George Tsontakis

George Tsontakis

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George Tsontakis is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

 and conductor
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble...


Tsontakis studied composition with Hugo Weisgall
Hugo Weisgall
Hugo David Weisgall was an American composer and conductor, known chiefly for his opera and vocal music compositions...

 and Roger Sessions
Roger Sessions
Roger Huntington Sessions was an American composer, critic, and teacher of music.-Life:Sessions was born in Brooklyn, New York, to a family that could trace its roots back to the American revolution. His mother, Ruth Huntington Sessions, was a direct descendent of Samuel Huntington, a signer of...

 at the Juilliard School
Juilliard School
The Juilliard School, located at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, United States, is a performing arts conservatory which was established in 1905...

 from 1974 to 1978, and later with Franco Donatoni
Franco Donatoni
Franco Donatoni was an Italian composer.Born in Verona, he started studying violin at the age of seven, and frequented the local Music Academy...

 at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
The Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia is one of the oldest musical institutions in the world, based in Italy.It is based at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome, and was founded by the papal bull, Ratione congruit, issued by Sixtus V in 1585, which invoked two saints prominent in Western...

 in Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

. His music has been performed and broadcast by major orchestras, chamber ensembles, and festivals throughout North and South America, Europe and Japan.

Tsontakis was honored with the "Academy Award" in 1995 from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was the fourth recipient of the coveted Ives Living Fellowship, in 2007. Pianist Stephen Hough
Stephen Hough
Stephen Andrew Gill Hough is a British-born classical pianist, composer and writer. He became an Australian citizen in 2005 and thus has dual nationality .-Biography:...

's recording of Tsontakis's "Ghost Variations" on Hyperion Records was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition, and was the only classical recording among Time magazine's 1998 Top Ten Recordings. Tsontakis received the Berlin Prize
Berlin Prize
The Berlin Prize is a residential fellowship at the Hans Arnhold Center, awarded by the American Academy in Berlin.- Fellows of the American Academy in Berlin :-References:*

 from the American Academy in Berlin
American Academy in Berlin
The American Academy in Berlin is a research and cultural institution in Berlin whose stated mission is to foster a greater understanding and dialogue between the people of the United States and the people of Germany.The American Academy was founded in September 1994 by a group of prominent...

 in 2002, and the University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award
Grawemeyer Award
The Grawemeyer Awards are five awards given annually by the University of Louisville in the state of Kentucky, United States. The prizes are presented to individuals in the fields of education, ideas improving world order, music composition, religion, and psychology...

 for his Violin Concerto No. 2 in 2005.

A proficient conductor of orchestral and choral music, Tsontakis has been a composer-in-residence with the Aspen Music Festival and conductor and the founding director of the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble at the Aspen Music School
Aspen Music Festival and School
The Aspen Music Festival and School, founded in 1949, is an internationally renowned classical music festival that presents music in an intimate, small-town setting...

, where he teaches composition. He was an assistant professor at the Brooklyn College
Brooklyn College
Brooklyn College is a senior college of the City University of New York, located in Brooklyn, New York, United States.Established in 1930 by the New York City Board of Higher Education, the College had its beginnings as the Downtown Brooklyn branches of Hunter College and the City College of New...

 Conservatory of Music, and has served on the faculty of Sarah Lawrence College
Sarah Lawrence College
Sarah Lawrence College is a private liberal arts college in the United States, and a leader in progressive education since its founding in 1926. Located just 30 minutes north of Midtown Manhattan in southern Westchester County, New York, in the city of Yonkers, this coeducational college offers...

. He is Distinguished Faculty, Composer-in-Residence of the Bard College Conservatory of Music
Bard College Conservatory of Music
The Bard College Conservatory of Music is a program of Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. Founded in 2005, the program is unique among music conservatories in the United States in that all undergraduate students are required to participate in a five-year dual-degree program, in which...

 in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. He was a a Weil fellow at Auburn University Montgomery
Auburn University Montgomery
Auburn University at Montgomery is a coeducational public university located in Montgomery, Alabama, USA. It is governed by the Auburn University Board of Trustees, but is not a branch campus of Auburn University. It was established by an act of the Alabama Legislature in 1967...


Tsontakis's music has been recorded by KOCH International, New World, and Opus One, and is published by Merion Music and Poco Forte Music.

In 2008, his Violin Concerto No. 2 was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Classical Contemporary Composition, but lost to John Corigliano's
John Corigliano
John Corigliano is an American composer of classical music and a teacher of music. He is a distinguished professor of music at Lehman College in the City University of New York.-Biography:...

Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan. He served as composer-in-residence with the Albany Symphony (2007 - 2012) as well as the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (2009-10).

External links