New York and Austin-based composer Nina C. Young (b.1984) writes music characterized by an acute sensitivity to tone color, manifested in aural images of vibrant, arresting immediacy. Her unique musical voice draws equally from elements of the classical canon, modernism, spectralism, American experimentalism, minimalism, electronic music, and popular idioms. Her projects strive to create unique sonic environments that can be appreciated by a wide variety of audiences while challenging stylistic boundaries, auditory perception, and notions of temporality.
Young’s works have been presented by leading cultural institutions such as Carnegie Hall, the National Gallery, the Whitney, LA Phil’s Next on Grand and Noon to Midnight, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series. Her music has garnered international acclaim through performances by the American Composers Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Phoenix Symphony, Orkest de ereprijs, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, the Argento Chamber Ensemble, Divertimento Ensemble, Either/Or, the JACK Quartet, Scharoun Ensemble, Sixtrum, SurPlus, wild Up, and Yarn/Wire. Winner of the 2015-16 Rome Prize in Musical Composition, Young has also received a Koussevitzky Commission from the Library of Congress, a Civitella-Ranieri Fellowship, a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Salvatore Martirano Memorial Award, the Jacob Druckman Prize, and honors from BMI, IAWM, and ASCAP/SEAMUS. Young has held fellowship residencies at the Aspen and Atlantic Festivals, Akademie Schloss Solitude, the Montalvo Arts Center, and the Tanglewood Music Center.
Recent commissions include Tête-a-Tête for two toy pianos, deskbells, and video projection for the HOCKET Ensemble supported by the LA Phil, a community sound installation and performance for Miller Theatre’s Morningside Lights Processional Arts Workshop, a Fromm Foundation supported duo for cellist Jay Campbell and pianist Conor Hanick, a solo guitar piece for Jiji Kim supported by Concert Artists Guild and the BMI Foundation, a new sax quartet for PRISM, and a piece for American Brass Quintet and EMPAC’s wavefield synthesis audio system.
Young’s interests are now headed in the direction of collaborative, multidisciplinary works. While in Rome, Young developed a site-specific piece with choreographer Miro Magloire (New Chamber Ballet), Temenos, around the intersection of movement, architecture, and sound at the Tempietto Del Bramante. In 2017 American Composers Orchestra Underground premiered Out of whose womb came the ice (commissioned by the Jerome Foundation) – a work for baritone, orchestra, electronics, and generative video commenting on the ill-fated Ernest Shackleton Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1914-17. In 2016, Young collaborated with performance artist and women’s rights activist Erin Helfert to develop the 8-channel sonic installation of RITE OF PASSAGE– a performance piece that explores death, liminality, and rebirth as inspired by Helfert’s five-year rape trial in a Moroccan court. Young is collaborating with vocal bassist Andrew Munn on a multimedia ritual opera titled Making Tellus: An Opera for the Anthropocene that addresses the current socio-political conversation surrounding human intervention and the Earth’s rapidly changing geology.
A graduate of McGill and MIT, Nina completed her DMA at Columbia University where she was an active participant at the Columbia Computer Music Center. Nina is an Assistant Professor of Composition and Director of Electronic Music at the Butler School of Music (UT Austin). She serves as Co-Artistic Director of NY-based new music sinfonietta Ensemble Échappé. Peermusic Classical publishes her compositions.
Articles by Nina C. Young:
It’s obvious that our physical world is in deep trouble. Old and new technologies are out of control—polluting our air, water and soil, poisoning our health, heating up the climate...