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Ted Hearne


About this Artist

TED HEARNE (b.1982, Chicago) is a composer, singer, bandleader and recording artist. He draws on a wide breadth of influences to create intense, personal, and multi-dimensional works.

The New York Times has praised Mr. Hearne for his "tough edge and wildness of spirit," and "topical, politically sharp-edged works." Pitchfork called Hearne's work "some of the most expressive socially engaged music in recent memory -- from any genre," and Alex Ross wrote in The New Yorker that Hearne's music "holds up as a complex mirror image of an information-saturated, mass-surveillance world, and remains staggering in its impact."

Hearne's Sound From the Bench, a work for choir, electric guitars and drums about corporate personhood setting texts from U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments, was a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize.

Hearne's oratorio The Source sets text from the Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs, along with words by Chelsea Manning (the U.S. Army private who leaked those classified documents to WikiLeaks). Directed by Daniel Fish, the original production was premiered to rave reviews at the 2014 BAM Next Wave Festival, and presented later at both LA Opera and San Francisco Opera. The New York Times called The Source "a 21st Century masterpiece.”

A ongoing collaboration pairs Hearne with legendary musician Erykah Badu, for whom he wrote an evening-length work combining new music with arrangements of songs from her 2008 album New Amerykah: Part One. Badu performed this music at BAM, Radio City Music Hall, and with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra with Hearne as conductor.

A charismatic vocalist, Hearne performs with Philip White as the vocal-electronics duo R WE WHO R WE, whose debut album (New Focus Recordings, 2013) was called “eminently, if weirdly, danceable and utterly gripping.” (Time Out Chicago). Other recent albums include The Source and Outlanders (New Amsterdam Records), the instrumental album Hazy Heart Pump featuring leading performers such as the Mivos Quartet, Ashley Bathgate and Saul Williams, and The Crossing's acclaimed recording of Sound From the Bench (Cantaloupe Music). His newest album Place, with Saul Williams, is available from New Amsterdam Records.

Ted’s works have been conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, John Adams and Gustavo Dudamel. Ted recently conducted the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the New York City Ballet Orchestra and appeared as a vocal soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra. He will present In Your Mouth, a evening-length solo vocal performance piece set to the poetry of Dorothea Lasky, at Carnegie Hall in 2021.