2018-19 Composition Competition Winner: Aaron Israel Levin, In Between

The Chelsea Symphony is thrilled to announce the winning composition of the 2018-19 competition: Aaron Israel Levin's In Between.

Guided by the emotional dynamism of storytelling and drama, Aaron's music draws from a variety of musical and non-musical influences – including film, theater, and performance art – to create compositions that are both personal and wide-ranging. Aaron’s music has been performed by the Bent Frequency Duo, Fifth House Ensemble, loadbang, the Yale Philharmonia, mezzo-sopranos Kayleigh Butcher and Lisa Neher, and percussionists Dmitrii Nilov and Sam Um.

Originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, Aaron earned his BA in music from Grinnell College in Iowa, where he studied composition with Eric McIntyre and John Rommereim. He received his MM in composition from the Yale School of Music this past May, where his teachers included Martin Bresnick, Aaron Jay Kernis, David Lang, Hannah Lash, and Christopher Theofanidis.

Of the winning composition:

In Between takes its inspiration from movies about making movies, like David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, or Federico Fellini’s 8 ½. In these films, the lives of fictitious filmmakers “off-set” often become intermingled with the film they’re attempting to make. In Between takes this premise as a jumping-off point, and approaches the orchestra like a crew of filmmakers. Specifically, the whip – a percussion instrument that makes a distinctive whack – stands in for the director’s clapperboard. Every time the whip is sounded, it signifies an “action” for the filming to begin, or a “cut” for the filming to stop. The musical characters that take place during the “action” and “cut” sequences come into conflict with each other, evoking the tension and inner turmoil that frequently accompany the artistic process. The title refers to what happens in between “takes,” and the inevitable merging of off- and on-set.

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Now in its fifth year, The Chelsea Symphony's annual composition competition supports the orchestra's mission of championing contemporary music. Across the seven concert series in our 2018-19 season, we have presented ten pieces by living composers, five of which are world premieres.

We are honored to present the first concert performance of In Between by Aaron Israel Levin on June 29-30 at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music.