STEVEN R. GERBER (b 1948 )
Steven R. Gerber was born in 1948 in Washington, D.C. and now lives in New York City. He received degrees from Haverford College and from Princeton University, where he received a four-year fellowship. His composition teachers included Robert Parris, J. K. Randall, Earl Kim, and Milton Babbitt. Two CDs of Gerber’s orchestral works were released on major labels in 2000. Chandos issued his Symphony No. 1, Dirge and Awakening, Viola Concerto, and Triple Overture, played by the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra under Thomas Sanderling, with Lars Anders Tomter, viola, and the Bekova Sisters Trio. Koch International Classics, under a grant from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, released his Violin Concerto, Cello Concerto, and Serenade for String Orchestra, played by the National Chamber Orchestra under Piotr Gajewski, with soloists Kurt Nikkanen and Carter Brey. After the American première of his Violin Concerto at the Concert Hall of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 1995 by Nikkanen and the National Chamber Orchestra under Gajewski, the Washington Post described it as major addition to the contemporary violin repertoire, and when Carter Brey gave the première of his Cello Concerto with the same orchestra and conductor in 1996, the same paper gave it the highest praise. Recent works of Gerber’s include a Viola Concerto written for Yuri Bashmet and given its première by Bashmet at his summer festival in Tours, France, String Quartets Nos. 4 and 5, written respectively for the Fine Arts and Amernet String Quartets, Spirituals for clarinet and string quartet, commissioned by Concertante Chamber Players for performances in 2000 at the Library of Congress (Washington, DC), New York City, and Harrisburg, a Clarinet Concerto for Jon Manasse, first performed by him with the National Philharmonic Orchestra under Piotr Gajewski, and Fanfare for the Voice of A-M-E-R-I-C-A, commissioned to celebrate VOA’s sixtieth anniversary, and given its première at the VOA auditorium in a 9/11 memorial concert in 2003. The Fanfare has since then been performed by the Wheeling Symphony, the Omaha Symphony, the University of Tennessee (Knoxville) Orchestra, and by the National Philharmonic Orchestra at the new Music Center at Strathmore as part of the 2005 ASOL convention. Gerber’s music is well-known also in Russia and Ukraine, where he has had numerous tours with literally dozens of performances of his orchestral works as well as many concerts of his solo and chamber works. Several of his major works were given their world premières there, including Dirge and Awakening by the Russian National Orchestra under Mikhail Pletnev at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Violin Concerto by the Novosibirsk Philharmonic under Arnold Katz, with soloist Kurt Nikkanen, and Serenade Concertante by the Chamber Orchestra Kremlin under Misha Rachlevsky at the Small Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. Gerber has written several works for famed Russian violinist Tatyana Grindenko. In 2007 Arabesque released a CD of three of Gerber’s orchestral works, Spirituals for string orchestra, Clarinet Concerto, and Serenade Concertante, featuring the St Petersburg State Academic Symphony, conducted by Vladimir Lande, and clarinetist Jon Manasse. Gerber’s most recent work, Music in Dark Times for orchestra, commissioned by Vladimir Ashkenazy, received its world première performance in March 2009, with Ashkenazy conducting the San Francisco Symphony at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco.