The Caroline Werner Gannett Project 2007-08
David Liptak

David Liptak

professor of composition at the Eastman School of Music


“Composing New Music”

When: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 8:00PM
Where: Ingle Auditorium (Student Alumni Union)

Please note that the February 2 talk with David Liptak has been rescheduled for March 22, 2011 due to inclement weather.

Talk Description:

Music exists all around us, and the sounds of the world abound with personal and societal meaning. What does it mean to create “new” music? Is it possible to construct music which is at once original and connected to larger understanding? How does music excite and animate imagination? Composers respond to questions like these through their creative work, and this talk will explore this process.


David Liptak's music has been described as “luminous and arresting,” “richly atmospheric,” and having “transparent textures, incisive rhythms, shimmering lightness.” His compositions have been performed by the San Francisco Symphony, the Montreal Symphony, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Youngstown Symphony, the Sinfonia da Camera of Illinois, the New England Philharmonic, the National Orchestral Association, the Eastman Wind Ensemble, the Group for Contemporary Music, EARPLAY, the Ying and Cassatt String Quartets, the Dinosaur Annex Ensemble, the New York New Music Ensemble, the 20th-Century Consort, and by many other soloists and ensembles. Among his music found on recordings is Rhapsodies, commissioned by the Meet the Composer/Readers Digest Consortium Commissioning Program, on the Innova CD American Masters of the 21st Century. Albany Records has released three separate recordings of his work: his music written for violinist Catherine Tait, his chamber piece Giovine vagha, i' non senti, and his Songs for Persephone for soprano, flute, and guitar. His music is found on two Bridge Records issues, including one that entirely his music, presenting his Ancient Songs, with baritone William Sharp; Serenade, for saxophone and strings; Forlane, for guitar; and Broken Cries, for cello octet. Ice Flowers, for violin and Japanese koto, has recently been released by Centaur Records, in a recording by the duo vio-LINK-oto.

In 1995 David Liptak was awarded the Elise L. Stoeger Prize, given by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in recognition of distinguished achievement in the field of chamber music composition. He has received awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, both in 2002; he has also received the 2006 Lillian Fairchild Award; and commissions for new music have included those supported by the Fromm Foundation, Meet the Composer , the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust , the California Music Center, and the Hanson Institute for American Music. His latest work includes Folgore's Months, a setting of 14th-century sonnets by the Italian poet Folgore da San Gimignano for soprano and wind ensemble, which was premiered in 2009 by Mark Scatterday and the Eastman Wind Ensemble with soprano Tony Arnold. Much of his music written very recently has explored the poetry and magical quality of stars and starlight, imagined and real.

A dedicated teacher of composition students for the past three decades, David Liptak is Professor of Composition at the Eastman School of Music, where he has taught since 1986. He lives in Rochester with his wife, violinist Pia Liptak.