Gulf Coast Chamber Orchestra presents
Music & Arts Community Center
Dr. Andrew M. Kurtz
Sixth Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman
Solo Symphony No. 5
Symphony No. 1
Andrew M. Kurtz
Music & Executive Director
Gulf Coast Symphony founder Dr. Andrew M. Kurtz enters his twenty-sixth season as the Symphony’s Music & Executive Director, and conductor. His deep rooted commitment to new work, community and education, combined with a vibrant artistic vision has led to creating and nurturing one of the most dynamic arts organizations in the region. His conducting has been called “passionate, expansive, expert, and musical.” He was named the 2007 Performing Artist of the Year at Lee County’s Angel of the Arts Awards. Kurtz’s repertoire encompasses a wide range of music styles from baroque to contemporary, and multiple genres including symphonic, opera, ballet, musical theater, jazz, cantorial, and symphonic pops.
An avid arts educator, Maestro Kurtz was Resident Music Director at the Luzerne Music Center. Kurtz is a past-president of the board of the Lee County Alliance for the Arts. In 2001, he won First Prize in the Dell’Arte di Firenze International Conducting Competition, and made his European conducting debut in Florence. In 1995, Kurtz made his international operatic debut in Tel Aviv while working as a staff conductor at the Israel Vocal Arts Institute. In 1997, he conducted the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s educational tour production of The Best of Puccini. He was a scholarship conducting student at the prestigious Aspen Music Festival, and boasts numerous other conducting credits, including the Pennsylvania Opera Theater, the Pennsylvania Ballet, the Charlotte Symphony, Gonzaga Symphony, and the Ocean City Pops.
Kurtz completed his doctoral studies in conducting at the Peabody Conservatory and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Virginia where he received his master’s degree in music history and a bachelor of arts in music and drama. A native of Philadelphia, Kurtz has called Southwest Florida home for more than 28 years, where he currently resides with his wife, Julie, and their son, Benjamin.
Grammy-winning contemporary American composer, concert pianist and conductor. Lauded by The New Yorker as “one of the most successful woman composers of all time”, her bold and energetic compositions have been performed in concert halls around the world. After gaining recognition for her first orchestral composition, Sequoia (1981), a tone poem which structurally depicts a giant tree from trunk to needles, she has gone on to compose a variety of instrumental works including Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman, which is something of a response to Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, the Island Prelude, five string quartets, and an assortment of other tone poems. Tower was pianist and founding member of the Naumburg Award-winning Da Capo Chamber Players, which commissioned and premiered many of her early works, including her widely performed Petroushskates.
UNO Award-winning composer Vivian Fung has a unique talent for combining idiosyncratic textures and styles into large-scale works, reflecting her multicultural background. NPR calls her “one of today’s most eclectic composers.” This is supported by many of her works, including Clarinet Quintet: Frenetic Memories, a reflection on her travels to visit minority groups in China’s Yunnan province; Earworms, commissioned by Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, which musically depicts our diverted attention spans and multi-tasking lives; and The Ice Is Talking for solo percussion and electronics, commissioned by the Banff Centre, using three ice blocks to illustrate the beauty and fragility of our environment.
Fung is currently at work on a flute concerto for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the orchestra’s principal flutist Christie Reside, a new piano trio for the L’arc Trio in San Francisco, and a new piece for the United Kingdom’s Tangram Collective. The Metropolis Ensemble commissioned her (Un)Wandering Souls for Sandbox Percussion to premiere at the Bongsokol Festival in Cambodia in December 2020. In July 2020, the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s brand new Virtual Orchestra gave the world premiere of Fung’s Prayer, a unique work recorded in isolation for an online performance led by conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin during the COVID-19 pandemic. A creative collaboration between CBC Music and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the CBC Virtual Orchestra brought together 36 of Canada’s finest classical musicians from 28 different orchestras from every province in Canada to record the piece. Nézet-Séguin led The Philadelphia Orchestra in a performance of Prayer in September 2020 as part of the orchestra’s revised digital fall season.
Libby Larsen (b. 1950, Wilmington, Delaware) is one of America’s most performed living composers. She has composed over 500 works including orchestra, opera, vocal and chamber music, symphonic winds and band. Her work is widely recorded.
An advocate for the music and musicians of our time, in 1973 Larsen co-founded the Minnesota Composers Forum, now the American Composer’s Forum. Grammy Award winner and former holder of the Papamarkou Chair at John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, Larsen has also held residencies with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Charlotte Symphony, and the Colorado Symphony. As Artistic Director of the John Duffy Institute for New Opera (2014-2020 ), she guides a faculty of practicing professional artists in nurturing and production of new opera by American Composers. Larsen’s 2017 biography, Libby Larsen: Composing an American Life, Denise Von Glahn, author, is available from the University Illinois Press.
Florence Beatrice Price
American classical composer, pianist, organist and music teacher. Price is noted as the first African-American woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer, and the first to have a composition played by a major orchestra. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra performed her Symphony in E Minor on June 15, 1933, under the direction of Frederick Stock. The work was later performed at the Chicago World’s Fair as part of the Century of Progress Exhibition. Florence B. Price’s music reflected romantic, nationalist qualities of that time, blended with her own cultural heritage as an African American woman. Her Symphony No. 1, which she composed in 1931, is a perfect example of this. The first movement is based on two freely composed melodies reminiscent of spirituals. The second movement, though, is clearly influenced by the orchestral music of Antonin Dvorak. Price composed numerous works: four symphonies, four concertos, as well as choral works, plus art songs, and music for chamber and solo instruments..