Gary Philo, composer
Gary Philo

Gary Philo was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, and grew up in Yorktown Heights, NY, by way of Brooklyn, NY. He played trombone and guitar in school orchestra and band, as well as in folk, rock, and later, jazz bands. His works have been performed by many individuals and groups, including Mary Rowell, Geoffrey Burleson, Loadbang, the Guidonian Hand, Collage, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston, the Vermont Philharmonic, the Silesian Philharmonic, the Washington Square Contemporary Music Series Players, James Dunham, Nicholas Underhill, The Cleveland Chamber Collective, and others. He is a recipient of a Charles Ives Scholarship, awarded by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, has been commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts, and has received grants from Meet-the-Composer and CAP. He has also received fellowships to the Tanglewood Music Center where he studied with Hans Werner Henze, and the Composers Conference at Wellesley. Recordings include Spring Music for orchestra, available on MMC Recordings, his sextet Lech Lecha, recorded by the Cleveland Chamber Collective, and Three Pieces for Piano, recorded by Nicholas Underhill and available on Capstone Records. Mr. Philo serves on the board of the League of Composers/ISCM, is a member of the American Composers Alliance, Association for the Promotion of New Music, and BMI, and was a founding member of Composers in Red Sneakers, a Boston-based composers cooperative that produces concerts of their works and the works of other composers. He holds degrees from Berklee College of Music (BM), the New England Conservatory of Music (MM), where he studied composition with William Thomas McKinley and Columbia University (DMA), where his principal teachers were Mario Davidovsky, Jack Beeson, and Chou Wen-chung.

For a Bio/CV pdf, please click here.

SELECTED COMPOSITIONS

To listen, click on a title where you see this listen

A song of ruth

Written for loadbang. Baritone voice, bass clarinet, trumpet, trombone, electronics. First performance November 2013, Brooklyn, NY. Text freely adapted by Gary Philo from the Book of Ruth, 1st chapter.

loadbang

loadbang rehearsing "A Song of Ruth" November 2013

Two Pieces for Solo Violin

Written for Emily Kalish, and premiered by her October 2013, Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

 

Duo for Clarinet and Marimba listen

Written for Transient Canvas: Amy Advocat Clarinets, and Matt Sharrock, Marimba and Percussion. First performance September 27, 2012, Somerville, Mass.

 

Click HERE for video of the second movement of Duo for Clarinet and Marimba

Amy and Matt: Transient Canvas

Amy Advocat and Matt Sharrock performing the premiere of Duo for Clarinet and Marimba, at the Davis Square Theater, Somerville, Mass. September, 27, 2012

3 Pieces for Violin and Piano

Premiered June 4, 2012, on the Tribeca New Music Festival, by Mary Rowell, violin, and Geoffrey Burleson, piano

1. Blue City
2. Evening
3. Fling of Spring


Mary Rowell/Geoff Burleson

Geoffrey Burleson, piano, and Mary Rowell, violin, premiering Three Pieces for Violin and Piano, June 4, 2012, Tribeca New Music Festival, Roulette, Brooklyn.

 

 

I Must Study Politicks and War

Baritone voice, Trumpet, Trombone, Bass Clarinet
Text by John Adams Written for Loadbang.

1st performance December 2011

loadbang

Loadbang

Trombone Quartet (in 3 movements)

1. Leap of Faith

2. Swirl

3. Rumination

Written for The Guidonian Hand

Guidonian Hand

The Guidonian Hand performing Trombone Quartet, July 5, 2011

 

Nocturne for Solo Cello, a meditation

 

Serenade for a summer evening listen

electronic sounds
Premiered NYC, Tenri Cultural Institute, November, 2012, as part of a concert honoring Mario Davidovsky, sponsored by APNM.

 

 

 

Remembrance

for solo harp

 

 

 

Burst 2 listen

(alternate version with Clarinet) (2009)

This recording is a sampled realization

 

Burst

fl,pno, string quartet

1st performance Oct 6, 2008, Cleveland Chamber Collective, Cleveland State University

Cleveland Chamber Collective

The ensemble rehearsing Burst

 

Kickstart

solo piano

Lech Lecha

fl/pno/string quartet
dur. 15 min. Written for the Cleveland Chamber Collective. Available at Amazon.com

Spring Music

(for Orchestra) dur. 5.5 minutes 1st performance by the Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra, David Stock, conductor, Katowice, Poland. Available at MMC Recordings, and Amazon.com

Spring Music by Gary Philo manages to be showy while avoiding . . . more predictable approaches, opting instead for an unusual juxtaposition of Impressionist and Expressionist writing. Philo's aforementioned style mix is handled expertly well, somehow managing to let its two approaches coexist smoothly. And the work's structural sense is both expertly outlined and unusual.

— David Cleary , 21st Century Music

 

Three Pieces for Piano listen

(Click on the titles below to listen)
1st performance Weill Recital Hall, NYC, Nicholas Underhill, pno. Available on Capstone Records and Amazon.com

1. Tumble
2. Meditazione
3. Perambulate

Gary Philo's Three Pieces are compact musings on atmosphere and poetic gesture, with rhythmic surprises, sudden silences and lyrical sighs to keep the movements in arresting motion.

— Donald Rosenberg, Gramophone

Music for 15 Instruments

(fl/ob/cl/b.cl/hn/tpt/tbn/b.tbn/1 perc/pno/2vlns/vla/vc/cb) dur 14 mins.
1st performance Tanglewood Music Center, Marin Alsop, conductor

 

Sonata for Viola and Piano
(vla/pno) National Endowment Commission dur. 17 min.
1st performance Jordan Hall, Boston, Massachusetts. Marcus Thompson, vla; Judy Gordon, pno

Three Impromptus listen

(Click on the titles below to listen)
(fl/ob/cl/bsn/hn/tpt/tbn/perc/piano/vln/vla/vc/cb) dur. 9 mins.
1st performance, Wellesley Composers Conference, Efrain Guigui, conductor

1. Impromptu 1

2. Impromptu 2

3. Impromptu 3

 

Boomerang
(fl/cl/vln/vla/vc) dur. 13 min.
1st performance Wellesley Composers Conference, Efrain Guigui, conductor

 

 

 

String Trio listen
(vln/vla/vc) dur. 10 mins.
1st performance McMillin Theatre, NYC

Gary Philo's String Trio is a knotty, closely argued and not immediately prepossessing work in two movements. . .

— Tim Page, The New York Times

Sonatina for Viola Solo

Written for Marlow Fisher, viola

Killifish

(vln/vla/cb) dur. 11.mins.

Written for Mary Rowell, vln, Marlow Fisher, vla, Jonathan Storck, cb,

Three Dances for Solo Viola

dur. 9 min.

1st performance, Bloomington Indiana. Rebecca Henry, vla

 

Bagatelles and Adagio

(4 percussionists) dur. 11 mins.

1st performance Greenwich House, NYC Charles Descarfino, conductor

Fantasia For Violin Solo

dur 9 mins.

1st performance by Mary Rowell, McMillin Theatre

Two Songs

(mezzo/pno) dur. 5 min.

1st performance Amy Zorn, mezzo, Amy Reich, pno, Greenwich House, NYC

Summers End

(tape/dancers) dur. 20 mins

Commissioned by Bicycle Shop Dance Company 1st performance Bicycle Shop Dance Company Ohio Theater, NYC

Shemayim

(tape)

dur. 6 mins.

1st performance Ohio Theater, NYC

A Changing Life (2/2/2/2,/2/1/1/2 perc/hp/strings)

dur. 14 mins

1st performance Boston Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, Gunther Schuller,conductor Sanders Theatre, Cambridge, MA.

Spring Scenes

(alto sax/pno) dur. 10 mins.

Commisioned by Rick Stone 1st performance Boston MA. Rick Stone, alto sax, David Bieri, pno.

Three Pieces for Orchestra

(2/2/2/1/;1/2/0/0/; timp/; strings) dur. 10 mins.

Commissioned by the New England Conservatory Youth Orchestra 1st performance New England Conservatory Youth Orchestra, James Bergin, cond.

Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano

(cl/vln/pno) dur. 14 mins.

Commissioned by the Harvard-Radcliffe Chamber Ensemble 1st Performance Sanders Theater, Cambridge, MA

Two Pieces for Solo Piano

dur. 11 mins. 1st performance Composers in Red Sneakers

Nicholas Underhill, pno.

Outbursts and Reflections

(2/2/2/2/;4/2/3/1/; 1 perc/;harp/pno/strings) dur. 7 mins.

Commissioned by the Vermont Philharmonic 1st performance Montpelier, VT.

Out on Maneuvers

(fl/cl/vln/vc) dur. 10 mins. 1st performance Composers in Red Sneakers, Cambridge, MA

Two Pieces for Children's String Orchestra

dur. 6 mins.

1st performance Concord, MA. James Bergin, conductor

Black Elk

(viola solo) dur. 5 mins.

1st performance James Bergin, New England Conservatory

Winterset

(pno solo) dur. 12 mins.

1st performance New England Conservatory, Nicholas Underhill, pno.

 

 

NEWS

Performances, Current Projects, and Recordings

Performances

Two Pieces for Solo Violin

Premiered by Emily Kalish, October 2013, Stockbridge, MA.

 

A Song of Ruth

for baritone voice, bass clarinet, trumpet, trombone, and electronics. Premiered by loadbang, November, 2013

 

Serenade for a Summer Evening

Electronic sounds. Premiere November 2012, NYC.

 

Duo for Clarinet and Marimba

Written for Transient Canvas: Amy Advocat Clarinets, and Matt Sharrock, Marimba and Percussion. First performance September 27, 2012, Somerville, Mass.

Amy Advocat and Matt Sharrock

Transient Canvas: Amy Advocat, Clarinets, and Matt Sharrock, Marimba and Percussion

 

3 Pieces for Violin and Piano

Premiered at the Tribeca New Music Festival on June 4th, 2012. Written for Mary Rowell and Geoff Burleson.


I Must Study Politicks and War

Written for Loadbang, and premiered by them December 2011

 

Trombone Quartet

Written for The Guidonian Hand, and premiered by them July 2011.

 


Current Projects

New work for children's string orchestra

James Bergin, conductor

 

New work for bass and electronics

For bassist Scott Worthington

 

New work for Loadbang

will be premiered in November 2013 at Roulette

 

Two Pieces for Solo Violin

written for Emily Kalish and will be premiered October 27, Stockbridge MA.

 

Bagatelles for Orchestra

 

Supplication and Funk

for Solo Trombone
(A piece in 2 parts)

Written for William Lang

 

Sextet for mixed instrumental unit

 

Skirmishes for String Quartet

 

 

 

Recordings

 

Light and Sirius

Nicholas Underhill

Light and Sirius

available at Capstone Records

 

Three Pieces for Piano was written for Nicholas Underhill, who gave the first performance in Weill Recital Hall, NYC.

 

"Gary Philo's Three Pieces are compact musings on atmosphere and poetic gesture, with rhythmic surprises, sudden silences and lyrical sighs to keep the movements in arresting motion."

Donald Rosenberg, Gramophone

 

 

Lech Lecha

The Cleveland Chamber Collective

Debuts

available at Amazon.com

 

Lech Lecha was written for the Cleveland Chamber Collective.

 

The Cleveland Chamber Collective was founded in 1992 by Cleveland Orchestra members and friends. Their mission is to perform neglected works of the past and bring new music to the public. The group has commisioned several works, some of which are presented on this recording.

 

 

 

Orchestral Miniatures

Silesian Philharmonic

Orchestral Miniatures

Volume 5

available at Amazon.com

 

Reviews for Spring Music

 

From Fanfare (December 2000):

"Gary Philo's Spring Music is a surprisingly tough composition that celebrates springtime a la Stravinsky—that is, as a force to be reckoned with. A few introductory bars of Imipressionistic mood music disarm the listener and set him/her up perfectly for the excitement of something totally unexpected: a buffeting of propulsive, arch-chromatic sound. I like it."


From 21st Century Music, January 2003, volume 10, number 1


(David Cleary): "Spring Music by Gary Philo manages to be showy while avoiding . . . more predictable approaches, opting instead for an unusual juxtaposition of Impressionist and Expressionist writing. Philo's aforementioned style mix is handled expertly well, somehow managing to let its two approaches coexist smoothly. And the work's structural sense is both expertly outlined and unusual."

 

From ArkivMusic.com:

". . . Gary Philo's superb 'Spring Music' exhibits thematic and orchestral control that brings to mind the ease and aplomb of Richard Strauss at his best."