Composer Conversation Series

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Please join us for this year’s Composer Conversations, intended for music lovers of all stripes and featuring some of today’s most original, prominent and prestigious voices in composition. The winter/spring 2015 season will feature live interviews with distinctive creators Kevin Puts, Bryce Dessner, Fred Lerdahl, and Missy Mazzoli. Events will take place at Amsterdam Bar & Hall in downtown Saint Paul and feature time devoted for audience Q & A and informal post-show receptions. Events are presented in partnership with MPR, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and American Composers Forum.

Come early and stay late! Amsterdam Bar & Hall will be serving food and drinks before, during and after this event. Composer Conversation series events are FREE, but reservations are required at


Kevin Puts


Wednesday February 18, 2015 at 7pm

“Long ago we entered in an age in which anything goes and value judgments are often to be put aside or at least aggressively relaxed, and we are supposed to accept anything that a composer throws at us, but I think [that] something either works, or it doesn’t.” – Kevin Puts
2012 Pulitzer Prize winner Kevin Puts’ second opera, The Manchurian Candidate, premieres March 7-15.

Bryce Dessner

With guests Caroline Shaw and Richard Reed Parry


Thursday April 2, 2015 at 7pm

“Those old genre definitions don’t mean as much anymore… [Classical music is] definitely a living culture with lots of exciting musicians doing new programming and composers writing new work…and there’s crossover in really interesting ways.” – Bryce Dessner
The Music of Bryce Dessner, a mini-festival presented by the SPCO’s Liquid Music series and Walker Art Center, takes place April 3-4 at the Walker’s William and Nadine McGuire Theater. 

Fred Lerdahl


Wednesday April 22, 2015 at 7pm

“I have sometimes been relegated as the ‘brainy’ type. This is misleading because I am also the ‘heart’ type… The supposed antagonism of heart vs. brain seems to me to be a false opposition. Really good theory virtually disappears for the listener if it is employed in an intuitive way; this is what I hope to have achieved.” – Fred Lerdahl
Fred Lerdahl’s third SPCO commission has its world premiere April 23-26 at the Ordway Center for Performing Arts. 

Missy Mazzoli


Friday May 8, 2015 at 6pm

“I think the important task at hand is to create work that challenges people, that makes them confront things they’d rather ignore, but to do it in a way that draws them in and makes them feel connected to the composer and to other listeners.” – Missy Mazzoli
Missy Mazzoli’s band Victoire is presented by the SPCO’s Liquid Music series and Walker Art Center on May 9 at the Walker’s William and Nadine McGuire Theater.
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