Recipient of our
2015 Composer's Award
Tina Davidson, a highly regarded American composer, creates music that stands out for its emotional depth and lyrical dignity. She has been acclaimed for her authentic voice, her "vivid ear for harmony and colors" (New York Times) and her works of "transfigured beauty" (OperaNews). She writes "real music, with structure, mood, novelty and harmonic sophistication - with haunting melodies that grow out of complex, repetitive rhythms" (Philadelphia Inquirer) that is both "intellectually rigorous and deeply moving" (Star-Tribune).
Over her forty-year career, Davidson has been commissioned by well-known ensembles such as National Symphony Orchestra, OperaDelaware, Roanoke Symphony, Women’s Philharmonic, VocalEssence, Kronos Quartet, Mendelssohn String Quartet, Cassatt Quartet, and public television (WHYY-TV). Her music has been widely performed by many orchestras and ensembles, including The Philadelphia Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Florida Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Harrisburg Symphony, Relâche Ensemble, and Orchestra 2001. She was most recently commissioned by Grammy-Award winner, Hilary Hahn.
Long-term residencies play a major role in Ms Davidson’s career. As composer-in-residence with the Fleisher Art Memorial (1998-2001), she was commissioned to write for the Cassatt Quartet, Voces Novae et Antiquae, and members of the Philadelphia Orchestra. She also created the city-wide Young Composers program to teach inner city children how to write music through instrument building, improvisation, and graphic notation. She was composer-in-residence as part of the innovative Meet The Composer "New Residencies" with OperaDelaware, the Newark Symphony and the YWCA in Delaware (1994-97). During this residency, she wrote the critically acclaimed full-length opera, Billy and Zelda, as well as created community partner programs for homeless women, and with students at a local elementary school.
The recipient of numerous prestigious grants and fellowships, Davidson was the first classical composer to receive a $50,000 Pew Fellowship, the largest such grant in the country for which an artist can apply. She has been awarded four Artist’s Fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, CAP grants from the American Music Center and numerous Meet the Composer grants. Her work, Transparent Victims was selected by the American Public Radio as part of the International Rostrum of Composers, held at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
Ms. Davidson’s music can be heard on Albany Records, CRI, Mikrokosmik, Callisto, and Opus One recording labels. Her second solo compact disc, "It is My Heart Singing," was released on Albany Records and features three works for strings performed by the Cassatt Quartet. "I Hear the Mermaids Singing" was released on CRI's Emergency Music label and includes six of her chamber works. The Cassatt Quartet recorded her string quartet, Cassandra Sings for CRI. In June 2002, WHYY-TV released her piano trio, Bodies in Motionon CD and DVD formats as apart of their documentary, "Thomas Eakins: Scenes from Modern Life." Her work, Antiphon for the Virgin, recorded by VocalEssence Ensemble Singers, was released by St. Patrick Guild on compact disc. Her work, Blue Curve of the Earth, recorded by Hilary Hahn, was released on Deutsche Grammophon in 2013.
Tina Davidson was born in Stockholm, Sweden and grew up in Oneonta, NY and Pittsburgh, PA. She received her BA in piano and composition from Bennington College in 1976 where she studied with Henry Brant, Louis Calabro, Vivian Fine and Lionel Nowak. She founded the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Composers Forum and served as its director from 1999-2001. She was president of the New Music Alliance, a national organization, which has been responsible for the New Music America Festivals. She organized a nation-wide festival entitled "New Music Across America," which ran in 18 cities in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. In 1992 she wrote a widely-circulated article on women in music for Ms Magazine. She lives in central Pennsylvania and is currently working on a new opera called Pearl, based on a novel by acclaimed author, Mary Gordon.
About the Annual Composer’s Award
Established in 1959, the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra Composer’s Award is the oldest award of its kind in the nation. Its purpose is to recognize and honor contemporary composers who are making a particularly significant contribution in the field of symphonic music, not only through their own creative efforts but also as effective personal advocates of new approaches to the broadening of critical and appreciative standards. While the judgment of any creative work ultimately rests upon the artist, it is nevertheless true that, in music as in other arts, appreciation often stems from personal association. The appearance of an outstanding composer before the more than 2,500 patrons of the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra generates not only greater interest in his work but also a more appreciative hearing of contemporary music.
The Composer's Award is given as the key feature of a program designed to encourage and actively develop a special interest in modern music and contemporary composers on the part of the audiences of the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, to the end that this Pennsylvania community may serve as an example in the advancement of greater understanding and appreciation of contemporary music everywhere.
The award is made in connection with a regular concert by the Lancaster Symphony at which a representative work of the composer being honored is performed. In the acceptance of the award, the composer gives a short talk, summarizing his/her individual approach to musical composition.