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, SÃ…Â 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).
Cover Title (Subtitle) Duration Instrumentation Solo Compositions Bag O’ Tells 12:00 Mandolin Bundists (Robert, György and Me) Solo Piano For The Sexes: The Gates Of Paradise Piano Four Short Piano Pieces Piano Ishi’s Song 8:40 Piano Joaquin is Dreaming(Joaquin Sonando) solo Guitar Josephine (the Singer)Josefine (die Sangerin) Violin Lady Neil’s Dumpe 12:00 DX7 digital synthesizer; TX 816 driven by Mac computer Si del cammino e si della pietate(Of the Journey and of the Pity) Large Carillon Strange Devotion Piano The Dream Of The Lost Traveller Piano Theme and Variationsfor Solo Oboe Oboe Willie’s WayFor Piano Piano Small Ensemble A Message From The EmperorFor Two Speaking Percussionists 11:00 Percussion Ensemble And I Always Thought Mixed Ensemble Ballade Cello, Piano Be Just! 4:00 Small Mixed Ensemble (2-9 Instruments) Bird As Prophet Violin, Piano Capricho Nuevo 10:00 Mixed Ensemble Caprichos EnfaticosLos Desastres de la Guerra Percussion Quartet, Piano ConspiraciesFor Solo Flute and 4 Other Flutes 14:00 Solo Flute, Flute 1, Flute 2, Flute 3, Flute 4 Elan’s Blues 0:0:0 Violin, Cello, Piano Every Thing Must Go Trombone Quartet Every Thing Must GoFor Saxophone Quartet Mixed Saxophone Quartet Going Home(Vysoke, My Jerusalem) Oboe Quartet GraceConcerto In Three Movements for Two Marimbas and Orchestra 18:00 Percussion Ensemble HandworkFor Two Pianos 10:00 Piano Duet High Art Piccolo with Piano Just Time Woodwind Quintet Pan PenserosoFlute With Multiphonics and Piano 18:00 Flute with Piano Pan PenserosoFor Two Flutes and Piano 18:00 Two Flutes, Piano Pigs and Fishes Mixed Ensemble Pine Eyes(Part Of Opera Della Musica Provera) 20:00 narrator, 2 percussion, clarinet/Bass clarinet in Bb, Piano Prayers Remain Forever Cello, Piano Songs Of The Mouse PeopleFor Cello and Vibraphone 11:00 Cello, Vibraphone String Quartet No. 2(Bucephalus) String Quartet String Quartet No. 2Bucephalus String Quartet String Quartet No. 3 String Quartet Tent of Miracles 12:00 Solo baritone sax; tape; or Solo bass clarinet; tape; or Solo bassoon; tape; or Solo baritone sax and bar. sax.(3); or Solo bass clarinet and b.cl.(3); or Solo Bassoon and bsn.(3) Tent Of MiraclesBassoon Version The Bucket Rider 11:00 Small Mixed Ensemble (2-9 Instruments) The Bucket RiderPart Of Opera Della Musica Povera 11:00 Small Mixed Ensemble (2-9 Instruments) Three StarsPart Of Opera Della Musica Povera Clarinet, Violin, Viola, Piano TrioFor Violin, Cello, and Piano 22:00 Piano Trio Tucket(Part Of Opera Della Musica Povera) 3:00 Brass Quintet Large Ensemble Ants 15:00 Solo soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, bass-baritone voices; actors/mimes(5); Fl.(Picc., A. Fl.), Ob. Cl.(EbCl. B.Cl.) Bsn.; Hn.; Perc. Hp.; 2Vln. Vla. Vcl. Cb. B.’s GarlandsFor Eight Solo Violoncellos 10:00 8Vcl. B.’s GarlandsFor Eight Solo Violoncellos 10:00 Cello Octet Bread and Salt 7:00 2Fl. 2Ob. 2Cl. 2Bsn. S.Sax. A.Sax.(B.Sax.); 2Hn.; Vcl. Cb. Der Signál 15:00 Solo soprano, mezzo-soprano; narrator (or tape); fl.(picc.), cl.(b.cl.), s.sax.(t.sax.); cor., tbn.; perc.; vla., vcl., cb. Fanfare 5:00 4Tpt. 4Hn. 4Tbn. Fantasia On A Theme By Willie DixonFor Chamber Ensemble 10:00 Chamber Ensemble Introit 7:00 2Fl 2Ob. 2Cl. 2Bsn.; 4Hn. 2Tpt. 2Tbn. Musica 7:30 – 22:30 Fl. Cl. Bsn.; Hn. Tpt. Tbn.; Vln. Vla. Vcl. ParisotFor Twelve Cellos 15:00 12 Cellos Orchestra Angelus Novus(part of Opera della Musica Povera) 8:00 3 3(dbl. E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3 – 4 3 3 0; Timp. Perc. Str. Encore! 4:30 2 2 2 2 – 4 3 3 0; Perc. Str. Falling 20:00 Solo mezzo-soprano voice; 2(dbl. A.Fl.) 2(dbl.E.H.) 2(dbl.B.Cl.) 2 – 2 2 2 0; Perc. Pno. Hp. Str. Gracefor Two Marimbas and Orchestra 18:00 Solo mar.(2); 0 2 2 2 – 2 0 0 0; Str. Little Suitefor String Orchestra 20:00 String Orchestra (amateur) One 10:00 2(dbl. A.Fl.) 2(dbl.E.H.) 2(dbl.B.Cl.) 2 – 2 2(dbl.Flg.Hn.) 2 0; Vib. Str. Pan Penserosofor Flute and Orchestra 18:00 Solo Fl; 0 2 2 2 – 2 2 2(B.Tbn.) 0; Vibraphone; Str. Pan Penserosofor Two Flutes and Orchestra 18:00 Solo Fl(2); 0 2 2 2 – 2 2 2(B.Tbn.) 0; Vibraphone; Str. Pontoosuc 14:30 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Str. Prophetic StrainFor Two Flutes and Orchestra
(Movement II from “Pan Penseroso”)
2Solo Fl.; 0 2 2 2 – 2 2 2(B.Tbn.) 0; Str. Sinfonia(part of “Opera della Musica Povera”) 15:00 3(dbl. Picc.) 3(dbl.E.H.) 3(dbl.B.Cl.) 3 – 4 3 3 0; Timp. Perc. Str. The Way It Goesfor Orchestra 1030 2(1 dbl. Fl.) 2 2 2 – 2 2 0 0; Timp. 1Perc. Str. Wir Weben, Wir Weben 22:00 String Orchestra version: vln.(12), vla.(3), vcl.(3), cb.(3) Opera My Friend’s StoryAn Opera: Prologue, 3 Scenes, Epilogue (Based on the story “Strakh” by Anton Chekhov) 1:15:00 2Cl.(2nd dbl. B.Cl.) Perc.(Vibr., Sizzle Cymbal) Pno. Vln. Vcl. Cb Vocal Der Signál 15:00 Voice and Instrument FallingFour Songs for Mezzo Soprano and Piano 20:00 Voice and Piano New Haven(part of Opera della Musica Povera) 2:00 SATB chorus, a cappella Passions of BloomA Passion for Solo Voices, Chorus (SATB) and Orchestra 1:10:00 SATB with Piano The Human Abstract Voice with Piano Three Choral Songs SATB Where is the Way 5:00 SATB chorus, a cappella Where Is The Way 5:00 Woodstock SATB Arrangements On an Overgrown Path(arr.) 25:00 1(dbl. A.Fl.) 1 1 1 – 2 1 0 0; Str. On An Overgrown Path(arr.) Guitar
Bresnick’s music holds the key to what makes him a great teacher; more than almost any living composer I know of, he is able to take the most basic, plain materials and spin them out into compelling dramatic structures … he is able to combine a rich harmonic palette and often disruptive or highly contrasting gestures with compulsive repetition. He’s able to blend high dissonance with bread-and-butter triads into a personal mix where all seem part of a natural continuum.
–Robert Carl, Fanfare
AND I ALWAYS THOUGHT
…appealing on musical terms, yet the poems, unspoken, gave a burning fire.
–Harry Rolnick, ConcertoNet.com
GOING HOME (VYSOKE, MY JERUSALEM)
…would be the crowning jewel in any composer’s catalog … it is beautiful…
–Josh Ronsen, Monk Mink Pink Punk
…full of power and poignancy.
–Robert Carl, Fanfare
…weaves a beautiful, though painful, picture.
for Two Pianos
Bresnick’s expanded modalities canvassed a 12-tone language that was never austere, never arrogant. Artful use of sostenuto pedal (III) created watercolours of layered overtones, ringing out into the silences like white space in a painting. Reminiscent of Messiaen’s organ music, Bresnick’s work evoked spaces of churches – sotto voce utterances surfaced and disappeared again, like conversations heard from the back of pews.
–Judith Crispin, CityNews
for Solo Piano
…pulses with beautiful, interlocking descending phrases, like streams of water splashing down a hill side.
–Josh Ronsen, Monk Mink Pink Punk
Bresnick masterly developed the polyphonic layers, climaxing to full harmonically stretch using the fullness of the keyboard.
–Sascha Kelly, Limelight Magazine
Its hypnotic pentatonic riff slowly opens up registrally, discovering beauty in its mourning.
–Robert Carl, Fanfare
…[a] virtuosic set of variations on [a] haunting tune.
JOSEPHINE (THE SINGER)
for Solo Violin
…a significant contribution to the solo violin repertoire … an expressive piece in a single movement…
PASSIONS OF BLOOM: WHITMAN, MELVILLE, DICKINSON
…brilliant, humanizing, engaging art.
–Steve Mentz, The Bookfish
…exemplifies the mind’s intense attachment and attention to the written word in its most fervent and deeply American uses. …the quality of the lines incorporated, and the distinct tones and musical interplay of the different sections, makes for a riveting listening experience.
–Donald Brown, New Haven Review
PRAYERS REMAIN FOREVER
for Cello and Piano
…deeply felt emotional expression…
PRAYERS REMAIN FOREVER [RECORDING]
…an incredible collection of works that vary as much in style and mood than any other composer I’ve heard. The depth of the music and Bresnick’s ability to pull the listener all the way down into those depths is impressive. What’s more, the paradoxical thoughts behind the music are imbedded in the compositions. Truly a must listen for lovers of well-crafted music.
–Jarrett Goodchild, I Care If You Listen
…a dark and unrelenting processional.
–Robert Carl, Fanfare
…a lyrical piano piece…depicting a scene from Goya’s horrific set of etchings, “Disasters of War” … The mood here is not one of cynicism it is more like a lament.
Martin Bresnick: Josephine (the Singer)
The piece takes its title from Franz Kafka’s last published story, “Josephine the Singer or the Mouse Folk”…While difficult, it is not unapprachable in any sense.–Susan Pierotti, Stringendo
MARTIN BRESNICK: PRAYERS REMAIN FOREVER
Starkland (ST-221); November 18, 2014
Performer(s): Lisa Moore, piano and vocals; Sarita Kwok, violin; Michael Compitello, vibraphone; Ian Rosenbaum, marimba; Double Entendre Music Ensemble; TwoSense
Work(s): A Message from the Emperor
Going Home (Vysoke, My Jerusalem)
Josephine (the Singer)
Prayers Remain Forever
Blue Griffin Recording (BGR319); November 11, 2014
Performer(s): Iridium Quartet
Work(s): Every Thing Must Go
Cantaloupe Music (CA21075); October 25, 2011
Performer(s): Lisa Moore; Sō Percussion
Work(s): Caprichos Enfaticos
MARTIN BRESNICK: EVERY THING MUST GO
Albany Records (TROY1184); May 1, 2010
Performer(s): Prism Saxophone Quartet; Yale Camerata, Marguerite Brooks, conductor; Ashley Bathgate, cello, Lisa Moore, cello and piano; Abigail Nims, mezzo-soprano, Wei-yi Yang, piano
Every Thing Must Go
Three Choral Songs
THE ESSENTIAL MARTIN BRESNICK
Cantaloupe Music (CA21041); November 14, 2006
Performer(s): Flux Quartet; Jupiter Trio; Bang on a Can All-Stars
Work(s): BE JUST!
String Quartet No. 2, “Bucephalus”
The Bucket Rider
MARTIN BRESNICK: MY TWENTIETH CENTURY
New World Records (80635); September 1, 2005
Performer(s): Robert van Sice, marimba I; Kunihiko Komori, marimba II; Izumi Sinfonietta Osaka, Norichika Iimori, conductor; Povera Players; various artists
Work(s): Fantasia on a Theme by Willie Dixon
My Twentieth Century
Songs of the Mouse People
Tent of Miracles
MARTIN BRESNICK: OPERE DELLA MUSICA POVERA
CRI/New World Records (NWCR868); November 21, 2000
Performer(s): Da Capo Chamber Players: Jo-Ann Sternberg, clarinet; Povera Players; Yale Pro Musica; Jesse Levine, conductor; Lawrence Leighton Smith, conductor; Marguerite L. Brooks, conductor; Martin Bresnick, con…
Bird As Prophet
Follow Your Leader
Pigs & Fishes
The Bucket Rider
The Dream of the Lost Traveller
MARTIN BRESNICK: MUSIC FOR STRINGS
CRI/New World Records (NWCR682); February 20, 1995
Performer(s): The Alexander String Quartet; The Harrington String Quartet; Daniel Asia, conductor; Martin Bresnick, conductor; Musical Elements; The Yale Cellos
Work(s): B.’s Garlands
String Quartet No. 2, “Bucephalus”
String Quartet No. 3
Wir Weben, Wir Weben
(Part of “Opera della Musica Povera”) for OrchestraBread and Salt
for Mixed EnsembleB’s Garlands
for Eight Solo VioloncellosCaprichos Enfáticos
for Piano and Percussion QuartetFalling
for Solo Mezzo-soprano and OrchestraFanfare
for Brass EnsembleFantasia on a Theme by Willie Dixon
for Chamber EnsembleGrace
for Two Marimbas and OrchestraLittle Suite
for String OrchestraMy Friend’s Story
An Opera: Prologue, 3 Scenes, EpiloguePassions of Bloom
For Solo Voices, SATB Chorus, and OrchestraPine Eyes
for Narrator and Mixed EnsemblePontoosuc
for OrchestraProphetic Strain
(Movement II from “Pan Penseroso”) for Two Flutes and OrchestraSinfonia
(part of “Opera della Musica Povera”) for OrchestraThe Way It Goes
for OrchestraWir Weben Wir Weben
for String Orchestra