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The College of Arts Sciences

Doctoral student chosen for institute, wins commissioning competition

By: Kathy Hovis,  A&S Communications
Wed, 05/17/2017

Charles Peck, a doctoral student in music composition, was one of seven emerging composers selected as participants in the Minnesota Orchestra’s 15th annual Composer Institute. Peck also recently was named the winner of the Boston New Music Initiative’s (BNMI) fifth annual Commissioning Competition.

Peck was chosen from a field of 158 candidates for the Minnesota honor. He will be in Minneapolis from Nov. 6-10 for rehearsals, seminars and mentoring sessions, as well as a public “Future Classics” performance on Friday, Nov. 10, where the orchestra will perform his piece “Mosaic.”

“The Minnesota Orchestra is one of the great orchestras in the U.S.,” Peck said, “and their annual composer institute is one of the rare opportunities for young composers to work with an ensemble of such caliber.”

For the Boston competition, Peck will compose a new work to be premiered during the 2017-2018 season. His work was selected by an external panel of composers and music professionals in a two-round blind judging process.

“I am particularly excited about this Boston New Music Initiative commission because it will be my first time working with this group,” Peck said.

“BNMI is really excited to be working with Charles Peck,” Beth Ratay, director of concert series for the Boston New Music Initiative, said in a press release. “His submission for the competition, “Rift & Shade” was a vibrant, dramatic and well-crafted work.”

Peck has written pieces for large ensembles, chamber ensembles, chorales, electronic instruments, piano trios and various solo pieces. His work has been called “daring” and been selected in Ensemble Mise-En’s Call for Scores and the Locrian Chamber Player’s Call for Scores.

He was named the winner of Symphony in C’s Young Composers’ Competition, Castleton Festival’s Young Composer’s Forum, OFMC Collegiate Composition Competition and the University of Cincinnati’s Composition Competition. Peck has also been awarded grants from the McKnight Foundation, American Composers Forum and Cornell Council for the Arts.

His music has been featured at festivals including the New Music Gathering, highSCORE Festival and Castleton Festival. At Cornell, he studies with Kevin Ernste, director of the Cornell Electroacoustic Music Center and associate professor of composition and also studied with the late Steven Stucky, composer and Given Foundation Professor of Music Emeritus, who passed away in February of last year.

“Commissions are an invaluable part of a composer’s work,” Peck said. “The support provides time to focus solely on the music.”

To listen to or read more about Peck’s work, visit