Minnesota Orchestra music director Osmo V‹nsk‹ said in a statement, "Aaron is a trusted advisor and a critical link for our orchestra to what is happening in contemporary music today. He is a very accomplished composer in his own right, and he also spends much of his energy mentoring young composers through our Composer Institute."
Kernis has collaborated with the Minnesota Orchestra since 1992 and was named new music advisor in 1998. He advises the music director in the commissioning and support of contemporary music for concerts, education programs and special projects; he also serves as chairman of the orchestra's Composer Institute.
Born in Philadelphia in 1960, Kernis was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1998 and the Grawemeyer Award in 2002. Recent commissions include Newly Drawn Sky for James Conlon's first season as the Ravinia Festival's music director; V‹nsk‹ will conduct the Minnesota Orchestra in the work next May. Other significant commissions include a piano work for Emanuel Ax, and Two Meditations for chorus and organ for the Cincinnati Vocal Arts Ensemble.