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Kevin Puts

Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for the opera Silent Night, Kevin Puts has been hailed as one of the most important composers of his generation. His work has been commissioned and performed by leading orchestras in the United States and abroad, including the New York Philharmonic, the Tonhalle Orchestër (Zurich), the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Cincinnati, Detroit, Atlanta, Colorado, Houston, Fort Worth, Utah, St. Louis, the Boston Pops, and the Minnesota Orchestra which commissioned his Sinfonia Concertante, and by leading chamber ensembles such as the Mirò Quartet, the Eroica Trio, eighth blackbird, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Puts’ orchestral catalog includes four symphonies as well as several concertos written for some of today’s top soloists. In 2005, Mr. Puts received the tremendous honor of a commission in celebration of David Zinman’s 70th birthday, and the result was Vision, a cello concerto premiered by Yo-Yo Ma and the Aspen Music Festival Orchestra. During the same year, his Percussion Concerto was premiered by Evelyn Glennie with the Pacific and Utah Symphonies. He has also written concertos for marimbist Makoto Nakura, violinist Michael Shih, clarinetist Bil Jackson, and a piano concerto commissioned by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and premiered in 2008 by pianist and conductor Jeffrey Kahane. Puts has received awards and grants from the American Academy in Rome, the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, BMI and ASCAP. He has served as Composer-in-Residence of Young Concerts Artists, the California Symphony, the Fort Worth Symphony, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire, and the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society. He received his training as a composer and pianist at the Eastman School of Music and Yale University. Since 2006, he has been a member of the composition department at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Mr. Puts received his Bachelor’s Degree from the Eastman School of Music, his Master’s Degree from Yale University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts at the Eastman School of Music. (Photo J. Henry Fair)
Music by Kevin Puts

Tracks 1-10 recorded September/October 2012 at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church, Austin, TX
Tracks 11-14 recorded live June 2012 at Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, Baltimore, MD

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts is known for his distinctive and richly colored musical voice. Making their label début, Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra perform Puts’ Symphony No. 4 (“From Mission San Juan”), inspired by Native American melodies. Opening this program of world première recordings, Craig Hella Johnson leads Conspirare in two choral settings of texts by women poets: “To Touch the Sky” and “If I Were a Swan.” Mela Dailey, Conspirare solo soprano. – from Harmonia Mundi package notes

“I cannot speak highly enough about this work. I truly love the sound of crystalline choral music, written superbly, with picturesque and meaningful texts, sung beautifully … [To Touch the Sky] is simply and undeniably beautiful and Conspirare is a stunning ensemble that performs with flawless diction, intonation and balance … I refer to Kevin Puts as a ‘break-through’ composer because it is my opinion that he will soon be a household name in American music …” Daniel Coombs, Audiophile Audition

Pre-release review at broadwayworld.com

Conspirare, Craig Hella Johnson

  1. If I Were a Swan 2012 (Fleda Brown, b. 1944)

To Touch the Sky: Nine Songs for Unaccompanied Chorus on Texts by Women 2012

  1. I. Annunciation (Magnificat), (Marie Howe, b. 1950)
  2. II. Unbreakable, (Mirabai, ca. 1498-1557)
  3. III. The Fruit of Silence, (Mother Teresa of Calcutta, 1910-1977)
  4. IV. Falling Snow, (Amy Lowell, 1874-1925)
  5. V. At Castle Wood (Emily Brontë, 1818-1948)
  6. VI. Epitaph, (Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1892-1950)
  7. VII. Who has seen the wind? (Christina Georgina Rossetti, 1830-1894)
  8. VIII. With my two arms, (Sappho, ca. 615-570 BC)
  9. IX. Most noble evergreen (Hildegard of Bingen, 1098-1179)

To Touch the Sky texts and authors

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Marin Alsop

Symphony No. 4 “From Mission San Juan,” 2007

  1. I. Prelude: Mission San Juan Bautista, ca. 1800
  2. II. Arriquetpon (diary of Francisco Arroyo de la Cuesta, 1818)
  3. III. Interlude
  4. IV. Healing Song