Press Releases

Announcing the new Schubert Club Composer-in-Residence: deVon Russell Gray plus two additional financial awards for Minnesota composers

By Kristina MacKenzie


Saint Paul, MN (May 29, 2019) — Schubert Club is pleased to announce the appointment of deVon Russell Gray as its new Composer-in-Residence beginning September 1, 2019. Gray will serve a two-year term in this position for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 seasons.
The role of the Composer-in-Residence is to create music, to participate in Schubert Club education and community programs, to advise on artistic projects and to be an advocate on behalf of Schubert Club. The position was created with flexibility to allow the composer to shape their residency activities around their individual strengths and interests.

Schubert Club Artistic & Executive Director Barry Kempton said of Gray’s appointment: “The committee’s decision was unanimous.  We were certainly impressed by the composition samples that deVon submitted with his application, but we were also won over by his sense of who he is as a musician and where he hopes his musical journey will take him.  He is a musician with a broad range of interests and influences and a keen desire to share his knowledge and musical interests with fellow music enthusiasts, young and adult.”Gray stated: “My work has always been about the exploration of intense personal inner spaces as well as the communal imbibing of the resultant magic. Through this residency with Schubert Club I have the opportunity to further grow into my path as a creator and composer. I look forward to working with Schubert Club in both their educational and programming work. Schubert Club’s recent inclination to address contemporary concerns in classical music presentation and programming is laudable and relevant. I am glad to be part of this new direction.”In addition, Schubert Club will award financial support to the creation of new works by two other Minnesota-based composers, Asako Hirabayashi and Aleksandr Brusentsev.  Both composers were identified during the Composer-in-Residence search process.
About the Selection Process
Minnesota composers were invited to submit an application in early 2019. There were 18 candidates in total. The search committee comprised Artistic & Executive Director Barry Kempton and Education & Museum Director Kate Cooper,  together with composers Reinaldo Moya and Vivian Fung.
About deVon Russell Gray
deVon Russell Gray’s music reflects equal reverence for Eric B. & Rakim, Mingus, and Bartók. Factor in true love for contemporary poetry, Afrofuturism, astrophysics, Sci Fi animated series, cooking, libations, and other Renaissance activities, and a picture of Gray begins to come into view. Gray envisions a world in which socially constructed divisions fade into oblivion and where concert offerings seamlessly program twentieth century modernists alongside spiritual jazz and free improvisation, adjacent to electronic music and progressive hip hop producers.
Gray began writing original music and compositions at age eight. Drawing on his upper Midwestern upbringing and 1980s hip hop, dVRG developed a deep and profound connection to his community. Today, he is a proud part of the Twin Cities’ rich, diverse, and vibrant arts culture, whether collaborating on theater projects, art shows, radio broadcasts or mentoring younger composers and performers. May of 2018 saw the ninth annual awarding of the HEIRUSPECS Scholarship; a fund began by deVon and his bandmates at their alma mater, St. Paul Central High School which benefits graduating students who demonstrate ties to the arts. He also created a work entitled All Kinds of Blues, Right?!, commissioned and performed by the Central High School Jazz Band, dedicated to the greater Central High community and to the memory of Philando Castile.
Gray’s achievements in composition include a McKnight Fellowship, participation in the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy for Musicians, guest lecturing at St. Olaf College, and most recently Gray was awarded one of the inaugural Jerome Hill Artist Fellowships. 
About Asako Hirabayashi
Harpsichordist and composer, Asako Hirabayashi’s first recording on Albany Label, whose program is entirely composed and played by herself, was selected as one of the 5 best classical CDs of the year 2010 by Minneapolis Star Tribune and was well-reviewed internationally. Hirabayashi has won numerous grants and awards including the 2009 -10 McKnight Fellowship for Performing Musicians and 2 Minnesota State Arts Board’s Artist Initiative grants as a soloist. As a composer, she has won 2016 McKnight Fellowship for Composers, several first prizes in competitions such as Alienor International Harpsichord Composition Competition (won the 6th, 7th and 8th consecutively) and NHK International Song Writing Competition in Japan and wasawarded 2012 Jerome Fund for New Music by American Composers Forum to write an opera. She has appeared as a featured guest soloist in international festivals and concert series worldwide since her New York debut recital at Carnegie Hall. She holds a Doctoral degree from the Juilliard School.
About Aleksandr Brusentsev
 Aleksandr Brusentsev tells abstract stories with sound. His music has been performed internationally and has been lauded by artists and audiences alike. Highlights include premieres by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the CHROMA Ensemble, the Royal Academy of Music Manson Ensemble, and Alexandra Wood and Huw Watkins. Currently, Brusentsev is working on a flugelhorn concerto for soloist Imogen Hancock, conductor Toby Thatcher, and Ensemble Eroica. Additionally, he is collaborating with filmmaker Sky Ainsbury to create a series of videos that will engage with the human side of global affairs and feature a member of Brusentsev’s solo works. Brusentsev also received “high recommendation” in both the Alan Bush and Eric Coates composition prizes at the Royal Academy of Music, as well as an award from the Jerome Fund for New Music. Brusentsev is an alumnus of the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Young Composer program, and associate in the London Symphony Orchestra Soundhub scheme, and a member of the American Composer’s Forum.

For over 135 years, Schubert Club has invited the world’s finest recital soloists and ensembles to the Twin Cities and has promoted the finest musical talents of our community through performances, education, and museum programs. It has secured a prominent and distinguished reputation among musical organizations nationwide, and is one of the first arts organizations in the country.
Schubert Club’s International Artist Series has presented virtually all of the world’s great recitalists including Jascha Heifetz, Arthur Rubinstein, Cecilia Bartoli, Beverly Sills, Leontyne Price, Yo-Yo Ma, and Renée Fleming to name a few. In 2014, Schubert Club introduced Schubert Club Mix, its convention-breaking performance series in nontraditional venues. Additional series include the Music in the Park Series, which presents chamber music in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood, a free weekly lunchtime Courtroom Concert series at the Landmark Center in downtown St. Paul, Accordo, and the Hill House Chamber Players.
Schubert Club is committed to music education and reaches hundreds of children and young adults every year through family-friendly concerts, workshops, music lessons, and scholarships.
The Schubert Club Museum, located in historic Landmark Center, holds a world-class collection comprised of historic keyboards, instruments from around the world, and original letters and manuscripts from famous composers.For more information visit