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Summer Academy

International Masterclass for young composers

Every two years since 2003, the public foundation and residency program Akademie Schloss Solitude hosts a summer master class for young composers.

This Summer Academy seeks to fill a gap in the education of young composers, as master classes for composers are a rarity in the European New Music scene. In contrast to a long-term course of composition study with an individual instructor, the Summer Academy enables participants to contextualize their work and compositional thought within a stimulating, probing and interdisciplinary environment, and to exchange ideas among themselves, with the teachers and with the artists present at Akademie Schloss Solitude.

The exchange between fellows of the regular artist-in-residence program and participants of the Summer Academy for Young Composers is explicitly intended and welcome.

This master class concerns itself with musical composition through critical, individuated thinking. Discussions concentrating on the students‘ compositions and compositional thought will be the primary focus of the Summer Academy, which also includes private lessons and group sessions. Furthermore, presentations by artists from other disciplines will be offered. The Freiburg-based Ensemble SurPlus will be in residence at Akademie Schloss Solitude toward the end of the master class to prepare and perform two concerts of the participants‘ compositions.

With the kind support of Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung.

The seventh Summer Academy will take place from August 4 to 21, 2015. Sixteen composers at various stages in their work will be chosen to participate. 

Participants in 2015 are: Kevin Baldwin, Seattle, WA/USA | Ansgar Beste, Münster/Germany | Victoria Cheah, Charlestown, MA/USA | Ben Davis, Chicago, IL/USA | Óscar Escudero Romero, Córdoba/Spain | Eric Fernandez, Boston, MA/USA | Elvira Garifzyanova, Geneva/Switzerland | Julien Malaussena, Asnières-sur-Seine/France | Mithatcan Öcal, Istanbul/Turkey | Elena Rykova, Moscow/Russia | Zihua Tan, Montreal/Canada | Thierry Tidrow, Cologne/Germany | Colin Tucker, Buffalo, NY/USA | Anthony Vine, Brooklyn, NY/USA | Julio Zúñiga, Dresden/Germany.

The Summer Academy 2015 will be held under the direction of Chaya Czernowin together with the guest instructors Rebecca Saunders and Ming Tsao.

Instructors: Chaya Czernowin, Ming Tsao, Rebecca Saunders

Chaya Czernowin and Steven Kazuo Takasugi are permanent faculty for the Summer Academy master class to give consistency in methodology and content. An additional instructor—different for every master class—will join the two for a diversified exchange between teachers and students. For the master class 2013 they were joined by Dániel Péter Biró and in 2015 they will be supported by Rebecca Saunders. 

Short biographies of the instructors:

Chaya Czernowin (*1957 in Israel) studied at the Rubin Academy in Tel Aviv, in Berlin, and at the University of California in San Diego, CA/USA. Invitations to Japan (1993–1995) , and to the Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart/Germany (1996) followed.

In addition to her chamber music and orchestral works, Czernowin wrote two operas: Pnima…ins Innere for the Munich Biennale (2000), and Adama, a counterpoint work on Mozart’s Zaide for the Salzburger Festival. Pnima was named Best Premiere by the critic's survey of Opernwelt (2000) and won the Bayerischer Theaterpreis. Zaide/Adama was broadcast on ARD and recorded by Deutsche Grammophon. Both operas have had multiple productions.

Czernowin was an artist in residence at the Salzburger Festival (2005/2006) and will be artist in residence at Lucerne Festival (2013). She taught composition at JML Institute in Tokyo/Japan and at the Darmstadt Summer Courses (1994–2010), was professor of music at the University of California in San Diego (1997–2005) and at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna/Austria (2006–2009). Since 2009, she has been the Walter Bigelow Rosen Professor of Music at Harvard University, Harvard, MA/USA.
She has been teaching at the Summer Academy at Akademie Schloss Solitude since 2003.

Among other prizes, Czernowin was awarded with America Israel Felllowships (1979–1982); she represented Israel at the Uncesco composer's Rostrum (1981); DAAD scholarship (1983–1985); UCSD Fellowships (1987–1993); Stipendiumpreis (1988) and Kranichsteiner Musikpreis (1992), Darmstadt Summer Courses; Asahi Shimbun and American NEA Fellowships (1994/1995); Akademie Schloss Solitude Fellowship (1996); IRCAM reading panel commission (1998); scholarships of the SWR Experimentalstudio Freiburg (1998/2000/2001); ISCM World Music Days (1995/2001); the composer’s prize of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation (2003); the Rockefeller Foundation (2004); a nomination as a fellow to the Wissenschaftkolleg Berlin (2008); Fromm Foundation Award (2009); Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (2011). Chaya Czernowin is published by Schott. Her music is recorded on Mode records, Wergo, Col Legno Deutsche Gramophone, Neos , Ethos, and Einstein Records.

Ming Tsao (*1966 in Berkeley, CA/USA) performed violin and viola with the Berkeley Youth Orchestra and the Young People’s Symphony during his early musical studies. He then translated to Suzhou/China where he studied the traditional guqin (Chinese zither) with the renowned guqin performer Wu Zhao-ji.

Following, he studied traditional composition, counterpoint, harmony, orchestration and arranging at the Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA/USA where he received his B.M. degree (1988) in composition.  In 1987, he received the Youth Concert’s Award for an original wind symphonic orchestral composition. He received his M.A. degree in ethnomusicology from Columbia University, New York, NY/USA (1992) with an emphasis on traditional Chinese music and culture.  During this time, he studied electronic music composition with Mario Davidovsky in the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, New York. He then studied logic and philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley and took his second M.A. degree in mathematics at San Francisco State University (2000) with an emphasis on algebra and set theory.  His graduating thesis on mathematical music theory received the Outstanding Graduate Student Achievement Award for the quality of research and is now published as Abstract Musical Intervals: Group Theory for Composition and Analysis.  He was also awarded two CIRE Fellowships for original research in mathematics at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) in the University of California, Berkeley. During this time, he attended summer master classes in music composition. He completed his Ph.D. in music composition at the University of California, San Diego, CA/USA (2007) where he studied principally with composer Chaya Czernowin.  His qualifying topics included the analysis of post-war composition and music transcription, as well as articulating a compositional methodology with ideas influenced by film and experimental poetry. He was invited to Stanford University, CA/USA for a year where he studied composition privately with composer Brian Ferneyhough. Following his graduation, he was awarded a Faculty Fellowship from the University of California, San Diego where he taught composition, analysis, counterpoint and harmony. During this time, he was also artist in residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts.

In 2009, he was appointed Professor of Composition at the University of Gothenburg, Academy of Music and Drama in Sweden where he currently teaches composition, analysis and music aesthetics. Ming Tsao lives in Berlin.

His music has been performed on various festivals such as Donaueschinger Musiktage, Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik, Wien Modern, MaerzMusik and Darmstadt Ferienkurse für neue Musik. He has written essays for the journals Musik & Ästhetik and Search Journal for New Music and Culture.

Ming Tsao's opera Die Geisterinsel premiered in Stuttgart in May 2011. Reviewing the world premiere of Plus Minus for ensemble at the Witten Festival for Contemporary Chamber Music in Germany, the Neue Züricher Zeitung describes the work as »an incredible result from the American composer Ming Tsao: each note is pure, fine music«. Mode Records released a CD recording of his music in 2014, with performances by the Arditti Quartet, ensemble recherche, Ensemble SurPlus and Ensemble ascolta. In 2014 his opera Die Geisterinsel was released on CD by KAIROS.

Rebecca Saunders was born in London in 1967. She studied composition at Edinburgh University with Nigel Osborne and with Wolfgang Rihm in Germany. She is currently living in Berlin.

One of the leading and most original compositional voices of her generation her music has been recognised with several prestigious awards, including the Ernst von Siemens Förderpreis, the ARD und BMW musicaviva Prize, the Paul Hindemith Prize, the Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Award For Chamber Music (twice, in 2008 and 2012), and the GEMA Music Prize for Instrumental Music 2010. In 2012 und in 2013 she was nominated for the British Composer Award.

In 2009 she became a member of the Berlin Academy of Arts, and in 2013 she was honoured with membership of the Sachsen Academy of Arts in Dresden. Saunders was the Composer-in-Residence at the Staatskapelle Dresden for the 2009/2010 season.

Rebecca Saunders is regularly in demand as a guest composition tutor and has taught at the Darmstadt Ferienkurse, most recently in 2010 and 2012, at Impuls in Graz in 2011 und 2013, and at the Ostrava Music Days. She was Professor for Composition at the Hochschule for Music Theatre and Media Hannover 2012–2014.

Since 2003, Saunders has intensified her interest in the sculptural properties of organised sound. chroma (2003–2013) explores a collage of twenty-four chamber groups and sound sources in several spaces. Since its premiere in 2003, 19 new versions have been created for radically different performance spaces. The characteristics of each new architecture define the formal juxtaposition of the various chamber music groups, whereby each solo or group is like a protagonist in a form of instrumental theatre. insideout, music for a choreographed installation, was her first work for the stage and was created in collaboration with Sasha Waltz.

More recent works, such as Stirrings Still I and II, and murmurs, are quiet and fragile collage compositions. Her most recent spatial collage work, Stasis (2011), comprises 23 modules for 16 soloists, and expands her complex collage structures over an extended time-frame of 50 minutes.

Saunders´ present compositional preoccupation is an investigation of the musical soloist in two distinct ways: 2013 until 2015 she is writing an expansive series of works for individual performers, and simultaneously continuing her interest in works for soloist in a concerto role; either for solo and orchestra or for solo and special ensemble instrumentations, with concertos for double percussion and for trumpet planned in 2014 and 2015, and further solo and duo works. A 90-minute music theatre work is planned for autumn 2017.


Akademie Schloss Solitude
Solitude 3
70197 Stuttgart
Tel. +49 (0)711 99 61 94 74
Fax +49 (0)711 99 61 95 0