Distinguished Guest Composer
Robert Beaser is the artistic director of the American Composers Orchestra and was music director and conductor of Musical Elements from 1978 to 1989. In 1977 he became the youngest composer to win the Prix de Rome from the American Academy in Rome. In 1986, Beaser’s Mountain Songs was nominated for a Grammy Award. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim and Fulbright Foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Charles Ives Scholarship, an ASCAP Composers Award, a Nonesuch Commission Award and a Barlow Commission. In 1995 the American Academy of Arts and Letters honored him with its lifetime achievement award, the Academy Award in music.
Beaser’s commissions include works for the Chicago, Baltimore, and St. Louis symphonies, New York Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and American Brass Quintet. His opera, Central Park: Food of Love, with a libretto by Terrence McNally, was commissioned by the New York City Opera and Glimmerglass Opera and telecast on PBS’s Great Performances series. Recordings include Choral Variations, The Seven Deadly Sins, and a Piano Concerto on London/Argo; Notes on a Southern Sky on EMI; Song of the Bells and Psalms 119, 150 on New World; and Mountain Songs and Variations for Flute and Piano on Musicmasters.
Born in Boston, Beaser holds a BA from Yale College, summa cum laude; and MM, MMA, and DMA degrees from the Yale School of Music. He studied composition with Jacob Druckman, Toru Takemistu, and Goffredo Petrassi. He has been a member of the Juilliard faculty since 1993 and chair of the composition department since 1994.