Trisha Shetty (Editor)

Present Music

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Established  1982
Artistic Director  Kevin Stalheim
Genre  Classical
Albums  Luna, A.: Graffiti
Location  Milwaukee, WI
Founded  1982
Record labels  Innova Recordings, Ecstatic Records
Similar  Kamran Ince, Jerome Kitzke, Michael Torke, Albany Symphony Orchestra, Henry Brant

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Present Music is a contemporary nonprofit music organization and ensemble based in Milwaukee, WI. It was founded in 1982, and is currently led by founder and Artistic Director Kevin Stalheim. Present Music has put on shows in many venues around the world, but primarily performs in Milwaukee.


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Present Music was founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin by Kevin Stalheim in 1982. Since its inception, the organization has performed or commissioned composition of new music by living composers. Its music is considered to be 21st Century music, and is often polystylistic and eclectic, incorporating unique instrumentation and musical techniques. Present Music is nonprofit, and is supported by ticket sales, grants, and donations. Present Music also has an education program called the Creation Project.


Present Music puts on six or seven concerts every season, many of which operate around a central theme or idea. In addition to the musical aspects of the presentations, some of its concerts include an elaborate or immersive visual aspect as well, such as dance or video. As well as hosting many concerts in Milwaukee, Present Music has performed at festivals around the world. Notable Present Music appearances include:

  • The Bang on a Can music festival in New York
  • The Columbia University Composer Portraits Series in New York
  • The Interlink Festival of New American Music in Japan
  • The Istanbul International Music Festival in Turkey
  • Discography

    The Present Music Ensemble has been featured on several different CDs of some of the works that Present Music composers have written, including:

  • Flight Box (2001)
  • Haunted America (2002)
  • In White (2004)
  • Michael Torke: 6 (2005)
  • Henry Brandt Collection, Vol. 3 (2006)
  • Graffiti (2009)
  • Kamran Ince (2010)
  • Creation Project

    The Creation Project is a program in which Present Music teams one of their in-residence composers with a group of students ranging from little musical understanding to advanced. The composer works with the students over 10 weeks to teach them about melody, rhythm, and harmony, culminating in an original composition written by the students. The Creation Project is traditionally done with young people, but has been conducted with members of a senior center as well.

    Composers in residence

    These are the past and present composers in residence for Present Music.

  • John Adams
  • Timo Andres
  • Thomas Bloch
  • Jeffrey Brooks
  • Ryan Carter
  • Christopher Cerrone
  • Mary Ellen Childs
  • Michael Daugherty
  • John Downey
  • Paul Dresher
  • Alexandra du Bois
  • Sean Friar
  • Annie Gosfield
  • Daron Hagen
  • Kimmo Hakola
  • John Harbison
  • Eleanor Hovda
  • Kamran Ince
  • Ben Johnston
  • Molly Joyce
  • Jerome Kitzke
  • Guy Klucevsek
  • Joan La Barbara
  • Mary Jane Lamond
  • David Lang
  • Daniel Lentz
  • Scott Lindroth
  • Armando Luna
  • Tod Machover
  • Wendy MacIsaac
  • Caroline Mallonee
  • Ingram Marshall
  • Ira Mowitz
  • Amy X Neuburg
  • Russell Platt
  • Eric Segnitz
  • Bright Sheng
  • Roberto Sierra
  • Sigmund Snopek III
  • Carl Stone
  • Michael Torke
  • Lois V. Vierk
  • Qu Xiao-Song
  • Adventurous programming awards

    Present Music is a six-time recipient of the The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Adventurous Programming Award. Among the six awards are:

  • First Prize in Adventurous Programming, Self-Presenting Ensemble for the 2002-2003 season.
  • Second Prize in Adventurous Programming, Self-Presenting Chamber Ensemble - New Music, for the 2003-2004 Season.
  • First Prize in Adventurous Programming for Small Presenter - Contemporary for the 2009-2010 season.
  • Wisconsin Area Music Industry Awards

    The Present Music Ensemble has been the recipient of the Wisconsin Area Music Industry Award in the Classical Group category. Some of the years in which Present Music was the winner of this award are 2002, 2004, and 2008.


    Haunted AmericaPresent Music Ensemble: Haunted America · 2002
    Song of IsaiahPresent Music Ensemble: Haunted America · 2002
    DreamlinesKamran İnce: Passion & Dreams · 2016


    Present Music Wikipedia