America The was completed on November 1st 2020- a few days before the general election. As such, I can only describe it as a tarnished arrangement- an iconic melody shrouded in anger, existential dread and the fear of another 4 years of Donald Trump.
Qasim Naqvi is a drummer and founding member of the group Dawn of Midi. He also makes electronic music and composes for orchestras, chamber groups, dance and film. His concert music has been performed/commissioned by The BBC Concert Orchestra, Jennifer Koh, The London Contemporary Orchestra, Stargaze, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Crash Ensemble, The Now Ensemble, The Erebus Ensemble, yMusic, The Helsinki Chamber Choir, Alexander Whitley Dance, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra(MusicNOW Season) and others. Qasim's soundtracks for film have appeared on HBO, NBC, PBS, The Sundance Channel, New York Times Op-Docs, VICE Media, at The Tribeca, Sundance, Toronto, Rotterdam and London Film Festivals, at dOCUMENTA 13 and 14, The Guggenheim Museum, The Tate Britain (Turner Prize 2018), MOMA P.S. 1, IDFA, Berlinale and others. He has worked with such notable filmmakers as Laura Poitras, Mariam Ghani, Marc Levin, Naeem Mohaiemen, Smriti Keshari, Prashant Bhargava and Erin Heidenreich. Qasim earned his B.F.A in performance from the New School Jazz and Contemporary Music program and his M.F.A in composition and performance from California Institute of the Arts. He studied drums and performance with Andrew Cyrille, Joe Chambers, Reggie Workman, Buster Williams, Ralph Peterson Jr., Charlie Haden and Rashied Ali and composition with Wolfgang von Schweinitz, James Tenney, Morton Subotnick, Marc Sabat, Wadada Leo Smith, Michael Jon Fink and Anne LeBaron. He is a 2016 N.Y.F.A Fellow in Music and Sound and has received other fellowships and awards from Chamber Music America, The Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Mid-Atlantic Arts Council, Harvest Works, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, S.T.E.I.M. and Art OMI.
As the artistic director of Center for Musical Excellence, I am always on the look out for new and undiscovered talents. They come to me, sometimes, by my colleagues’ recommendations and other times through young artists’ own research about our organization. Tyson Davis and Andrew Bambridge are currently on our roster of CME Young Artists, whom we mentor. Patricio Molina is a CME alumnus. Theo Chandler, Ji-Young Ko, and Daniel Newman-Lessler applied for our Grant program, and I got to know their work through that process. I decide on young artists when I notice a deep passion and drive within them, plus a certain kind of sparkle in the personality and lots of humility. In addition to musical talents, I believe these are the qualities that will take the young artists far. CME’s motto is "Moving Musicians Forward". I’ve chosen our Discovery Composers based on these qualities, whom we felt we could easily move forward.
- Min Kwon