New York-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 experience in the electronic music studio informs her acoustic work, which takes as its given not melody and harmony, but sound itself, continuously metamorphosing from one state to another. 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 the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series. Her music has garnered international acclaim through performances by the American Composers Orchestra, Inscape 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, mise-en, Scharoun Ensemble, Sixtrum, wild Up, and Yarn/Wire. Winner of the 2015-16 Rome Prize in Musical Composition at the American Academy in Rome, 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, Aspen Music Festival's 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, Nouvel Ensemble Modern's 2014 FORUM, 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 violin concerto for Jennifer Koh, a community sound installation and performance for Miller Theatre’s Morningside Lights Processional Arts Workshop, a solo guitar piece for Jiji Kim supported by Concert Artists Guild and the BMI Foundation, a new work for the PRISM quartet, a new work the American Brass Quintet and EMPAC’s wavefield synthesis audio system, and a work for solo snare drum and transducers for percussionist Mike Compitello.
Young’s interests are now headed in the direction of collaborative, multidisciplinary works. While in Rome, Young worked with choreographer Miro Magloire and the New Chamber Ballet to develop a site-specific piece, Temenos, around the intersection of movement, architecture, and sound at the Tempietto Del Bramante. During the 2016-17 season the 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 sound design and 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 an evening-length, 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 UT Austin, and a Visiting Composer at the Peabody Institute. She serves as Co-Artistic Director of NY-based new music sinfonietta Ensemble Échappé, a visiting artist at Arts Letters & Numbers, and board member of Qubit’s Harlem pop-up-venue Project-Q. Peermusic Classical publishes her compositions.
Visiting artist at Arts Letters & Numbers Creative Music Intensive Summer 2018.