Arts and Culture

Three artists are joining Louisville Orchestra for its 2022-2023 performance season as part of the organization’s new commissioning initiative called “Creators Corps.”

In a news release Monday, the orchestra named Lisa Bielawa, TJ Cole and Tyler Taylor as the first “Creators Corps” cohort. 

“Lisa, TJ, and Tyler are examples of consummate 21st-century artist-leaders; their musical talents match their intellects and they all share a remarkable sensitivity to the needs of the world beyond the boundaries of contemporary musical composition,” music director Teddy Abrams said in the release, adding that the three were selected from an applicant pool of 186 artists.

Bielawa, Cole and Taylor begin their residencies Sept. 1. Each will receive a $40,000 annual salary, health insurance, housing and a studio workspace in the Shelby Park neighborhood, plus access to the orchestra and Abrams. They’ll premiere work with the Louisville Orchestra throughout the 2022-2023 performance season. 

The program is funded for three years through a $750,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, as well as individual donors.

In a news release announcing the commissioning initiative in March, Abrams called “Creators Corps” a “grand experiment,” and said it is “the most ambitious large-scale project the orchestra has undertaken since I arrived in Louisville.”

Jacob Gotlib, creative neighborhood residency program manager at Louisville Orchestra, told WFPL News in March the residency bolsters one of the orchestra’s key goals moving forward, “to embrace the idea that music is a fundamental part of civic life.”

Taylor, who lives in his hometown of Louisville, has had fellowships with the National Orchestra Institute and the Bowdoin International Music Festival, and has won several awards for his compositions. He’s had commissions with groups like the Washington and Lee University Orchestra, the Chicago Composers Orchestra, the Louisville Orchestra, the Indiana University New Music Ensemble and the Indiana Bandmasters Association. 

He called the residency “a dream job” that would allow him to focus solely on his art and not have to juggle other work to make ends meet. 

“And then, perhaps more importantly, it’s an opportunity for me to interact in a really substantial and professional musical way with an institution that has honestly shaped who I am as a musician and as an artist,” Taylor told WFPL News, explaining that he’s gone to see the Louisville Orchestra perform since he was a young kid. 

“So to be a part of that, and to interact with the musicians, interact with Teddy, and to create something that will reach out into the community in a really prolific and high-profile way is a dream come true.”

The community aspect of the program was a huge factor in making him want to apply in the first place. 

“I come from a background that doesn’t really have a lot of context for being in this position as a classical composer, [from] a really modest family of non-musicians,” Taylor said. “So it came down to people from the community, who saw my interest in music, investing in me to help get me where I am today.”

 

Taylor has some “very vague impressions or ideas” ahead of the start of the program, but he wants to stay open and “go with the flow,” seeing how things evolve over the course of the season working alongside his “Creators Corp” colleagues. 

Bielawa is a composer, producer and vocalist. She received a 2017 Music Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters and a 2020 OPERA America Grant for Female Composers, and was the founding composer-in-residence and chief curator for the Philip Glass Institute at The New School’s College for the Performing Arts. 

Cole has been commissioned by the likes of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Time For Three and the Bakken Trio. Their music has been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony and others. Cole is also a member of Twin Pixie, an electronic synth-pop duo.

Disclaimer: Louisville Orchestra is among the financial supporters of Arts, Culture, Et Cetera, a newsletter from Louisville Public Media, of which WFPL News is a part of.

Stephanie Wolf is WFPL's Arts & Culture Reporter.