Xylem is a short, energetic piece that amplifies a microscopic world, creating perpetual motion punctuated by explosive bursts. It takes its name from the tissue made of long tubular open-ended cells that conducts water from the soil up to the various parts of plants. Orianna Webb currently teaches composition at the Cleveland Institute of Music where she is a founding director of the Young Composers Program. Shulamit Ran writes: “My having been commissioned by the National Flute Association for a flute concerto in celebration of that organization’s year 2000 convention was, for me, a much-relished opportunity to further explore the direction I found myself pursuing in earlier works.” The work was premiered on August 19, 2000, with Patricia Spencer, flutist, and Ransom Wilson, conductor. Samuel Adler writes: “Nostalgia plays a role in the creation of many works of art. This was certainly the case in my writing this particular orchestral work which was composed for the Texas Little Symphony and John Giordano in the summer of 1982. For a long time now, I have had a love affair with Texas and also with music of the rather distant past. The resulting work was one which I had wanted to do for many years, namely, a dance suite based on Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque themes. These dances are treated as recompositions rather than arrangements. While the actual tunes in most of them are from a bygone era, the compositional techniques employed are of the 20th century and result in a metamorphosis of the old material. In other words, it is as if a contemporary composer took a journey into the past, fell in love with seven dance forms, brought them back to our century and rewrote them for he felt they still give off the same charm, excitement and contemporaneousness which they did when they were originally conceived.” Chen Yi is currently the Cravens/Millsap/Missouri Distinguished Professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music composition from the Central Conservatory in Beijing, and a doctorate from Columbia University. Her composition teachers include Chou, Davidovsky, Wu and Goehr. She has served as composer-in-residence for the Women’s Philharmonic, the vocal ensemble Chanticleer and the Aptos Creative Arts Center (1993-1996) supported by Meet the Composer. Kevin Puts’s Inspiring Beethoven was commissioned by the Phoenix Symphony, Hermann Michael, conductor, for their Beethoven Festival in January 2002. The work is a musical tale of Beethoven transcending the grim realities of his life and finding the inspiration to compose the joyous first movement of his Symphony No. 7. Puts has received degrees from the Eastman and Yale University Schools of Music, and currently serves as assistant professor of composition at the University of Texas at Austin.