A Tribute to Ingram Marshall
Saturday, April 15, 2023 | 7:30pm
Herbst TheatreVenue Information
About This Performance
Composer Ingram Marshall was a beloved and influential presence in the Bay Area, where he spent his formative years in the 1970s and 1980s, teaching at the San Francisco Conservatory and writing some of his most iconic works. Composer Steve Reich says of him: “He had his own unique musical voice, and that is a rare treasure that will stay with us. He lived much of his early musical life in the Bay Area and as usual, listened carefully to what was going on around him. His well-known Fog Tropes combines recorded fog horns with brass and shifting harmonies centered around A to capture the sound and mood of the Bay Area—while also remaining totally elusive. Ingram Marshall’s music is not so simple. Like all real art, it's impossible to nail down, but its beauty and intelligence are radiantly clear.” To honor Marshall’s memory and his remarkable music, several of his close collaborators and colleagues, including John Adams, Timo Andres, Sarah Cahill, Libby Van Cleve, and Benjamin Verdery, will present compositions he dedicated to them, and Edwin Outwater conducts Fog Tropes with students from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Dark Waters (Libby Van Cleve, English horn)
Soe-pa (Benjamin Verdery, guitar)
Flow (John Adams conducting SFCM Ensemble with Timo Andres, piano)
Authentic Presence (Sarah Cahill, piano)
Fog Tropes (Edwin Outwater conducting SFCM Ensemble)
This program is made possible in part by the generous support of David and Abby Rumsey
Composer, conductor, and creative thinker—John Adams occupies a unique position in the world of American music. His works, both operatic and symphonic, stand out among contemporary classical compositions for their depth of expression, brilliance of sound, and the profoundly humanist nature of their themes. Over the past 40 years, Adams’s music has played a decisive role in turning the tide of contemporary musical aesthetics away from academic modernism and toward a more expansive, expressive language, entirely characteristic of his New World surroundings.
Born and raised in New England, Adams learned the clarinet from his father and played in marching bands and community orchestras during his formative years. He began composing at age ten and heard his first orchestral pieces performed while still a teenager. The intellectual and artistic traditions of New England, including his studies at Harvard University and attendance at Boston Symphony Orchestra concerts, helped shape him as an artist and thinker. After earning two degrees from Harvard, he moved to Northern California in 1971 and has since lived in the San Francisco Bay area.
Adams taught at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for ten years before becoming composer-in-residence of the San Francisco Symphony (1982–85), and creator of the orchestra’s highly successful and controversial “New and Unusual Music” series. Many of Adams’s landmark orchestral works were written for and premiered by the San Francisco Symphony, including Harmonium (1981), Grand Pianola Music (1982), Harmonielehre (1985) and Absolute Jest (2012).
In 1985, Adams began a collaboration with stage director Peter Sellars that has resulted in three decades of groundbreaking operas and oratorios: Nixon in China (1987), The Death of Klinghoffer (1991), both to libretti by Alice Goodman, El Niño (2000), Doctor Atomic (2005), A Flowering Tree (2006), The Gospel According to the Other Mary (2012) and Girls of the Golden West (2017). Of his first opera, The New Yorker magazine said, “Not since Porgy and Bess has an American opera won such universal acclaim as Nixon in China.”
A winner of numerous Grammy awards, Adams’ music is exceptionally well represented on recordings. In June 2022 Nonesuch Records will release the 40-disc John Adams Collected Works, a box set spanning four decades of his music including all of his operas, orchestral and chamber music. The John Adams Edition by the Berliner Philharmoniker, a multi-CD and DVD released in 2017 is a compilation of his music features performances conducted by Rattle, Dudamel, Petrenko, Gilbert and Adams himself.
Adams’s new piano concerto, Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes? was premiered and recorded for Deutsche Gramophone by Yuja Wang with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel. Pianists Vikingur Olafsson and Jeremy Denk have also taken on the work in performances in the US and Europe.
Adams’s newest opera, his sixth, Antony and Cleopatra, will premiere in September at the San Francisco Opera in a production directed by Elkhanah Pulitzer with a libretto by Adams drawn from Shakespeare, Plutarch and Virgil.
Adams is the 2019 recipient of the Erasmus Prize, awarded to him by King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands “for notable contributions to European culture,” the only American composers to be so honored in the prize’s 61-year history.
Both Harvard and Yale universities have conferred honorary doctorates on Adams, as have Northwestern University, the Juilliard School and Cambridge University in England. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California honored him with the Governor’s Award for his distinguished service to the arts in his adopted home state. His Violin Concerto won the 1993 Grawemeyer Award, and On the Transmigration of Souls, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic to commemorate the first anniversary of 9/11, received the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in Music. Other awards include Spain’s BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award, Dresden’s Gläshutter Festival Prize.
John Adams is a much sought-after conductor, appearing with the world’s major orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, the Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Berliner Philharmoniker, the BBC Symphony, the Santa Cecilia Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera. His programming combines his own works with a wide variety of repertoire ranging from Beethoven, Mozart and Sibelius to Ives, Stravinsky, Carter, Reich, Glass, Zappa, and Ellington.
In the current season Adams returns to conduct the orchestras of Cleveland, Los Angeles, Saint Louis, Seattle as well as appearing with European orchestras in Lahti, Rotterdam, Zurich and Reykjavík.
Since 2009 Adams has held the position of Creative Chair with the Los Angeles Philharmonic where he has been instrumental in the success of that orchestra’s highly creative Green Umbrella new music series.
Through his conducting and commissioning of new works, Adams has become a significant mentor of the younger generation of American composers. His long history of performing new music was recognized by his receiving the 2021 Ditson Award from Columbia University “for exceptional commitment to the performance of American composers.
The Pacific Harmony Foundation, created with his wife, the photographer Deborah O’Grady, supports commissions and performances of new works and musical education initiatives throughout the country. Adams’ educational activities reach from the local (the John Adams Young Composers program in his hometown of Berkeley, California) to the national and international (the Juilliard School, the Royal Academy of Music and the New World Symphony).
John Adams is also a highly esteemed and provocative writer. He is a frequent contributor to the New York Times Book Review and has written for The New Yorker and The London Times. Hallelujah Junction, Adams’s much praised volume of memoirs and commentary on American musical life, was named one of the “most notable books of the year” by the New York Times, whose review said of it ”Hallelujah Junction stands with books by Hector Berlioz and Louis Armstrong among the most readably incisive autobiographies of major musical figures.”
Timo Andres (b. 1985, Palo Alto, CA) is a composer and pianist who grew up in rural Connecticut and lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Notable works include Everything Happens So Much for the Boston Symphony; Strong Language for the Takács Quartet, commissioned by Carnegie Hall and the Shriver Hall Concert Series; Steady Hand, a two-piano concerto commissioned by the Britten Sinfonia premiered at the Barbican by Andres and David Kaplan; and The Blind Banister, a concerto for Jonathan Biss, which was a 2016 Pulitzer Prize Finalist.
As a pianist, Timo Andres has appeared with the LA Phil, North Carolina Symphony, the Albany Symphony, New World Symphony, and in many collaborations with Andrew Cyr and Metropolis Ensemble. He has performed solo recitals for Lincoln Center, Wigmore Hall, San Francisco Performances, the Phillips Collection, and (le) Poisson Rouge. Collaborators include Becca Stevens, Jeffrey Kahane, Gabriel Kahane, Brad Mehldau, Nadia Sirota, the Kronos Quartet, John Adams, and Philip Glass, with whom he has performed the complete Glass Etudes around the world, and who selected Andres as the recipient of the City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize. Andres also frequently works with Sufjan Stevens; his arrangements of Stevens’s ballet, Principia, were presented last season by the New York City Ballet, and his recording of Stevens’s newest album, The Decalogue, has received widespread acclaim.
This season, Andres curated (and performed in) “American Perspective,” a concert with the Cincinnati Symphony, André de Ridder, Dance Heginbotham, and Inbal Segev, playing his cello concerto, Upstate Obscura. Next season he is presented in residency by San Francisco Performances, including chamber music with Jennifer Koh and Jay Campbell; a solo recital; and a collaboration with a new commission for Anthony Roth Costanzo, the Attacca Quartet, and himself. He also plays The Blind Banister with the Oregon Symphony, led by James Gaffigan.
A Nonesuch Records artist, Timo Andres is featured as composer and pianist on the new album, I Still Play, comprising a set of piano pieces written by himself and fellow Nonesuch artists for Chairman Emeritus Bob Hurwitz. A Yale School of Music graduate, he is a Yamaha/Bösendorfer Artist and is on the faculty at the Mannes School of Music at the New School.
Sarah Cahill, hailed as “a sterling pianist and an intrepid illuminator of the classical avant-garde” by the New York Times and “a brilliant and charismatic advocate for modern and contemporary composers” by Time Out New York, has commissioned and premiered over seventy compositions for solo piano. Composers who have dedicated works to Cahill include John Adams, Terry Riley, Frederic Rzewski, Pauline Oliveros, Julia Wolfe, Roscoe Mitchell, Annea Lockwood, and Ingram Marshall. Keyboard Magazine writes, “Through her inspired interpretation of works across the 20th and 21st centuries, Cahill has been instrumental in bringing to life the music of many of our greatest living composers.” She was named a 2018 Champion of New Music, awarded by the American Composers Forum (ACF).
Cahill enjoys working closely with composers, musicologists, and scholars to prepare scores for each performance. She researched and recorded music by prominent early 20th-century American modernists Henry Cowell and Ruth Crawford and commissioned a number of new pieces in tribute to their enduring influence. She has also premiered and recorded music by Leo Ornstein, Marc Blitzstein, and other 20th century mavericks.
Cahill has worked closely with composer Terry Riley since 1997, when she commissioned his four-hand piece Cinco de Mayo for a festival at Cal Performances celebrating Henry Cowell’s 100th birthday—the first of six works she has commissioned from him. For Riley’s 80th birthday, Cahill commissioned nine new works for solo piano in his honor and performed them with several of Riley’s own compositions at (Le) Poisson Rouge and Roulette in New York, MIT, the North Dakota Museum of Art, and other venues across the country. Sarah Cahill commissioned the late Frederic Rzewski to compose a substantial solo piano work in honor of Terry Riley’s 85th birthday.
Sarah Cahill also worked closely with Lou Harrison and has championed many of his works for piano. In 1997, Cahill was chosen to premiere his Festival Dance for two pianos with Aki Takahashi at the Cooper Union and worked with Harrison in rehearsals. She was also chosen to perform his Dance for Lisa Karon, discovered only a few years ago and not heard since its premiere in 1938, and she performed his Varied Trio, both piano concertos, and a number of solo and chamber works on her 2017 Lou Harrison tour celebrating his centennial year, with concerts in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Orlando, Miami, Hawaii, Tokyo and Fukuoka in Japan, and more. In fall 2019, Sarah performed Lou Harrison’s exuberant Concerto for Piano with Javanese Gamelan in two Berkeley performances and at the ICA Boston. She also performed and recorded the work with Gamelan Galak Tika at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Cahill’s latest project is The Future is Female, an investigation and reframing of the piano literature featuring more than seventy compositions by women around the globe, from the Baroque to the present day, including new commissioned works. Featured composers include Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre, Maria de Alvear, Galina Ustvolskaya, Franghiz Ali- Zadeh, Florence Price, Hannah Kendall, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Kui Dong, Meredith Monk, Vit́ězslava Kaprálová , Tania León, Fannie Charles Dillon, and many others. Cahill is performing this project in museums, galleries, and concert halls in current and future seasons. Recent and upcoming performances of The Future is Female include concerts presented by The Barbican, Carolina Performing Arts, Carlsbad Music Festival, Detroit Institute of Arts, University of Iowa, Bowling Green New Music Festival, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, North Dakota Museum of Art, Mayville State University, the EXTENSITY Concert Series’ Women Now Festival in New York, and the Newport Classical Music Festival.
Cahill has performed classical and contemporary chamber music with artists and ensembles such as Jessica Lang Dance; pianists Joseph Kubera, Adam Tendler, and Regina Myers; violinist Stuart Canin; the Alexander String Quartet; New Century Chamber Orchestra; Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, and many more. She also performs as a duo with violinist Kate Stenberg.
Sarah Cahill’s discography includes more than twenty albums on the New Albion, CRI, New World, Tzadik, Albany, Innova, Cold Blue, Other Minds, Irritable Hedgehog, and Pinna labels. Cahill’s latest album, The Future is Female, Vol. 1, In Nature, was released in March 2022 on First Hand Records, with Volume 2, The Dance out in October 2022. The Future is Female is a three-volume series, which celebrates and highlights women composers from the 17th century to the present day. These albums encompass 30 compositions by women from around the globe and include many new commissioned works and world premiere recordings. Cahill’s performance on the album and the recording itself each earned 4 stars in BBC Music Magazine. Of the album, BBC Music Magazine wrote, “The feminist slogan ‘The Future is Female’ is shown on the front cover, held up on a protest sign. And as this recording shows, the past was female too, it’s just that women are often written out of it. Here, then, is an alternative history of solo piano music—and one that’s delivered with real conviction by pianist Sarah Cahill.”
Cahill’s 2013 release A Sweeter Music (Other Minds) featured musical reflections on war by eighteen eloquent and provocative composer/activists. In 2015, Pinna Records released her two-CD set of Mamoru Fujieda’s Patterns of Plants, an extraordinary fusion of nature and technology created by identifying the musical patterns in the electrical impulses of plants. In September 2017, she released Eighty Trips Around the Sun: Music by and for Terry Riley, a box set tribute to Terry Riley, on Irritable Hedgehog Records. The four-CD set includes solo works by Riley, four-hand works with pianist Regina Myers, and world premiere recordings of commissioned works composed in honor of Riley’s 80th birthday.
Sarah Cahill’s radio show, Revolutions Per Minute, can be heard every Sunday evening from 8 to 10 pm on KALW, 91.7 FM in San Francisco. The program focuses on the relationships between classical music and new music, encompassing interviews with musicians and composers, historical performances, and recordings outside the mainstream. Cahill is on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory and is a regular pre-concert speaker with the San Francisco Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
A truly visionary conductor, curator and producer, Edwin Outwater regularly works with the world’s top orchestras, institutions and artists to reinvent the concert experience. His effortless ability to cross genres has led to collaborations with a wide range of artists, ranging from Metallica to Wynton Marsalis, Renée Fleming and Yo-Yo Ma. He is, in the words of his mentor Michael Tilson Thomas, “one of the most innovative conductors on the scene today.”
Edwin Outwater is Music Director of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, overseeing their ensembles, as well as shaping the artistic initiatives of this dynamic institution as a whole. He is also Music Director Laureate of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony which he led from 2007–2017, bringing the orchestra to international acclaim with tours and collaborative projects, and a critically praised recording, From Here On Out.
Recent appearances include performances with the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Houston Symphony, Seattle Symphony and New World Symphony as well as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in a multi-concert series opening the Steinmetz Hall in Florida. As a producer and musical advisor for the National Symphony Orchestra’s 50th Anniversary Concert at the Kennedy Center, he collaborated with a cast of artists including Common, Renée Fleming, Audra MacDonald and Christian McBride.
Last season saw Outwater made his debut at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London with Cynthia Erivo and other international appearances include the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony, Kyoto Symphony, Nagoya Philharmonic, BBCNOW, the Brussels Philharmonic, the New Zealand Symphony, Adelaide Symphony, Malmö Symphony, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, Mexico City Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfónica de Xalapa, and Hong Kong Sinfonietta. In Canada, he has led the National Arts Centre Orchestra and the symphonies of Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Victoria.
Since the 2021 Season, Outwater has been the main conductor for the Stewart Copeland’s Police Deranged for Orchestra concerts conducting orchestras such as San Diego Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Utah Symphony Orchestra.
In October 2022, Outwater premieres his newest production, Symphony of Terror, with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and co-host and collaborator Peaches Christ; in December 2022, he will debut the London premiere of A Christmas Gaiety at the Royal Albert Hall with Peaches Christ and BBC Concert Orchestra, featuring prominent guest stars from the world of drag, pop and musical theatre.
Edwin Outwater holds a long association with the San Francisco Symphony. The 2021–22 season saw performances in their SoundBox Series, concert appearances with Boyz II Men, and the world premiere of Get Happy! a Judy Garland Centennial concert. Last season also includes the fourth annual performance of Holiday Gaiety, an LGBTQ holiday concert he created with drag performer Peaches Christ. Previously, Outwater was San Francisco Symphony Resident Conductor, Director of Summer Concerts and Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra.
In 2022 Outwater featured in several prominent recordings. He conducted the Chicago Symphony in the Sony Classical release of Mason Bates’s Philharmonia Fantastique. He was also Associate Conductor for the Sony Classical release A Gathering of Friends, with John Williams, Yo-Yo Ma and the New York Philharmonic. He features prominently in Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett’s solo debut EP, Portals, as co-songwriter, arranger, orchestrator and keyboardist.
A native of Santa Monica, California, Edwin Outwater graduated cum laude in English literature from Harvard University, where he was music director of the Bach Society Orchestra and the a cappella group Harvard Din and Tonics, and wrote the music for the 145th annual production of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals. He received his degree in conducting from UC Santa Barbara, where he studied with Heiichiro Ohyama and Paul Polivnick, besides studying music theory and composition with John Stewart, Joel Feigin, and Leonard Stein.
Described as "expert" by the Washington Post, "dazzling" by the San Francisco Chronicle, and "absolutely exquisite” by Paris Transatlantic, Libby Van Cleve's most extreme moniker was from the Hartford Courant which dubbed her "the double reed queen of the new music world." Van Cleve is recognized as one of the foremost interpreters of chamber and contemporary music for the oboe. Her playing can be heard on the New Albion, Tzadik, New World, OODisc, Braxton House, What Next?, CRI, Artifacts, and Centrediscs CD labels. She is the author of Oboe Unbound, a book on contemporary oboe techniques published by Rowman and Littlefield, and co-author of the award-winning book/CD publication, Composers’ Voices from Ives to Ellington, Yale University Press. She is the editor of Six Suites, oboe performance editions of Bach’s cello suites, published by T.D. Ellis Music Publishing. Ms. Van Cleve received her DMA from Yale School of Music, her MFA from California Institute of the Arts, and her BA, Magna cum Laude, from Bowdoin College. She is the oboe teacher at Connecticut College and Wesleyan University and Director of Yale’s Oral History of American Music. Her former teachers have included Ronald Roseman, Allan Vogel, and Basil Reeve.
Ben Verdery has performed throughout Europe, North and South America and Asia, including at the Metropolitan Opera, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Wigmore Hall, Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), 92Y Kaufmann Auditorium and guitar festivals around the world.
He has performed and/or recorded with guitarists William Coulter, Frederic Hand, Leo Kottke, Paco Peña, Nano Stern, Andy Summers and John Williams, and vocalist Jessye Norman, among others. In 1996, Verdery accompanied the German baritone Hermann Prey in a performance of Schubert’s Fruhlingsglaube described in the New York Times as bringing “an affecting sweetness and intimacy to [the] gently lyrical music.” In 2005, Verdery and Andy Summers debuted Ingram Marshall’s Dark Florescence Variations for Two Guitars and Orchestra at Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra; Classical Guitar Magazine wrote that the performance's modern sensibility “exult[ed] in a dazzling interplay” between classical and electric guitars and orchestra.
Throughout his career, Verdery’s recitals have been noted for lyricism, invention, complexity, dynamism and eclecticism. The New York Times review of his 1980 New York debut described his interpretations of Bach as "rhythmically secure and musically precise" with a riveting concentration augmented by “flamboyant gestures.” In 1991, Guitar Extra characterized his approach as a “dichotomous marriage of absolute virtuosic bravura and a commanding—and sometimes comedic—stage presence.” His later performances have been described as open, democratic and original, freely mixing styles and elements such as altered guitars and digital delay to create new sonic environments.
As a recording artist, Ben’s discography is extensive with over 17 recordings. He has released albums of original and arranged material, solo and in collaborative duos with guitarists and other instrumentalists, and as a member of Latitude, the ensemble Ufonia and the Schmidt/Verdery Duo. His most recent, Scenes from Ellis Island (with premieres of his newest compositions) was released by New Focus Recordings in February 2020, together with a video of the recording’s title piece. Other recordings include On Vineyard Sound (2016 featuring Ben performing music by his composer colleagues at Yale University's School of Music): First You Build a Cloud (2007 with Andy Summers); Happy Here (2011 with William Coulter); Branches (2006 works of Bach, Strauss, Jimi Hendrix, Mozart and the traditional Amazing Grace); Start Now (2005 Classical Recording Foundation Award) and Some Towns & Cities (winner of Guitar Player Magazine’s Best Classical Guitar Recording 1992).
Some Towns & Cities features fifteen original Verdery compositions inspired by American cities, seen in terms of the guitar, with duets with Fred Hand, Leo Kottke, Paco Peña, John Williams and Rie Schmidt, as well as chamber music selections. Reviews described the album as “strikingly American” and groundbreaking, touching on blues, jazz, Spanish/Mexican and fingerpicking styles, with evocative onomatopoeic references.
Ben has created and released several exquisitely filmed videos, most recently his collection Peace, Love & Guitars, a series of 16 videos presented in February and April 2021 through the New York City Classical Guitar Society. The videos feature solo works as well as collaborations with long time colleagues. Other videos include: From Aristotle with Mark Martin and Michiyaya Dance, Bryce Dessner’s Portbou, Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze, Seymour Bernstein’s Searching for a Chorale, his Shangri La Series, filmed at Doris Duke's Shangri La Center for Islamic Arts & Cultures Honolulu, HI and four videos with hip-hop artist Billy Dean Thomas including the ground breaking Black Bach.
Verdery has composed works for classical and non-classical guitar, for solo and duo, guitar quartets, chamber groups and orchestras, for himself and others, including Sérgio and Odair Assad, David Russell, David Tanenbaum, Scott Tennant, and John Williams and John Etheridge.
After beginning with classical arrangements in the 1980s, his signature arrangements of Three American Songs [Don’t Be Cruel by Elvis Presley, Kiss by Prince, and Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix] “left the audience with a happy, patriotic glow” [San Francisco Classical Voice].
Verdery went on to compose works for himself, such as the three-movement solo "In Memory," the largely solo and duo pieces comprising his album Some Towns and Cities, and "Eleven Etudes" and the Dalai Lama-dedicated "Be Kind All the Time" from his recording Start Now.
Ben’s compositions for larger guitar ensembles includes Scenes from Ellis Island (1999), which was written for and recorded by the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (Air and Ground album), and Pick and Roll (for multiple guitars, saxophone, violin and basketball player), which premiered at Santa Cruz Contemporary Festival in 2000. Ben’s arrangement of Scenes from Ellis Island for guitar orchestra has since been extensively broadcast and performed at festivals and universities in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Europe.
He has also written chamber music for his group Ufonia and for a work commissioned by the New Jersey Chamber Music Society for its annual Martin Luther King Day concert, Soul Force (1996, for guitar, cello, flute and percussion). Other commissions include The Changsha International Guitar Festival, The Chilean Guitar Ensemble, the Pensacola Guitar Orchestra (FL), Kyo-Shin-An Arts (NY), Wake Forest University, Thomas Offermann and the guitar ensemble of the Hochschule for Music and Theatre (Rostock, Germany) and the score for the documentary film Corida Goyesque.
Doberman-Yppan (Canada) currently publishes his solo and duo works for guitar and Alfred Music distributes the solo pieces from Some Towns & Cities as well as instructional books and video. Other compositions are available at Ben’s web site.
Many of the leading composers of our time have created music for Ben, including Ezra Laderman, Daniel Asia, Martin Bresnick, Javier Farias, Aaron Kernis, John Anthony Lennon, David Leisner, Hannah Lash, Ingram Marshall, Anthony Newman, Roberto Sierra, Van Stiefel, Christopher Theofanitis, and Jack Vees.
In 2018 the 92Y, with Ben, commissioned Bryce Dessner’s Quintet for High Strings. The work was premiered at the 92Y Kauffman Auditorium with the St. Lawrence String Quartet. They went on to perform the work at the Ottawa Chamber Festival. Of the performance Artfile wrote “Verdery plays with the kind of infectious, childlike joy that lights up the whole stage, the sheer pleasure the five virtuosos took in playing the Dessner couldn’t help but enhance the audience’s enjoyment.”
Ben is currently recording Dessner’s Quintet for High Strings with the Ulysses Quartet, along with works by Farias, Bernstein (arr. Verdery) and Verdery for a release in June 2023.
Of particular note is the commission by the Yale University Music Library of Ingram Marshall’s Dark Florescence (2005) for classical and electric guitars. Ben Verdery and Andy Summers premiered the work at Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra. “Mr. Marshall’s Dark Florescence composition was imbued with a winning, what-the-hell spirit that left one hoping for a repeat performance. The guitarists’ thorny rhythmic interaction with the orchestra, and the somber closing section, carried a potent emotional charge.” Stated by the New York Observer.
Ben Verdery has been a guitar professor at the Yale School of Music since 1985. He has also taught at New York University, Manhattan School of Music, Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, Centro Flamenco Paco Peña (Spain) and his own annual summer master class on Maui, HI.
His teaching philosophy balances technique, interpretation and performance, while also emphasizing curiosity, intuition, and the physical relationship to the instrument, including posture and breathing. Verdery's instructional work includes the videotape, The Essentials of Classical Guitar Vol. 1: Sound and Sensation (1989), and the book, Easy Classical Guitar Recital (1999).
Ben Verdery was the Artistic Director of 92nd Street Y’s Art of the Guitar series from 2007–2020, served as artistic director of the D'Addario Foundation for the Performing Arts, and is Producer of his Maui Summer Master Class since 1999. Ben is also Honorary Board Member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas.