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Bernard Rands


About this Artist

Through some ninety works composed for a wide range of performance genres, BERNARD RANDS is established as a major figure in contemporary music. The originality and distinctive character of his music have been variously described as “plangent lyricism” with a “dramatic intensity” and a “musicality and clarity of idea allied to a sophisticated and elegant technical mastery” – qualities he developed from his early studies with Dallapiccola and Berio in Italy.

Born in England in 1934, Rands emigrated to the United States in 1975, since when he has been honored by awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; the Guggenheim Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; the Barlow, Fromm, and Koussevitzky Foundations; the Pew Trust; and the Carey Trust, among others.

Recent commissions include orchestral works for the Suntory concert hall in Tokyo; for the New York Philharmonic’s 100th anniversary; the centenary of Carnegie Hall; the Los Angeles Philharmonic; the Philadelphia Orchestra; and the Internationale Bach Akademie, Stuttgart. Other recent commissions have resulted in works for the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, the Dale Warland Singers, Chanticleer, the Mendelssohn Quartet, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

Rands currently has commissions from the Boston Symphony Orchestra for a cello concerto for Rostropovitch in celebration of his seventieth birthday; from the Philadelphia Orchestra; the B.B.C. Symphony Orchestra; the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia; and Meet the Composer for a consortium of orchestras and soloists.

In addition to his own frequent appearances on the podium, Rands’ music has been conducted by many including Boulez, Berio, Dohnányi, Maderna, Marriner, Mehta, Muti, Ozawa, Rilling, Salonen, Sawallisch, Schiff, Schuller, Schwarz, Silverstein, Sinopoli, and Slatkin. Rands has been guest composer at many international festivals around the world and composer-in-residence at the Aspen and Tanglewood festivals. From 1989 to 1996 he was composer-in-residence with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Rands’ work Canti del Sole, premiered by Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic, was awarded the 1984 Pulitzer Prize in Music. His orchestral suite Le Tambourin won the 1986 Kennedy Center Friedheim Award.

In the academic world, Rands has held fellowships and professorships in the universities of Wales, York, Brasenose College Oxford, Princeton, Yale, the University of California, Boston University, and The Juilliard School. He is currently the Walter Bigelow Rosen Professor of Music and the Walter Channing Cabot Fellow at Harvard University.