MattAucoinPresentTenseinitiative (1).jpg



SALEM, MA -- PEM’s Composer-in-Residence Matthew Aucoin presents two concert performances with the Asia/America New Music Institute (AANMI) this fall. Points of Departure explores geographic and cultural identity through diverse musical performance and engaging conversation. The evening features the premiere of a new piece by Aucoin, plus works by composers Xiaogang Ye, Chad Channon, Garth Neustadter, Sun-Young Park, Paul Frucht and Toru Takemitsu. This is Aucoin’s eighth musical production at PEM as part of the museum’s Present Tense Initiative. Learn more about PEM’s composer-in-residence program at

Conducted by Yuga Cohler

Featuring Rachel Lee Priday, violin and  Sean Christensen, tenor

Performed by A Far Cry

Directed by Victoria Crutchfield

Lighting Design by Mary Ellen Stebbins

Aucoin and AANMI return to PEM in March and November 2017 to continue their exploration of East/West music connections through new commissions.

PHOTO CREDIT: ©Peabody Essex Museum. Photograph by Kathy Tarantola


This program is generously supported by Eunice and Jay Panetta and the Robert N. Shapiro Fund for Innovation. Also made possible in part by supporters of PEM's Present Tense Initiative: Terry and Dick Albright, Dick and Deborah Carlson, Susan and Appy Chandler and Fay Chandler.




The Present Tense initiative is an extension of PEM's contemporary art program. Under the guidance of curator Trevor Smith, the initiative celebrates the central role that creative expression plays in shaping our world today. The Present Tense initiative engages leading creative agents and thinkers to cultivate innovative experiences fueled by the intersection of cultures, disciplines and technologies. By encouraging innovation and fostering new forms of creativity, the Present Tense initiative seeks to push the boundaries of what a museum experience can be.


Asia / America New Music Institute (AANMI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting new music relationships between Asia and the Americas. Now in its third season, AANMI has presented new chamber works in cities around the world - including Beijing, Tianjin, Shenyang, Los Angeles, New York City, Bangkok, Hanoi, Singapore, Seoul, Naha (Japan), Salt Lake City, and Ephraim (UT). AANMI's young artists include some of the finest composers, conductors, and soloists in the world who are, together, leaders in the field of contemporary music and cultural exchange. With a focus on narrative, AANMI's programs strive to create meaningful experiences.


Matthew Aucoin is a composer, conductor, poet and pianist. A 2012 summa cum laude graduate of Harvard College, Aucoin is PEM’s composer-in-residence. In the 2014-15 season, Aucoin conducted the premieres of two of his operas: Crossing, at Boston’s American Repertory Theater (directed by Diane Paulus); and Second Nature, a chamber opera for the young, at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Aucoin wrote the libretti for both works. He is currently at work on a new opera for the Metropolitan Opera/Lincoln Center Theater’s New Works program. In the coming season, Aucoin will conduct the premiere of his new orchestral work, commissioned by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. His new song cycle, set to texts by James Merrill and co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall, New York, and Wigmore Hall, London, will be premiered by tenor Paul Appleby and pianist Ken Noda at recitals in New York, Boston, Chicago, Notre Dame, and Miami. This season, Aucoin makes conducting debuts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic; the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; Music Academy of the West (Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, as well as his own chamber opera Second Nature); the Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari, Italy (Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro); and he returns to the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. In recent seasons, he has appeared as a conductor with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Rome Opera Orchestra, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago (a special event featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma) and Juilliard Opera (Eugene Onegin). Beginning in fall 2016, Aucoin will be Artist-in-Residence at Los Angeles Opera.


The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) is one of the oldest and fastest growing museums in North America. At its heart is a mission to enrich and transform people's lives by broadening their perspectives, attitudes and knowledge of themselves and the wider world. PEM celebrates outstanding artistic and cultural creativity through exhibitions, programming and special events that emphasize cross-cultural connections, integrate past and present and underscore the vital importance of creative expression. Founded in 1799, the museum's collection is among the finest of its kind boasting superlative works from around the globe and across time -- including American art and architecture, Asian export art, photography, maritime art and history, as well as Native American, Oceanic and African art. PEM's campus affords a varied and unique guest experience with hands-on creativity zones, interactive opportunities, performance spaces and historic properties, including Yin Yu Tang: A Chinese House, a 200-year-old house that is the only example of Chinese domestic architecture on display in the United States. HOURS: Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 am-5 pm, and the third Thursday of every month until 9 pm. Closed Mondays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. ADMISSION: Adults $20; seniors $17; students $12. Additional admission to Yin Yu Tang: $5. Members, youth 16 and under and residents of Salem enjoy free general admission and free admission to Yin Yu Tang. INFO: Call 866-745-1876 or visit

PR Contacts:

Whitney Van Dyke  -  Director of Communications  -  978-542-1828  -

Melissa Woods  -  Communications Specialist  -  978.542.1609  -

‹ Back To Press Releases