|Martin Bresnick was born in New York City on November 13, 1946. He was educated at the High School of Music and Art, the University of Hartford (B.A. l967), Stanford University (M.A. 1968, D.M.A. 1972), and the Akademie für Musik, Vienna (1969-70). His principal teachers of composition were György Ligeti, John Chowning and Gottfried von Einem. Presently Professor of Composition and Coordinator of the Composition Department at the Yale School of Music, he has also taught at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (1971-72) and Stanford University (1972-75). He has served as the Valentine Professor of Music, Amherst College (1993), the Mary Duke Biddle Professor of Music, Duke University (1998), the Cecil and Ida Green Visiting Professor of Composition, University of British Columbia (2000), Composer-in-Residence, Australian Youth Orchestra National Music Camp (2001 and 2004), International Bartok Seminar, Director of Composition (2001), Visiting Professor of Composition, Eastman School of Music (2002-2003), Visiting Professor, New College, Oxford (2004), Housewright Eminent Scholar and featured Guest Composer, Florida State University (2005), Visiting Composer, Royal Academy of Music, London (2005). Mr. Bresnick was elected to membership on the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2006.
Martin Bresnick’s compositions cover a wide range of instrumentation from chamber music of all types to symphonic works and computer music. His orchestral music has been performed by the National Symphony (which commissioned Encore), Chicago Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, New Haven Symphony, Münster Philharmonic, Kiel Philharmonic, Orchestra of the Radio Televisione Italiana, Orchestra New England, City of London Chamber Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfonica do Estado de Sao Paulo, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Bilbao Orkestra Sinfonika, and Itzumi Sinfonietta Osaka. His chamber music has been performed in concert by The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Sonor, Da Capo Chamber Players, Speculum Musicae, Bang on a Can All Stars, Nash Ensemble, Music Works, Zeitgeist, Left Coast Ensemble, Musical Elements, Sō percussion, Mimesis Ensemble and Eighth Blackbird.
His music has been heard at numerous festivals throughout the world, including Sonic Boom, Bang on a Can, Adelaide, Israel, Prague Spring, South Bank’s Meltdown, Almeida, Turin, Tanglewood, Banff, Norfolk, ISCM, New Music America and New Horizons. He has received commissions from: The Norfolk Chamber Music Festival (1985), Orchestra New England (1986), Connecticut String Orchestra (1986), Monticello Trio (1988), Koussevitzky Foundation (1989), Meet-the-Composer Reader’s Digest commissioning program (1992), Greater Bridgeport Symphony (1992), National Endowment for the Arts (1992), Institute of Sacred Music (1993), Macon Arts Alliance (1994), Fromm Foundation (1995), Lincoln Center Chamber Players (1997), Sequitur (1997), Connecticut Commission on the Arts (1997), Meet the Composer (1998) and Chamber Music America (1999), among others.
Bresnick has also received many prizes, among them: a Fulbright Fellowship (1969-70), the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching at Stanford University (1973), three N.E.A. Composer Grants (1974, 1979, 1990), ASCAP Awards (1975-present), Rome Prize Fellowship (1975-76), MacDowell Colony Fellowship (1977), Morse Fellowship from Yale University (1980-81), First Prize, Premio Ancona (1980), First Prize International Sinfonia Musicale (1982), Connecticut Commission on the Arts Grant, with Chamber Music America (1983), two First Prizes, Composers Inc. Competitions (1985, 1989), Semi-finalist, Friedheim Awards (1987), The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Elise L. Stoeger Prize for Chamber Music (1996), the “Charles Ives Living” award, America Academy of Arts and Letters (1999), Composer-in-Residence, American Academy in Rome (1999), the ASCAP Foundation’s Aaron Copland Prize for teaching (2000), Berlin Prize Fellow, American Academy in Berlin (2001) and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2003).
In addition to his concert music, Bresnick has also written music for films, two of which, Arthur & Lillie (1975), and The Day After Trinity (1981), were nominated for Academy Awards in the documentary category (both directed by Jin Else). His music has been recorded on Cantaloupe Records, Composers Recordings, Inc., Centaur, New World Records, Albany Records and it is published by Carl Fischer, LLC (NY), Bote and Bock (Berlin) and CommonMuse Publishers (New Haven).
Photo: Nina Roberts