AARON JAY KERNIS (b 1960 )
Winner of the coveted 2002 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition and the 1998 Pulitzer Prize, Aaron Jay Kernis is among the most esteemed musical figures of his generation. With his “fearless originality [and] powerful voice” (The New York Times), Kernis is one of today’s most frequently performed composers. His music, full of variety and dynamic energy, is rich in lyric beauty, poetic imagery, and brilliant instrumental colour.
His works appear prominently on orchestral, chamber, and recital programs worldwide and has been commissioned by many of America’s foremost performers and institutions, including soprano Renée Fleming, violinists Joshua Bell, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, pianist Christopher O’Riley and guitarist Sharon Isbin, the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Walt Disney Company, Rose Center for Earth and Space, Ravinia Festival, San Francisco Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra. Recent and upcoming commissions include works for the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival (for David Shifrin and the Orion Quartet), eighth blackbird, a Cello Concerto for rising star Joshua Roman, a Viola Concerto for Paul Neubauer and his Third String Quartet for the Jasper Quartet.
One of America’s most honoured composers, Kernis was recently inducted in to the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Classical Music Hall of Fame and has received countless awards and prizes throughout his career, including the 2011 Nemmers Award from Northwestern University. For ten years he was New Music Advisor to the Minnesota Orchestra and was artistic director of that orchestra’s Composer Institute for 15 years. He has taught composition at Yale School of Music since 2003.
His works have been recorded on over 25 CDs, including for labels such as Nonesuch, New Albion, Koch, Naxos, Argo, Dorian, Virgin Classics and Cedille.