DELAWARE, OHIO – To celebrate its 40th anniversary, New York-based Orpheus Chamber Orchestra created Project 440, commissioning four of the nation’s leading “up-and-coming composers” to write music especially for the Grammy-winning ensemble.
Ohio Wesleyan University assistant professor Clint Needham, D.M., was one of the four composers selected for the honor.
“Last year, Orpheus assembled a panel of artists and industry experts to nominate a diverse group of up-and-coming composers,” according to the orchestra. “In collaboration with WQXR-New York Public Radio and [its webcast] Q2, we introduced you to these composers online. Hundreds of visitors explored the composer profiles, posting comments and offering their perspective. These ideas were brought to the table as a selection committee narrowed the pool from 60 nominees to the four winners.”
Needham’s composition, titled “When We Forget,” will make its world debut at Orpheus Chamber Orchestra’s March 24 concert on the Perelman Stage in Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium. Needham said the work is a reflection on the loss of memory from Alzheimer’s disease and, to a degree, the loss of one’s identity.
“The concept for the work came to me after looking through pictures of my children and realizing that I did not remember many of the events captured in the photographs,” Needham said. “Though my forgetfulness was only temporary, millions of people live with this tragic reality everyday. This work is dedicated to all those suffering from the disease and their heroic caregivers.”
Needham’s music has been described as “wildly entertaining” by The New York Times, “easy to smile at” by The Philadelphia Inquirer, and “well-crafted and arresting … riveting” by The Herald-Times (Bloomington, Ind.) His music is published by the Theodore Presser Co., Manhattan Beach Music, and Triplo Press. It has been recorded on the Summit Records, Marks Masters, United States Air Force, and American Composers Digital labels.
In addition to being selected for Orpheus Chamber Orchestra’s Project 440, Needham also was selected as the winner of the 2011 Barlow Prize, an international award presented annually by The Barlow Endowment for Music Composition.
As the 2011 Barlow Prize winner, Needham earned a $12,000 commission to compose a major new work for woodwind quintet. His composition will premiere in 2013, performed nationwide by the acclaimed Imani Winds, Fifth House Ensemble, and Orpheus Winds.
During his career, Needham also has been honored with the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, two ASCAP Morton Gould Awards, the William Schuman Prize/BMI Student Composer Award, the Jacob Druckman Prize from the Aspen Music Festival, First Prize in the International Ticheli Composition Contest, the Heckscher Prize from Ithaca College, a Lee Ettelson Composer Award, and the coveted Underwood New Music Commission from the American Composers Orchestra.
He earned his bachelor of music degree from the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music in Berea, Ohio, and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. At Ohio Wesleyan, Needham teaches music composition, music theory, instrumentation and orchestration, and more.
Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities, with more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Located in Delaware, Ohio, just minutes north of Ohio’s capital and largest city, Columbus, the university combines a globally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that translate classroom theory into real-world practice. OWU’s close-knit community of 1,850 students represents 47 states and 57 countries. Ohio Wesleyan was named to the 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction, is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” and is included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.