitzer Prize-winner Kevin Puts and co-presented with the American Composers Forum

Institute runs from January 6 through 10, 2020,
culminating in a Minnesota Orchestra concert conducted by Osmo Vänskä

Seven emerging composers have been selected as participants for the Minnesota Orchestra’s 17th annual Composer Institute, Institute Director Kevin Puts and the Orchestra announced today. The selected composers, whose works encompass a variety of musical styles, were chosen from a pool of 156 applicants through a highly competitive process. The selected composers will be in Minneapolis from January 6 to 10, 2020, for rehearsals, seminars and mentoring sessions, culminating in a public MusicMakers performance of their works on Friday, January 10, with Music Director Osmo Vänskä conducting the Minnesota Orchestra.

The 17th annual Composer Institute participants are Theo Chandler of Hillsborough, North Carolina; Paul Frucht of Danbury, Connecticut; Clare Glackin of Mount Vernon, Washington; Marc Migo of Barcelona, Spain; Patrick O’Malley of Los Angeles, California; Liza Sobel of Chicago, Illinois; and Nicky Sohn of Seoul, South Korea.

“I am particularly excited about this year’s group of selected composers because we were able to continue in the direction of including more works which require singers and instrumental soloists,” said Composer Institute director Kevin Puts. “This gives us the opportunity to create more variety for the audience and also to engage emerging artists or allow the orchestra’s amazing musicians a chance to shine as soloists. All seven selected composers write with unique, engaging voices and demonstrate the high level of craft for which I hope the Composer Institute has become known.”

Pulitzer Prize-winner Puts chaired the Institute’s selection committee, which included the Minnesota Orchestra’s Associate Conductor Akiko Fujimoto; Kati Agócs, 2015 Composer Institute participant and a recipient of the prestigious Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; and Grammy-nominated American composer Michael Gandolfi, whose music has been championed for the past decade by conductor Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and has received performances by major orchestras including the Boston Symphony and Houston Symphony, among others.

In addition to the seven composers chosen to participate in the Composer Institute, the panel named the following two composers as alternates: Daniel Zlatkin and David Clay Mettens. Eight composers were designated as runners-up: Jack Frerer, June Young Kim, Ryan Lindveit, Piyawat Louilarpprasert, Jules Pegram, Marco-Adrián Ramos, Iván Enrique Rodriguez and Michael Seltenreich. Cited for honorable mention are: James Diaz, Bobby Ge, Baldwin Giang, Michael Kropf, Benjamin Morris, Kory Reeder, Karalyn Schubring, Barry Sharp, Nathan Shields, Patrick Andrew Thompson, SiHyun Uhm, Tianyi Wang and Hangrui Zhang.

Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute History

The Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, widely recognized as a leading professional training program for emerging symphonic composers, is co-presented by the Minnesota Orchestra and the American Composers Forum. Now in its sixth year under the direction of Pulitzer Prize-winner Kevin Puts, the Institute was founded in 2002 as an outgrowth of the Orchestra’s Perfect Pitch program, an annual series of new music reading sessions for Minnesota composers launched during the 1995-96 season.

Many of the 141 composers who have previously taken part in Perfect Pitch and the Composer Institute have gone on to receive major commissions, awards, grants and additional performances of their works. Most recently, 2017 Composer Institute participant Nina C. Young was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic to inaugurate its Project 19 of new music by female composers, and a work by 2006 alumnus Sean Shepherd co-commissioned by the Boston Symphony and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra received its European premiere at the Gewandhaus Orchestra’s 2018-19 season opening concert. Composer Aaron Jay Kernis, who was the Pulitzer Prize recipient in 1998, was the Composer Institute’s founder and directed it for 11 seasons.

Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute

Friday, January 10, 2020, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall

Minnesota Orchestra
Osmo Vänskä
, conductor
Kevin Puts, Composer Institute director

Theo Chandler Songs from Brooches for Two Sopranos and Orchestra

Paul Frucht Acadian Vista

Clare Glackin Archaea

Marc Migo Movement II from Double Concerto for Violin and Piano

Patrick O’Malley Rest and Restless

Liza Sobel Ticking Time Bomb

Nicky Sohn Bird Up


Individual tickets can be purchased online at, or by calling 612-371-5656 or 800-292-4141. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Orchestra Hall Box Office, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis (Stage door ticketing is open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Box Office ticketing begins two hours before all ticketed performances); and at the Skyway-accessible Minnesota Orchestra Administrative Office, International Centre, 5th floor, 920 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis (open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). For more information, call 612-371-5656, or visit

All programs, artists, dates, times and prices subject to change.

The January 2020 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute is generously supported by The Amphion Foundation, the American Composers Forum, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the estate of Hella Mears Hueg, a gift from an anonymous couple and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

This activity is 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.

Download a PDF of the 2020 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute press release here.