About Premiere Commission
Founded in 2001, Premiere Commission, Inc. is a non-profit foundation that promotes the commissions and premieres of new compositions by some of today's most talented and thoughtful artists. Led under the artistic leadership of its founder, pianist Bruce Levingston, the organization seeks to explore and develop the work of emerging as well as established composers and artists from different mediums.
In 2002, Premiere sponsored the world premiere of Harvard Fromm Foundation Award-winner Curtis Curtis-Smith's "Ghost" and "Passacaglia" Etudes at New York's Lincoln Center and, in 2003, the world premieres of sixteen new works for string quartet including compositions by Pulitzer Prize-winners John Corigliano, David Del Tredici, and Paul Moravec, as well as works by Justine Chen, Sebastian Currier, Zhou Long, and Chen Yi. The Washington Post named the concert "Best Classical Event of the Year". Premiere also co-commissioned with Concert Artists Guild the BMI Schuman Prize-winner Gordon Beeferman's Phenomena.
Performance at the 2006 Gala at Lincoln Center
In 2004, Premiere sponsored the Lincoln Center world premieres of Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award-winner William Bolcom's New York Lights and David Del Tredici's Gymnopedie No. 1, and, in 2005, Philip Glass's acclaimed A Musical Portrait of Chuck Close.
In 2006, the organization celebrated its fifth anniversary with a sold-out gala concert at Lincoln Center featuring Premiere Commission founder Bruce Levingston, composer/performers Lisa Bielawa and Philip Glass, film and stage actor Ethan Hawke, violinist Colin Jacobsen and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Cunningham.
In 2007, Premiere presented a new ballet with music by Pulitzer Prize-winner Milton Babbitt and choreography by Peter Quanz featuring New York City Ballet principals Megan Fairchild and Charles Askegard. In the fall of 2007, American Ballet Theatre presented a new ballet based on Glass's A Musical Portrait of Chuck Close featuring choreography by Jorma Elo and set designs by Chuck Close.
Performance at The American Ballet Theatre. Photo: Andrea Mohin/The New York Times/Redux
In 2008, Premiere Commission presented the premieres of new works by Pulitzer Prize-winner Charles Wuorinen, Germany's acclaimed Wolfgang Rihm and the 2007 Grawemeyer Award-winner Sebastian Currier.
In 2009, Premiere Commission presented the world premiere of "Fledgling" composed jointly by the 2008 and 2009 Rome prize-winners Keeril Makan and Lisa Bielawa and the world premiere of Bielawa's "Portrait-Elegy".
In 2010, Premiere Commission presented the world premiere of renowned French composer Philippe Manoury's "Spins" at the French Institute/Alliance Francaise in New York City.
In 2011, Premiere Commission sponsored the world and New York premieres at Library of Congress and Carnegie Hall of Sebastian Currier's "Digital Mist" (co-commissioned with Library of Congress), David Bruce's "The shadow of the blackbird", and Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky's "Passacaglia" (co-commissioned with Colin Jacobsen). The works were performed by Colin Jacobsen and Bruce Levingston.
In 2012, Premiere Commission celebrated its Tenth Anniversary with a special sold-out gala concert featuring Brooklyn Rider, Lisa Bielawa and Bruce Levingston at the Poisson Rouge. The performance was recorded and broadcast by WQXR.
In 2013, Premiere Commission supported Lisa Bielawa's Tempelhof Broadcast which brought together hundreds of musicians in a large-scale spatial acoustic musical celebration in and about Tempelhofer Park in Berlin. The site, famous for its role in the Berlin Airlift in 11008-49, was turned into a vast musical canvas, as community and professional musicians executed a spatialized symphony.
In 2014, pianist and Premiere Commission Artistic Director Bruce Levingston performed three world premieres at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall. Levingston brought together three great masters of the past with three of the most important musical voices of our time. Each work reflected the deep spirit and timeless influence of Johann Sebastian Bach.
In 2015, Premiere Commission collaborated with Southern Foodways Association on the commission and world premiere of Nolan Gasser's oratorio, Repast, which was based on the life of the civil rights figure Booker Wright. PEN Faulkner Award-winner Kevin Young wrote the libretto. Pianist Bruce Levingston and baritone Justin Hopkins performed the world premiere of the score in Oxford, MS and in 2016 the duo gave the work its New York City premiere performance at Carnegie Hall.
In 2018, Premiere Commission presents the world premieres of new works by David T. Little and Price Walden at Carnegie Hall commissioned in celebration of the open of Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the state's bicentennial.