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Stefan Weisman

New York, NY      

Stefan Weisman is a composer living in New York City. Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times described his music as "personal, moody and skillfully wrought." When his song "Twinkie" was featured on the nationally syndicated program The Wendy Williams Show, the host said, "Very unique…You’re not going to hear opera like this anywhere else…Fabulous!"

In 2012, Inside Jersey Magazine selected him as one of twenty-one artists from New Jersey who are "breaking big." Among his commissions are works for Bang on a Can’s People’s Commissioning Program, Sequitur, the Minimum Security Composers Collective, the Empire City Men’s Choir with the Cosmopolitan Symphony Orchestra, the Battell Chapel Choir, and the Oregon Bach Festival Composers’ Symposium, which commissioned a piece in honor of George Crumb on the occasion of his 75th birthday. Other groups who have performed his work include the Miró String Quartet, So Percussion, the FLUX Quartet, Odd Appetite, the Locrian Chamber Players, the New Millennium Ensemble, the Third Angle Ensemble, the Yesaroun’ Duo, the Da Capo Chamber Players, Luna Nova, pianist Lisa Moore, flautist Patti Monson, mezzo-soprano Hai-Ting Chinn, male soprano Anthony Roth Costanzo, Newspeak, the NOW Ensemble, the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra conducted by Luis Garcia-Renart, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic conducted by Leon Botstein, and the New Jersey Symphony with conductor Paul Lustig Dunkel. His orchestral work The Bird Happens was selected to be included in the American Composers Orchestra’s 2005 Underwood New Music Readings, and was conducted by Steven Sloane.

His compositions include chamber, orchestral, theater, dance and choral pieces, and he has specialized in vocal works that explore edgy and compelling topics. His chamber opera Darkling, based on a book-length poem by Anna Rabinowitz, was commissioned by the American Opera Projects. It was included in the Guggenheim Museum’s "Works & Process" series, and premiered to great acclaim at the East 13th Street Theater. The piece was presented in the Lower East Side Performing Arts’ Op on Screen Festival, and at the German Consulate as part of the Friends of Freie Universität’s Jewish Documentary Film, Theater and Speaker Series. A touring version of Darkling previewed at New York City Opera’s VOX "On the Edge" Showcase and was then presented in Germany and Poland in 2007. It was released by Albany Records in November 2011. His one-act opera Fade, written with librettist David Cote, was commissioned by the British opera company Second Movement and premiered in London in 2008. It also had successful productions in Philadelphia, San Francisco and Brooklyn. He is currently developing an evening length opera, The Scarlet Ibis, at the HERE Arts Center.

His music has also been heard at Symphony Space, Merkin Concert Hall, the June in Buffalo festival, the Flea Theater, and a Bang on a Can Marathon Concert. He has participated in theater, dance and video collaborations at venues including the Knitting Factory, HERE, the Most Significant Bytes Multimedia Festival, and Barbès. His fellowships and residencies include New Dramatists, the MacDowell Colony, the Edward Albee Foundation, the Blue Mountain Center, and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. 

He is a recipient of awards from Meet the Composer, SCI, ASCAP, and the American Music Center. His choral work Light, light, light, light, light was the first-prize winner in the Roger Wagner Center’s Choral Composition Competition. His piece From Frankenstein won the Chicago Ensemble’s 2005 Discover America Competition. Restless Legs for the Bang on a Can All Stars was mentioned in the New York Times’ retrospective of 2007’s best new music. His work SuperSoft won the soundON Festival of Modern Music’s 2009 International competition.

He is a graduate of Bard College (Clair Leonard Scholar, Betsy Richards Memorial Scholar, BA `92) and Yale University (Bradley-Keeler Memorial Scholar, MM `97), and Princeton University (Naumberg Fellowship, MFA `03, PhD `11). His composition instructors have included David Lang, Joan Tower, Daron Hagen, Martin Bresnick, Jacob Druckman, Steven Mackey, Barbara White and Paul Lansky.

Presently, he is on the faculty of Bard College’s High School Early College in Queens, New York. He has also taught at Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program, the City College of New York, CUNY, and been a Lecturer in Music at Princeton University. He has also been the coordinator of both the Princeton University Composers’ Ensemble, and the Princeton University Composers’ Colloquia. Additionally, he produced the compact discs included in the 2006 ASCAP Deems Taylor award-winning book "Composers’ Voices from Ives to Ellington" (Yale University Press) by Vivian Perlis and Libby Van Cleve. His music is available on New Amsterdam Records and Albany Records.

Articles by Stefan Weisman:

Articles December 1 1999 | By Stefan Weisman
Making Conservatories Less Conservative

What American Conservatories Do To Spark Interest in New American Music.