David Schiff


Composer and author David Schiff was born in New York City on August 30, 1945. He studied composition with John Corigliano and Ursula Mamlok at the Manhattan School of Music, and with Elliott Carter at the Juilliard School where he received his D.M.A. He holds degrees in English literature from Columbia and Cambridge Universities. Schiff is the R.P. Wollenberg Professor of Music at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. He is the author of The Music of Elliott Carter (Cornell University Press) and George Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue (Cambridge University Press) as well as many articles on music for the New York Times, the Atlantic Monthly, Opera News and Tempo. Major works include the opera Gimpel the Fool, with libretto by I. B. Singer, the Sacred Service, written for the 125th anniversary of Congregation Beth Israel of Portland, Slow Dance, commissioned by the Oregon Symphony, Stomp, commissioned by Marin Alsop for Concordia, and recorded by the Baltimore Symphony conducted by David Zinman, Solus Rex, for bass trombone and chamber ensemble commissioned by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and premiered by David Taylor, Speaking in Drums, a concerto for timpani and string orchestra commissioned by the Minnesota Orchestra for its timpanist, Peter Kogan, Vashti, a retelling of the Book of Esther for mezzo-soprano, clarinet and piano, commissioned by the Gold Coast Chamber Music Festival and 4 Sisters, a concerto for jazz violin and orchestra, which premiered in Cambridge, England and received its American premiere with Regina Carter and the Detroit Symphony. Schiff?s more recent pieces include Class of 1915, an authentic suite of black music styles popular in the early 20th Century and New York Nocturnes, both premiered by Chamber Music Northwest. Also significant are his works Pepper Pieces, arrangements of songs by Jim Pepper for jazz violinist Hollis Taylor and strings, Canti di Davide, a concerto for clarinet and orchestra premiered by David Shifrin and the Virginia Symphony, Singing in the Dark, for Alto Saxophone and String Quartet, premiered at Chamber Music Northwest by Marty Ehrlich and the Miami String Quartet, All About Love, a song cycle for mezzo-soprano, tenor and chamber ensemble which premiered at Chamber Music Northwest and Canzona for brass, percussion and strings commissioned by the Seattle Symphony with the premiere conducted by Gerard Schwarz. David Schiff?s compositions have been released on the Naxos, New World, Delos, Argo, Move, HearMusic, and independent labels. His recent book, The Ellington Century, has garnered praise in both jazz and symphonic music circles.



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