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.
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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.
Two Pieces for Solo Violin
Written for Emily Kalish, and premiered by her October 2013, Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Click HERE for video of the second movement of Duo for Clarinet and Marimba
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
3. Fling of Spring
I Must Study Politicks and War
Baritone voice, Trumpet, Trombone, Bass Clarinet
Text by John Adams Written for Loadbang.
1st performance December 2011
Trombone Quartet (in 3 movements)
1. Leap of Faith
Written for The Guidonian Hand
Nocturne for Solo Cello, a meditation
Premiered NYC, Tenri Cultural Institute, November, 2012, as part of a concert honoring Mario Davidovsky, sponsored by APNM.
for solo harp
(alternate version with Clarinet) (2009)
This recording is a sampled realization
fl,pno, string quartet
1st performance Oct 6, 2008, Cleveland Chamber Collective, Cleveland State University
dur. 15 min. Written for the Cleveland Chamber Collective. Available at 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
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
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
(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
(fl/cl/vln/vla/vc) dur. 13 min.
1st performance Wellesley Composers Conference, Efrain Guigui, conductor
(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
(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
(mezzo/pno) dur. 5 min.
1st performance Amy Zorn, mezzo, Amy Reich, pno, Greenwich House, NYC
(tape/dancers) dur. 20 mins
Commissioned by Bicycle Shop Dance Company 1st performance Bicycle Shop Dance Company Ohio Theater, NYC
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.
(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
(viola solo) dur. 5 mins.
1st performance James Bergin, New England Conservatory
(pno solo) dur. 12 mins.
1st performance New England Conservatory, Nicholas Underhill, pno.
Premiered by Emily Kalish, 8/2014, New York City. Written in honor of Mario Davidovsky's 80th birthday.
Premiered by Emily Kalish, October 2013, Stockbridge, MA. Additional performances: 2/2014, Williamstown, MA; 8/2014, New York City
A Song of Ruth
for baritone voice, bass clarinet, trumpet, trombone, and electronics. Premiered by loadbang, November, 2013
Electronic sounds. Premiere November 2012, NYC.
Written for Loadbang, and premiered by them December 2011
Written for The Guidonian Hand, and premiered by them July 2011.
In honor of Mario Davidovsky's 80th Birthday
James Bergin, conductor
New work for bass and electronics
For bassist Scott Worthington
Sextet for mixed instrumental unit
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
The Cleveland Chamber Collective
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.
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."
". . . 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."