PAUL FRUCHT, CIMF ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Hailed as a “composer with a career to follow” by Hearst Media, Paul Frucht is an American composer whose music has been acclaimed for its “sense of lyricism, driving pulse, and great urgency” (WQXR), “jagged beauty” (Buffalo News) and “excellent orchestration” (Ridgefield Press). His music has been commissioned and performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Atlantic Music Festival Orchestra, Chelsea Symphony, Juilliard Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Weill-Cornell Music and Medicine Orchestra, Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra, American Modern Ensemble, Asian American New Music Institute, Euclid Quartet, Gamper Festival of Contemporary Music, LONGLEASH Trio, New York City Ballet Choreographic Institute, Utah Arts Festival, Buffalo Chamber Music Society, Midsummer’s Music, and the Eastern Music Festival among numerous other performing ensembles and organizations.
His work Forever is Composed of Nows was recently commissioned and premiered by the Grammy-Award winning trio Time For Three in Ketchum, ID at the Argyros Performing Arts Center and will be performed at the Geneva Music Festival Princeton Music Festival among other venues as the group tours with it this year. Summer 2023 also features the world premiere of There Are Stars, a new work for flute and string quartet commissioned by the Sonora Collective and the world of Finding Religion, a new work commissioned for violinist Jeffrey Multer, cellist Julian Schwarz, and the Eastern Music Festival Orchestral lead by Gerard Schwarz. The 23-24 season will also feature the world premiere of Rhapsody II, a new string quartet commissioned by the Carpe Diem String Quartet as well as performances of Paul’s violin and piano work What a Time, performed by William Shaub, the concertmaster of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, on the KSO Merchant and Gould Concertmaster Series.
Paul has long prioritized cultural engagement through his work as a composer and artistic leader. In 2013, he wrote Dawn, in memory of Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal, Dawn Hochsprung, who was his middle school principal when he was a student at Rogers Park Middle School in Danbury, CT, which neighbors Newtown, CT. The work honors her legacy of courage and dedication to education and has been performed around the United States by the American Composers Orchestra, Atlantic Music Festival Orchestra, Bowling Green State University Orchestra, Chelsea Symphony, Eastern Music Festival Orchestra, and Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra. The wind band version was recently premiered by the UMKC Conservatory Wind Symphony led by Steven Davis, who will lead a subsequent performance at Interlochen Center for the Arts with the World Youth Wind Symphony in August 2023. Additionally, in 2012, the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra led by Yuga Cohler gave the world premiere of A More Perfect Union, an orchestral song cycle for baritone and orchestral based on the speeches of Pres. Obama, commissioned for baritone Jorell Williams and the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra. Paul and Yuga collaborated on the work with Cody Keenan, Pres. Obama’s chief speechwriter and the work was featured in a NowThis feature.
Recently, Paul was named the winner of the 2023 Lake George Music Festival Composition Competition. Additionally, he has been the recipient of a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Brian H. Israel Prize from the Society of New Music, an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award, Juilliard’s Palmer Dixon, Arthur Friedman, and Gena Raps Prizes, the American Composers Orchestra’s 2016 Audience Choice Award and has been recognized for his work by the Copland House, American Modern Ensemble, the Nashville Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Red Note New Music Festival, Chelsea Symphony, Periapsis Music and Dance, the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, and the Spectrum Chamber Music Society.
In 2015, Paul founded the Charles Ives Music Festival (CIMF), of which he currently serves as the artistic director. Based in Ridgefield, CT, CIMF explores the rich history of Ives and his legacy, American music, through dynamic artist concerts and interactive educational events, with a particular focus on presenting the works of living American composers. The festival presents ten concerts and events per year, primarily concentrated during the first two weeks of August when the festival holds its educational programming, which brings talented artist-faculty from leading U.S. orchestras and chamber groups to CT to perform side-by-side with 55 youth musicians. Leading American musicians and composers including composer Kevin Puts, double bassist Ranaan Meyer, cellist Julian Schwarz, harpist Emily Levin, and composer Justin Dello Joio have been featured artists.
A passionate educator of all ages, he has been a faculty member at New York University’s Steinhardt School since 2015. Paul received his doctoral of musical arts and master of music degrees at the Juilliard School and a B.M. from New York University, where he studied with Justin Dello Joio.
ERIC MAHL, WCYO MUSIC DIRECTOR & CIMF ORCHESTRA DIRECTOR
Mr. Mahl is the Music Director of the Northport Symphony, Geneva Light Opera Company, The Philharmonia Orchestra at Third Street, Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra, and Lakeland Youth Orchestra, as well Associate Conductor of the Greenwich Village Orchestra. He is also the founder and Music Director of OrchestraOne, a NYC based organization founded on community involvement, and ensembles conductor at the Charles Ives Music Festival in Danbury, CT. Mr. Mahl is a musician who believes in the transformative powers of music above all else.
He has had guest conducting experiences with the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, Ridgefield Symphony, New Amsterdam Symphony, Greenwich Village Orchestra, The Chelsea Symphony, Urban Playground orchestra, and the University Orchestras of the College Conservatory of Music (CCM), Orchestra de l’Universite de Montreal, and SUNY Fredonia.
A fervent supporter of New Music, Mr. Mahl frequently conducts New Music Ensembles in the Greater NYC area, has led ensembles in the performance of more than twenty world premiers and has commissioned nine pieces for full orchestra through the ensembles he directs. These and other projects have led to many collaborations and commissions with professional and student composers including the world premieres of fully-staged operas, experimental ballet, and countless small and large ensemble pieces of all genres and instrumentations. He was also selected from over 100 applicants to participate in the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music Conducting Workshop, where he worked closely with Marin Alsop and James Ross.
As a passionate educator, Mr. Mahl has personally taught all ages and instruments at public and private schools throughout the five boroughs of New York City, and frequently works with student musicians from under-served communities. As a firm believer that music can provide a transformational experience for any child regardless of background, he attempts to engage and inspire students from as many cultural and geographic backgrounds as possible through community engagement activities such as free lectures, workshops, and concerts in addition to working with student orchestras. It is his goal to expose the humanistic meaning behind great works of art, to tear down any and all barriers between the audience and performers and bring the world together.
Mr. Mahl received his Bachelors of Music in Education from Ithaca College and continued his studies both at Universite de Montreal and the State University of New York at Fredonia, where he received his master’s degree. He has studied with some of the foremost conducting pedagogues in the United States including Marin Alsop, James Ross, Harold Farberman, Neil Varon, Marc Gibson, Larry Rachleff, Don Schleicher, Jean-Francois Rivest, Paolo Bellomia, and Joeseph Gifford. He has participated in workshops and competitions in the United States, Canada, the Czech Republic; at the Eastman School of Music, College Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati and Bard College. Mr. Mahl’s primary instrument is the trumpet, although he is schooled in all orchestral instruments. He continues to perform in orchestral, jazz, and chamber music settings.