The project, which began in 1967 by Professor Emeritus Conrad De Jong, is the longest standing program of its kind within the United States, putting a national spotlight on the UW-RF Music Department. Every year, the student members of the Commissioned Composer Project select and commission a composer to write a piece of music for the student body, and arranges for that composer to come to the campus in the spring to interact with the students and take part in the premiere performance of that work.
Conrad De Jong is a highly acclaimed and accomplished composer of international renown. He has 30 published commissions to his credit and, since 1970, has received annual awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. In 1980 he was a featured composer at New Music America. His music has been performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Town Hall in New York City, and on the Today Show. Internationally, his works have been performed in Canada, South America, Europe, Australia and Japan. One of his numerous commissions, Variations on the Spanish LaFolia, has been recorded by the Dorian Wind Quintet on its Summit Records CD, American Premiers.
As a teacher, he was especially proud of his students' work in composition and their performances with the University of Wisconsin-River Falls New Music Ensemble. He also takes great personal gratification from the establishment and continuation of the UW-RF Commissioned Composer Program.
Guy Klucevsek has been commissioned by The University of Wisconsin/River Falls Commissioned Composer Project to write a piece for open instrumentation premiering in April, 2014. The Commissioned Composer Project has been in existence for 47 years. Guy is one of the world's most versatile and highly-respected accordionists. He has performed and/or recorded with Laurie Anderson, Bang On a Can, Brave Combo, Anthony Braxton, Anthony Coleman, Dave Douglas, Bill Frisell, Rahim al Haj, Robin Holcomb, Kepa Junkera, the Kronos Quartet, Natalie Merchant, Present Music, Relâche, Zeitgeist, and John Zorn.
He is the recipient of a 2010 United States Artists Collins Fellowship, an unrestricted $50,000 award given annually to "America's finest artists."He has premiered over 50 solo accordion pieces, including his own, as well as those he has commissioned from Mary Ellen Childs, William Duckworth, Fred Frith, Aaron Jay Kernis, Jerome Kitzke, Stephen Montague, Somei Satoh, Lois V Vierk, and John Zorn.Performances include the Ten Days on the Island Festival (Tasmania), the Adelaide Festival (Australia), the Berlin Jazz Festival, Lincoln Center, Spoleto Festival/USA, BAM Next Wave Festival, Cotati Accordion Festival, San Antonio International Accordion Festival, Vienna International Accordion Festival, and the children's television show "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood."
47 Years of Commissioned Composers
2013 Fang Man
2012 Cort Lippe ~ Music for Octet and Computer
2011 Conrad DeJong ~ EARTHSONGS II
2010 Michael Colgrass ~ ZULULAND
2009 Julia Wolfe ~ GUARD MY TONGUE
2008 Mark Melllits ~ PRIME
2007 Lars Jansson ~ RIVER FALLS SUITE
2006 John Luther Adams ~ ...AND BELLS REMEMBERED...
2005 Stephen Paulus ~ JUBILATE!
2004 Michael Torke ~ FOUR WHEEL DRIVE
2003 Christian Wolff ~ PEACE MARCH 9
2002 Anthony Braxton ~ COMPOSITION NO. 307
2001 Pauline Oliveros ~ SOUND PATTERNS AND TROPES
2000 Jared Spears ~ LEGACY
1999 Judith Lang Zaimont ~ PARALLEL PLAY
1998 Fred Sturm ~ RIVERSCAPE
1997 Joseph Turrin ~ SOUNDINGS
1996 Conrad De Jong ~ EARTH SONGS
1995 Jennifer Higdon ~ WILD MAN DANCES
1994 David Revill ~ ORENDA
1993 James Fritschel ~ COME LET US SOUND WITH MELODY
1992 Lois V. Vierk ~ PLAIN OF SIX GLACIERS
1991 Mary Ellen Childs ~ IN EACH OTHER'S PRESENCE
1990 Joel Chadabe ~ JAM
1989 John Zorn ~ RUAN LINQYU
1988 Libby Larson ~ BAC
1987 Morton Feldman ~ FOR STEFAN WOLPE
1986 Harold Budd ~ ODD ANTHEMS AND STILL ROOMS
1985 Irwin Bazelon ~ FOURSCORE
1984 Fisher Tull ~ QUODLIBET
1983 Frederic Rzewski ~ SATYRICA
1982 Sydney Hodkinson ~ ALTE LIEBESLIEDER (Book III)
1981 Stephan Chatman ~ SCREAMS AND WHIMPERS
1980 Edwin London ~ PSALM OF THESE DAYS V
1979 Barbara Kolb ~ CHROMATIC FANTASY
1978 Richard Felciano ~ THE SEASONS
1977 John Cage ~ QUARTET
1976 Leslie Bassett ~ WIND MUSIC
1975 Henry Brant ~ A PLAN OF THE AIR
1974 William Albright ~ INTRODUCTION, PASSACAGLIA, AND RONDO CAPRICCIOSO
1973 Stephen Chambers ~ SKETCHY BLUE BOP AND TONE PRAYERS
1972 Mel Powell ~ SETTING
1971 Barney Childs ~ WHEN LILACS LAST IN THE DOORYARD BLOOM'D
1970 Ross Lee Finney ~ THE REMORSELESS RUSH OF TIME
1969 Chou Wen-Chung ~ YUN
1968 Donald Erb ~ THREE PIECES
1967 Vincent Persichetti ~ CELEBRATION
Conrad De Jong, composer and professor emeritus, initiated the commissioned composer event in 1967 at the school's Spring Fine Arts Festival. De Jong's intention from the beginning was to ensure that contemporary trends in American music would become part of the repertoire of River Falls music students.
For more information. See the article" Bravo Maestro!" by Kevin Bertelsen, Director of Publications at UW-River Falls.
Several UWRF Commissioned Composers have been featured on the Minnesota Public Radio program American Mavericks.