Composers Du Yun and Gabriel Kahane Work with Conservatory Students

The UMKC Conservatory hosts two guest composers in September, giving Conservatory students immeasurably valuable opportunities.

Guest composer Du Yun gives a presentation on her music and a master class September 24  1–4pm in the PAC 521. Open to all faculty and students.
Gabriel Kahane presents his music and teaches a master class to UMKC student composers September 25, 2–5pm, virtually.

Du Yun

Born and raised in Shanghai, China, and currently based in New York City, ​Du ​Yun is a composer, performer and an advocator who works at the intersection of opera, orchestral, theatre, cabaret, musical, oral tradition, public performances, electronics, visual arts, and noise. Her body of work is championed by some of today’s finest performing groups and organizations around the world.

Known for her “relentless originality and unflinching social conscience” ​(​The New Yorker)​, Du Yun’s second opera, ​Angel’s Bone ​won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize.  In 2019, she was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Classical Composition category for her work ​Air Glow​. Her studio albums A Cockroach’s Tarantella,  Dinosaur Scar, Angel’s Bone were named as “Notable Recordings of the Year” by the New Yorker in 2020, 2019, and 2017 respectively. Du Yun is Professor of Composition at the Peabody Institute, and distinguished visiting professor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. 

A community champion, Du Yun was a founding member and now a board member of the International Contemporary Ensemble; served as the Artistic Director of MATA Festival of New York City (current trustee); conceived the Pan Asia Sounding Festival (National Sawdust); and founded Future Tradition, a global initiative that illuminates the provenance lineages of folk art and uses these structures to build cross-regional collaborations from the ground up. In 2018, Du Yun was named one of 38 Great Immigrants by the Carnegie Foundation, and in 2019 the Beijing Music Festival named her “Artist of the Year.” The Asia Society Hong Kong honored her for her contribution in the field of performing arts in 2021.

Du Yun’s visit is made possible by a grant from the Kauffman Foundation.

Gabriel Kahane

Hailed as “one of the finest songwriters of the day” by The New Yorker, Gabriel Kahane is known to haunt basement rock clubs and august concert halls alike, where you’ll likely find him in the green room, double-fisting coffee and a book.

His most recent album, Book of Travelers (Nonesuch Records), chronicles his 8,980-mile railway journey in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election. As a composer, he has been commissioned by, among others, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Carnegie Hall, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the Public Theater, which in 2012 presented his musical February House.

This season witnesses a number of premieres, including a piano concerto, Heirloom, written for his father, Jeffrey Kahane, who will introduce the piece this autumn in performances with the Kansas City Symphony; a new choral work co-commissioned by The Crossing and the LA Master Chorale, as well as a new work for the Attacca Quartet.

In 2019, Kahane was named the inaugural Creative Chair for the Oregon Symphony, following the premiere of his oratorio emergency shelter intake form, a work exploring inequality through the lens of housing issues. The piece was released as an album in March 2020, and will be performed by half a dozen other orchestras in the coming years.

Kahane’s discography also includes 2014’s The Ambassador, which received an acclaimed staging at BAM, directed by Tony Award-winner John Tiffany; an album of chamber music, The Fiction Issue, with the string quartet Brooklyn Rider; a recording of his orchestral song cycle Crane Palimpsest with The Knights; as well as the original cast album for February House. Other collaborations have included work with Paul Simon, Phoebe Bridgers, Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Bird, Caroline Shaw, and Chris Thile.

A two-time MacDowell Colony fellow, Kahane received the 2021 Charles Ives Fellowship Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. After nearly two decades in Brooklyn, Kahane recently relocated with his family to Portland, Oregon.


Published: Sep 17, 2021