Biography

Nina C. Young (b. 1984) writes music characterized by an acute sensitivity to tone color, manifested in aural images of arresting immediacy. Her experience in the electronic music studio informs her acoustic work, which takes as its given not melody and harmony, but sound itself, continuously metamorphosing from one state to another.

About the fluidity between the acoustic and electronic realms, she writes: "I’ll often start pieces by improvising on my laptop with recordings which I'll then process until I find that particular sonic ‘seed’ that sprouts to create a piece. This will get integrated with sound experiments using my voice, the piano, my violin, and various other instruments. Eventually I'll start to write things down, always in full score. Orchestration is an integral and often primary element of my compositional process. I find it akin to working in an electronic production environment in which I am always aware of balancing the horizontal frequency spectrum. Every instrument has its own natural resonance and filtering characteristics – when you begin to combine these different effects, an infinite world of sonic possibilities evolves."

Young's music has garnered international acclaim through performances by the American Composers Orchestra, Inscape Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Orkest de ereprijs, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra, the Argento Chamber Ensemble, Divertimento Ensemble, Either/Or, Ensemble de Musique Interactive, the JACK Quartet, mise-en, Scharoun, Sixtrum, and Yarn/Wire. Winner of the 2015-16 Rome Prize in Musical Composition, Young has received a Koussevitzky Commission from the Library of Congress, a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Salvatore Martirano Memorial Award, Aspen Music Festival's Jacob Druckman Prize, and honors from BMI, The International Alliance for Women in Music, and ASCAP/SEAMUS. Her orchestral work Remnants received the Audience Choice Award at the ACO's 2013 Underwood New Music Readings. Young has held fellowship residencies at the Aspen Music Festival, The Atlantic Music Festival, the Bennington Chamber Music Conference, the Nouvel Ensemble Modern's 2014 FORUM, and the Tanglewood Music Center.

Following a year in residence at the American Academy of Rome, where among other works she created 'Temenos', Young has returned to New York, where she begins a faculty position in the Department of the Arts at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Highlights this season include the orchestra work 'Remnants', which opens the Phoenix Symphony's Classics season, and the premiere of a work for baritone, orchestra, and electronics by the American Composers Orchestra.

Recent commissions include a bassoon pocket concerto for Brad Balliett and the Metropolis Ensemble, 'Agnosco Veteris' for Robert Spano and the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra, 'When Eyes Meet for wild Up' with support of the American Composers Forum’s National Composition Competition, 'EarPlay' - a viola concerto for Jocelin Pan and Ensemble Échappé, as well as new works for the American Brass Quintet, cellist Anssi Karttunen, and pianist Marilyn Nonken.

Young’s interests are now headed in the direction of collaborative, multidisciplinary works. While in Rome, Young worked with choreographer Miro Magloire and the New Chamber Ballet to develop a site-specific piece, 'Temenos', around the intersection of movement, architecture, and sound at the Tempietto Del Bramante. This fall Young will head to the Aldeburgh Music Center to participate in the Britten-Pears New Music New Media Program where she will work with Irvine Arditti and IRCAM to develop a piece around unique spatialization and sound diffusion techniques. In May 2017 the ACO will premiere 'Out of whose womb came the ice' (commissioned by the Jerome Foundation) - a work for baritone, orchestra, electronics, and generative video commenting on the ill-fated Ernest Shackleton Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1914-17. Young is collaborating with vocalist Andrew Munn and Sugar Vendil, with the Nouveau Classical Project, on an evening-length multimedia cantata 'Making Tellus: Sketches of a Cosmogram for the Anthropocene' - a work for voices, mixed chamber ensemble, sustainable fashion, and interactive media that addresses the current socio-political conversation surrounding human intervention and the Earth’s rapidly changing geology.

In 2016 Young received her DMA from Columbia University, where she worked with Fred Lerdahl, George Lewis, Georg Friedrich Haas, and Brad Garton. In 2011 she earned a Master's degree in music composition from McGill University, studying with Sean Ferguson. While in Montreal she worked as a research assistant at the Centre for Research in Music Media and Technology (CIRMMT) and as a studio and teaching assistant at the McGill Digital Composition Studios. Nina completed her undergraduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) receiving degrees in ocean engineering and music (studying with Keeril Makan), in addition to holding a research assistantship at the MIT Media Lab under the direction of Tod Machover.

In addition to concert music Nina composes music for theatre, dance, and film. She also works as a concert organizer and promoter of new music; Nina currently serves as Co-Artistic Director of NY-based new music sinfonietta Ensemble Échappé.

Composer's website: Nina C. Young

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