“A year ago Ben Ash was one of three finalists in Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra’s inaugural ‘Classical Evolve’ competition, which resulted in the Seattle native becoming composer-in-residence for the 2018-19 season,” writes Jessi Virtusio in Tuesday’s (5/7) Daily Southtown (Chicago suburbs). “While Ash prepares the world premiere of his third piece for the orchestra, three finalists are preparing for the final round of the second annual ‘Classical Evolve’ on May 14 …  ‘What I like about this contest is it was like an open rehearsal,’ said Ash, via phone from his Seattle-area home about each finalist’s work being rehearsed and performed by Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra.… This year’s ‘Classical Evolve’ finalists are Carlos Bandera … Martha C. Horst … and Allen Molineux…. ‘For any composers, but especially ones my age, it’s hard to find people who are interested in putting new music at the front and center,’ said Ash…. ‘Just the chance to get something performed and the chance to perform three times with the same group is huge’ … Ash [has already] premiered the happy-yet-sad ‘Cut My Legs From Underneath Me’ … and the rock ‘n’ roll ‘Posh Mosh.’ … His final composition … premieres May 18… to close the orchestra’s season.”

To read Symphony magazine’s article about the Illinois Philharmonic and other small-budget orchestras that are commissioning new works, click here.  

Posted May 10, 2019

In large photo: The Illinois Philharmonic and Music Director Stilian Kirov during the orchestra’s inaugural Classical Evolve competition, May 2018. Inset photo: Ben Ash, who won the competition and is the orchestra’s current composer in residence.