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Spencer Topel

Hanover, NH   

Composer Spencer Topel is among America’s most innovative and sought-after interdisciplinary composers. The recipient of numerous awards and honors (including the Palmer Dixon Prize from the Juilliard School for best composition, BMI and ASCAP Awards, and the first American composer to be awarded a Danish International Visiting Artist Residency. 


Topel has composed music for many of America’s premiere musical institutions, including the Minnesota Orchestra (Incendio, 2009), the Juilliard Symphony, Oregon Symphony, and the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble. Notable international collaborations include performances with the FIGURA Ensemble in Copenhagen, Denmark, theContemporarte Ensemble in Venice, Italy, and the Turkish Cultural Center 2009 artist tour. His works include three string quartets, five symphonic works, and numerous chamber and electronic works and sound-art installations. Recent major premieres and shows include Capturing Resonance (with Soo Sunny Park at the DeCordova Museum),  Svin (bassist Jesper Egelund), Callings (FIGURA Ensemble), Trans-Verse (Charles River Wind Ensemble), and Five Details on the Strasbourg Rosace (Collide-A-Scope Music). 


Current projects include a string quartet commission (Voxare Quartet), artist residency in Tel-Aviv at the Israeli Conservatory of Music (July, 2014), and two new installations with artist and Dartmouth faculty member Soo Sunny Park. 


He received degrees from Cornell and The Juilliard School before joining the Tenure-Track Faculty at Dartmouth College, where he is currently an Assistant Professor of Music. He is on the Board of Directors for the Foundation for Emerging Technologies in the Arts, and is involved with curation of festivals and conferences, including the Sound and Music Computing, the International Computer Music Conference, and the International Society of Music Information Retrieval. 

Articles by Spencer Topel:

Articles November 24 2009 | By Spencer Topel
2009 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute Blog: How Can We Keep This Going?

By Spencer TopelWe come together as a society of people who are excited to make "living" musics by bringing time, energy, money, and attention to the importance of our cultural...

Articles November 21 2009 | By Spencer Topel
The 2009 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute Blog: First Rehearsal Butterflies

By Spencer TopelI have certainly experienced situations where the composer quickly became an orchestral punching bag, but this is the exact opposite.

Articles November 20 2009 | By Spencer Topel
The 2009 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute Blog: Composer Fine Print

By Spencer TopelI feel like we have been thrust into a posh boot camp for orchestral composers.

Articles November 19 2009 | By Spencer Topel
The 2009 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute Blog: Putting the Parts Together

By Spencer TopelI started to consider what is perhaps the least enjoyable aspect of being a composer: the parts; but isn't it odd that we take the least pleasure in...

Articles November 18 2009 | By Spencer Topel
The 2009 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute Blog: A Top Notch Hotel But There’s No Time to...

By Spencer TopelIt could be the comfy beds and valet service, but I have to say that everyone invited to the program seems really pleasant.

Articles November 17 2009 | By Spencer Topel
The 2009 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute Blog: Vast Distances

By Spencer TopelWe go to great lengths to hear our music: what drives us to do this?

Articles November 12 2009 | By Spencer Topel
The 2009 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute Blog: Down to the Orchestral Wire

By Spencer Topel Various fledgling composers will fantasize about the proverbial "break" that will propel their music, persona, and talents into the stratosphere; but the opportunities come few and far...