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Lee Hyla

Lee (Leon Joseph) Hyla was born in Niagara Falls, New York (August 31, 1952), and grew up in Greencastle, Indiana. After graduating from the New England Conservatory of Music (B. Mus., 1975), he studied at SUNY - Stony Brook (M.A, 1978), and then lived in New York City for over ten years. In 1992 he returned to Boston to teach at the New England Conservatory, where he eventually became co-chairman of the composition department. In September, 2007 he assumed the Harry N. and Ruth F. Wyatt Chair of Music Composition at Northwestern University.

Lee Hyla has written for numerous well-known performers including Tim Smith, Tim Berne, Rhonda Rider, Stephen Drury, Mia Chung, Judith Gordon, Laura Frautschi, Midori, Vadim Repin and Mary Nessinger, as well as celebrated ensembles such as the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Kronos Quartet (with Allen Ginsberg), Speculum Musicae, Lydian String Quartet, Boston Musica Viva, Firebird Ensemble, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. He has received commissions from the Koussevitsky, Fromm, Barlow and Naumburg Foundations, Mary Flagler Charitable Trust, Concert Artist's Guild, and is the recipient of two Meet the...


Hyla, Lee

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  • Lee (Leon Joseph) Hyla was born in Niagara Falls, New York (August 31, 1952), and grew up in Greencastle, Indiana. After graduating from the New England Conservatory of Music (B. Mus., 1975), he studied at SUNY - Stony Brook (M.A, 1978), and then lived in New York City for over ten years. In 1992 he returned to Boston to teach at the New England Conservatory, where he eventually became co-chairman of the composition department. In September, 2007 he assumed the Harry N. and Ruth F. Wyatt Chair of Music Composition at Northwestern University.

    Lee Hyla has written for numerous well-known performers including Tim Smith, Tim Berne, Rhonda Rider, Stephen Drury, Mia Chung, Judith Gordon, Laura Frautschi, Midori, Vadim Repin and Mary Nessinger, as well as celebrated ensembles such as the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Kronos Quartet (with Allen Ginsberg), Speculum Musicae, Lydian String Quartet, Boston Musica Viva, Firebird Ensemble, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. He has received commissions from the Koussevitsky, Fromm, Barlow and Naumburg Foundations, Mary Flagler Charitable Trust, Concert Artist's Guild, and is the recipient of two Meet the Composer/Reader's Consortium Commissions. He has also been the recipient of the Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, the Goddard Lieberson Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Rome Prize. His music has been recorded on the Nonesuch, New World, Avant, CRI, Tzadik and BMOP Sound labels. The latest recording, by members of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, on their own label, BMOP Sound contains Lives of the Saints (2000) and At Suma Beach (2003).

    The music of Lee Hyla seeks to find a common ground between the tradition of postwar American Expressionism represented by composers such as Stephan Wolpe and Elliott Carter and the gritty urban style of avant-garde Jazz musicians like Cecil Taylor. Hyla also integrates aspects of the rougher styles of Rock, especially Punk, into the unique mix of his music. Despite its high energy and raw surface, the music is fully notated, with nothing improvised, nor is there anything haphazard about Hyla's sense of pitch, or dramatic structure, both of which are meticulous in a way that allows raucousness to achieve elegance. Among Hyla's works, the 1984 Pre-Pulse Suspended for chamber orchestra marks the first thorough integration of all the elements of his musical technique. In this pivotal work, the motivic treatment of short-breathed riffs has a Beethovenian intensity and variety of phrase structure. The rhythmic force of this surface allows Hyla to juxtapose musics in contrasting tempos and affect, in an original and personal extension of methods derived from Carter. At the same time, a powerful sense of drama extends over each movement through the adroit manipulation of pedal points, which are presented either as non-transposing chords or as extended repeated notes. Hyla continued to develop these techniques in the Concerto for Piano and Chamber Orchestra No. 2 (1991), the stunning and justly celebrated Howl, written for the Kronos Quartet and Allen Ginsberg's recitation of his famous poem, and most ambitiously in the 1996 Trans, for chamber orchestra. Hyla's chamber music also exemplifies his unique and engaging approach to composition. It is both complex and immediately compelling, substantial yet visceral, almost elemental in character - always rich in content and eminently direct in expression.

    Recently, Hyla has also been extending his compositional reach to writing works for orchestra, including a Violin Concerto (2001) for Laura Frautschi, Gil Rose and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, The Triadic Coast (2005), written for the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, and Riff and Consequences (2008), composed for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
  • Amnesia Breaks

    Amnesia Breaks

    Amnesia Redux

    Score and Part(s)

    Amnesia Variance

    Amnesia Variance

    Anhinga

    At North Farm - 1 Score

    For Mezzo Soprano and Bass Clarinet

    Basic Training for Piano

    Book

    Ciao Manhattan

    Score and Part(s)

    Ciao Manhattan

    Full Score - Large

    Ciao, Manhattan

    Concerto for Bass Clarinet & Chamber Orch.

    Concerto for Bass Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra

    Concerto for Piano and Chamber Orchestra, No. 2

    Field Guide

    Score and Part(s)

    Field Guide

    House of Flowers

    Full Score

    How Was Your Weekend?

    Howl

    Score and Part(s)

    Howl

    Full Score - Large

    In Double Light

    Lives Of Saints, Part I

    Lives Of Saints, Part II

    Lives of the Saints (Part I)

    Lives of the Saints (Part II)

    My Life On The Plains

    Full Score - Large

    My Life On The Plains

    Set of Parts

    Mythic Birds Of Saugerties

    For Solo Bass Clarinet In Bb

    Solo Part

    Paradigm Lost

    for Saxophone Quartet

    Set of Performace Parts and Score

    Polish Folk Songs

    Polish Folk Songs

    Pre-Amnesia

    Pre-Pulse Suspended

    Pre-Pulse Suspended

    Revisible Light

    Riff and Transfiguration

    Solo Part

    String Quartet No. 2

    String Quartet No. 3

    String Quartet No. 3

    String Quartet No. 4 (1999)

    String Quartet No. 4 (1999)

    String Quartet No.2

    String Quartet No.3

    The Dream of Innocent III

    for Amplified Cello, Piano and Percussion

    Third Party

    (Piccola majerka)

    Instrument

    Trans

    Trans

    Triadic Coast

    Violin Concerto

    Violin Concerto

    Full Score - Study

    Violin Concerto

    Warble (for Fenwick Smith)

    For Flute and Piano

    Set of Performance Scores

    We Speak Etruscan

    Set of Performace Parts and Score

    Wilson's Ivory Bill

    For Baritone Voice,Piano and Field Recording

    Audio CD

    Wilson's Ivory Bill

    For Baritone Voice,Piano and Field Recording

    Score - Performance

    Winter/Fall

  • BASIC TRAINING
    …a dizzying range of textures, dynamics…
    --Michael Cameron, Chicago Classical Review

    PRE-AMNESIA
    …a concentrated avalanche of spiky, angry leaps over the full range of the instrument.
    --Michael Cameron, Chicago Classical Review

    STRING QUARTET NO. 4
    …an engaging work…
    --Michael Cameron, Chicago Classical Review

    WE SPEAK ETRUSCAN
    The reference in the title to a dead language is a wry take on the quandry of contemporary music, a challenge Hyla takes on with explicit, if oblique sourcing of jazz from bebop forward. Just as Wagner withheld tonic resolutions until the listener can barely tolerate the suspense, Hyla's "rhythmic resolutions" pack a fierce wallop.
    --Michael Cameron, Chicago Classical Review

    WINTER/FALL
    …ruminative and texture driven…
    --Michael Cameron, Chicago Classical Review