Sunday, August 15, 2010

Smith receives Bruno Walter Conducting Fellowship

Congratulations to DFMM Artistic Director and Conductor Jordan Randall Smith for receiving a Bruno Walter Conducting Fellowship with the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. Smith led the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra in Roger Zare's 'Aerodynamics' in the world premiere of the version for small orchestra. The performance was featured on the festival opener, the "In the Works" concert featuring the works of three up-and-coming composers, including
Mr. Zare and performances by seven young conductors, including Mr. Smith. The festival closes this weekend.

Smith said of the experience, "this year was my second time to attend the Cabrillo Festival, but nothing can prepare you because no two years are ever alike at this festival. It may be in the same quirky town of Santa Cruz, same fantastic weather, but every year occupies a completely different sound world as different composers come and contribute their unique voices."

Jordan Smith was one of seven conductor-participants in the Conductors Guild Workshop (partnering with the Cabrillo Festival) chosen from over 100 applicants from across the world to come to Santa Cruz, California. There, he had the opportunity to work with musical luminaries such as the legendary Gustav Meier, MacArthur Genius Grant recipient and world-renowned conductor Marin Alsop, and members of the Billboard sensation Eighth Blackbird in the world-famous summer hub for contemporary music performance. (Eighth Blackbird and Cabrillo Festival Orchestra Violinist Matt Albert pictured is pictured above in the workshop with Jordan Smith conducting.)

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composer Jennifer Higdon said "[He's] doing a great job. [Jordan's] conducting is full of energy, and it really adds a lot to the performance. You can really sense that."

Cabrillo Music Director and Conductor Marin Alsop said that his work was, "well done, very good."

Marin Alsop coaches Jordan Smith at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music

Jordan Smith and Roger Zare have marked this performance as the beginning of a fruitful composer-conductor relationship. Mr. Smith spoke about Zare's score, "It is a fantastic piece of music, simply electric from tiny sparks to giant cracks of lightning." The concert was unusually well-attended considering that the concert contained no headliners; it was completely full of young conductors performing as-yet unknown composers. However, they were most appreciative, giving the performers a "curtain call" of sorts (the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium did not have a literal curtain but the conductors and composers were called back to the stage at the end of the performance). After the performance, Smith immediately began to make plans to engage Zare for this year's Dallas Festival of Modern Music. "Roger is an extremely gifted composer with very mature musical thinking and offers a very compelling musical story in each of his pieces. I can't wait to work with him again."

This year's Dallas Festival of Modern Music takes place this November 5-14, 2010. For more information, visit

For more information about Jordan Smith, visit

For more information about composer Roger Zare, visit

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