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Christopher Trapani

New York, NY      

2016 Rome Prize Winner Christopher Trapani is a composer with a genuine international trajectory, maintaining an active career in the United States, the United Kingdom, and in Continental Europe. Commissions have come from the BBC, the JACK Quartet, and Radio France, and his works have been recently heard at Carnegie Hall, Symphony Center in Chicago, the Southbank Centre, IRCAM, and Wigmore Hall.

Christopher was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1980. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Harvard, where he studied composition with Bernard Rands and poetry under Helen Vendler. He spent most of his twenties overseas: a year in London, working on a Master’s degree at the Royal College of Music with Julian Anderson; a year in Istanbul, studying microtonality in Ottoman music on a Fulbright grant; and seven years in Paris, where he studied with Philippe Leroux and worked at IRCAM, both on the composition cursus and later on a musical research residency.

Christopher is currently based in New York City, where he has worked on a doctorate at Columbia University, studying with Tristan Murail, Georg Friedrich Haas, Fred Lerdahl, and George Lewis.

Christopher is the winner of the 2007 Gaudeamus Prize, the first American in over 30 years to win the international young composers’ award. Other recent honors include an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a nomination for a British Composers Award, and a grant from the French-American Cultural Exchange (FACE) towards a new piece for ICE and Ensemble L’Itinéraire. He has also won the Julius F. Ježek Prize (2013), three Morton Gould Young Composers Awards from ASCAP (2005, 2006, and the Leo Kaplan Award in 2009), and a BMI Student Composer Award (2006). His scores have been performed by ICTUS, Ensemble Modern, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Nieuw Ensemble, Asko Ensemble, Ensemble L’Itinéraire, Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain, Ensemble Mosaik, Talea Ensemble, Argento Ensemble, Wet Ink, Earplay, Yarn/Wire, Atlas Ensemble, pianists Sergey Schepkin and Marilyn Nonken, and the American Composers Orchestra.

In March 2011, Christopher was featured in a portrait concert on the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Music of Today series at the Royal Festival Hall in London. His music has also been programmed in international festivals such as the Venice Biennale, Ultraschall Festival in Berlin, Musica Nova Helsinki, and IRCAM’s festival Agora.

Current projects include a Chamber Music America commission for Ekmeles (six voices and electronics), a new ensemble piece for the Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik for Ensemble Modern, and a new work for viola d’amore and electronics for Marco Fusi, to be premiered April 12th, 2017 at the Casa Giacinto Scelsi in Rome.

Articles by Christopher Trapani:

NewMusicBox October 7 2020 | By Christopher Trapani
Clouds and Clouds: Composing through the Fog of Depression

I’ve been clinically depressed for roughly as long as I’ve been writing music. It has naturally been a constant question as to how it would manifest itself in my music;...

NewMusicBox September 8 2008 | By Christopher Trapani
Pass That Bottle to Me

Gaudeamus Music Week comes to a close.

NewMusicBox September 5 2008 | By Christopher Trapani
The Nieuw and the Unexpected

Reporting live from the 2008 Gaudeamus Music Week activities.

NewMusicBox September 4 2008 | By Christopher Trapani
Cities on Water

A word about the spectacular venue where most Gaudeamus Music Week events take place: The Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ.

NewMusicBox September 3 2008 | By Christopher Trapani
Festivals Within Festivals

An annual gathering along the old docklands of the IJ signals the start of the cultural season.

NewMusicBox September 2 2008 | By Christopher Trapani
Send It to Amsterdam

This year marks my third visit to Amsterdam for the Gaudeamus Music Week, and it's become something of a end-of-summer ritual: two or three concerts a day filled with premiere...