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Gigi Kaeser photo
Gigi Kaeser photo

The distinguished American composer Lewis Spratlan, recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and NEA fellowships; an American Academy of Arts and Letters composer award; and the 2000 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his opera Life is a Dream, premiered by the Santa Fe Opera in 2010, is producing new works at a prodigious rate. The last decade has seen the premieres of:

  • Wonderer (commissioned by pianist Jonathan Biss and performed widely in the United States and Europe)
  • Shadow (commissioned by cellist Matt Haimovitz and performed more than fifty times in the U.S., Canada, and Europe; on the Oxingale CD “After Contemplating Shakespeare”
  • Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra (a consortium commission performed in Holland MI, Athens GA, and Long Beach CA; BMOP/sound CD release, 2014)
  • Architect (a chamber opera drawn from the life and work of Louis Kahn – video version screened in New York, Chicago, New Haven, Fort Worth; Parma CD/DVD release 2013)
  • Elephant Rocks (nine a cappella choral songs on poems by Kay Ryan premiered in Amherst MA; Yale University, October 2012)
  • A Summer’s Day (Boston Modern Orchestra Project Commission; BMOP Sound CD release, 2014)
  • Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano (Albany CD release, Spring 2013)
  • City Song (double chorus SATB/SATB; commissioned by the Yale Glee Club for its 150th anniversary; poem by Elizabeth Alexander)
  • Process/Bulge (chamber ensemble; commissioned by Wet Ink; New York, April 2011)
  • Travels (commissioned by the Rutgers University Glee Club; South Hadley MA, New Brunswick NJ, Baltimore, MD)
  • Vespers Cantata: Hesperus is Phosphorus (a 65-minute, nine-movement work for chorus SATB and chamber sextet, commissioned by The Crossing Choir and Philadelphia’s Network for New Music; Donald Nally, conductor; Philadelphia and New York, June, 2012; Innova CD release 2015)
  • Ballad of the Happy Kitchen (soprano, piano; commissioned by Opera America for the Opera America Songbook)
  • Shining: Double Concerto for Cello, Piano and Orchestra (commissioned by Matt Haimovitz and Christopher O’Riley)
  • Horn Quartet (hn., vln., vc., pf.; premiere Amherst, MA September 2013) composed in honor of the victims of the Sandy Hook, CT, massacre, Nov. 12, 2012
  • Joy Song (solo cl.) commissioned 2014 by Jonathan Aubrey; numerous performances worldwide
  • String Quartet No. 2 Muir Quartet; performances to be scheduled
  • Of War (SATB cho., orch) a 30-minute cantata commissioned by The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; premiered April 8, 2015; conducted by Andrew Megill; texts by Constance Congdon, Walt Whitman, and the composer
  • The Fish, text by Elizabeth Bishop (ten., hn., pf.) commissioned by Jean Jeffries; Amherst, MA and Brattleboro, VT; June 2015
  • Hornpipe for Ruth (fl., vln., vc., pf.) In memoriam Ruth Black; Charlemont, MA, August 2015
  • Bangladesh (solo pf.) commissioned by Piano Spheres, after Louis Kahn’s National Assembly Buildings, Dhaka; premiere October 27, 2015 by pianist Nadia Shpachenko at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles; numerous additional performances
  • Dreamworlds (pf. 4 hands) commissioned by Dana Muller and Gary Steigerwalt; premiere February, 28, 2016; numerous additional performances
  • Common Ground (sop. & bar. soloists, SATB cho., chamber orch.) commissioned by The Crossing Choir, Donald Nally, conductor as part of the Seven Responses Initiative; ICE ensemble; premiere June 25, 2016; Episcopal Cathedral, Philadelphia; repeated August 21, 7:00 PM, Merkin Hall, New York City (Part of the Mostly Mozart Festival)

His music is marked by both immediacy and depth of feeling, joie-de-vivre, and the highest technical expertise. It is written with loving regard for the performers who bring it alive and incorporates their sensibilities into the essence of the music. His works have been praised and extensively discussed by Anthony Tommasini and Allan Kozinn of the New York Times, Richard Dyer and Jeremy Eichler of the Boston Globe, and Lloyd Schwartz of the Boston Phoenix. See the WORKS page for details and the RECORDINGS page for a list of recordings.  See the NEWS page for publishing news and links to sound files.