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ACF-LA announces composition competition winners

The American Composers Forum of Los Angeles (ACF-LA) has named three winning composers, whose works for string trio will be premiered at the Armory Center for the Arts, Tuesday, April 30th at 7:00PM: Jonathon Grasse, Helena Michelson, and Joseph Pereira. The winning compositions will be performed by Ina Veli, violin; Alma Fernandez, viola; and Timothy Loo, cello. Red Hen Press, a partnering sponsor for the event, is also presenting poetry readings from Brendan Constantine and Lillian-Yvonne Bertram on the evening’s program. The evening of music and poetry is free and open to the public. The event is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and made possible in part by the Pasadena Arts and Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division.
Jonathon Grasse is a composer, ethnomusicologist, and electric guitarist based in Los Angeles. His undergraduate studies and subsequent graduate work at UC Santa Cruz and a PhD from UCLA focused his expertise on the music of Brazil and Indonesia. He helped co-found the Institute for the Pedagogies of World Music Theories where he lectures on various issues related to theory, composition and the inclusion of world musics into the classroom. His publications include articles and reviews on Brazilian music topics, and a co-authored book chapter on American composer Lou Harrison’s compositions for gamelan. In addition to holding a professorship at California State University Dominguez Hills, he is active in the Los Angeles improvisation scene, performing electric guitar with Surrealestate, the Grasse/Hay/Steck Trio, and the Decisive Instant ensemble.
Helena Michelson was born in Moscow, Russia and grew up in Riga, Latvia, where she began studying piano at age five. She received her early music instruction at the Jazeps Medins School of Music in Riga and, after moving to the United States, continued at the Preparatory Department of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she studied piano with Mack McCray. It was during her studies as a pianist at UC Berkeley that she shifted her focus to composition, ultimately receiving a doctorate in Music Composition and Theory from the University of California, Davis. She has been a participating composer in MusicX, at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, an invited composer at Domaine Forget in Quebec, and a composition fellow at the Composer’s Conference at Wellesley College. As a performer of her own music, she has recently appeared at UAHuntsville New Music Festival and INNOVATION—New Music Festival at University of Central Missouri at Warrensburg.
Joseph Pereira was appointed Principal Timpanist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic by Esa Pekka Salonen in 2007. He currently runs the percussion department at USC’s Thornton School of Music while also teaching at the Juilliard School, where he has been on faculty since 2005. As a composer, Joseph Pereira’s most recent commission, from the Miro Quartet and percussionist Colin Currie, is to be premiered in the 2012/13 season on their U.S. tour. Locally, in the 2011/12 season, the Los Angeles Philharmonic commissioned and premiered his percussion concerto for soloist Colin Currie. Pereira performs the work again this season with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel in Los Angeles and in London at the Barbican. Also in the 2011/12 season, LA Phil members premiered his new piece for amplified double bass quartet as part of their chamber series.

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