is a composer of contemporary classical music
Contemporary classical music can be understood as belonging to the period that started in the mid-1970s with the retreat of modernism. However, the term may also be employed in a broader sense to refer to all post-1945 modern musical forms.-Categorization:...
, film scores and experimental music
Experimental music refers, in the English-language literature, to a compositional tradition which arose in the mid-20th century, applied particularly in North America to music composed in such a way that its outcome is unforeseeable. Its most famous and influential exponent was John Cage...
Education and early career
Bresnick was born and raised in the Bronx
The Bronx is the northernmost of the five boroughs of New York City. It is also known as Bronx County, the last of the 62 counties of New York State to be incorporated...
, and is a graduate of New York City's specialized High School of Music and Art. He was educated at the University of Hartford (B.A. '67), Stanford University (M.A. '68, D.M.A. '72), and the Akademie für Musik, Vienna ('69-'70), and studied composition with John Chowning
John M. Chowning is an American composer, musician, inventor, and professor best known for his work at Stanford University and his invention of FM synthesis while there.-Contribution:...
, Gyorgy Ligeti
György Sándor Ligeti was a composer of contemporary classical music. Born in a Hungarian Jewish family in Transylvania, Romania, he briefly lived in Hungary before becoming an Austrian citizen.-Early life:...
and Gottfried von Einem
Gottfried von Einem was an Austrian composer. He is known chiefly for his operas influenced by the music of Stravinsky and Prokofiev, as well as by jazz. He also composed pieces for piano, violin and organ.-Biography:...
. He went on to teach at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music
San Francisco Conservatory of Music, formerly the California Conservatory of Music, founded in 1917, is a music school, with an enrollment of about 400 students. It was launched by Ada Clement and Lillian Hodgehead in the remodeled home of Lillian's parents on Sacramento Street. It was called the...
, Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...
and the Yale School of Music
The Yale School of Music is one of the twelve professional schools at Yale University and one of the premier music conservatories in the world....
As a professor at Yale
RapidMiner, formerly YALE , is an environment for machine learning, data mining, text mining, predictive analytics, and business analytics. It is used for research, education, training, rapid prototyping, application development, and industrial applications...
, he has been a widely influential teacher of contemporary composition. In 2006, he was elected to the membership of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, an organization that bestowed their first Charles Ives Living Award on him in 1998. Bresnick's work has also earned him many prizes over the years, including a Fulbright Fellowship, the Rome Prize
The Rome Prize is an American award made annually by the American Academy in Rome, through a national competition, to 15 emerging artists and to 15 scholars The Rome Prize is an American award made annually by the American Academy in Rome, through a national competition, to 15 emerging artists...
, two National Endowment of the Arts grants and an Ancona Prize for his 1979 composition "Conspiracies".
His compositions tend to be concise and direct in expression. Most of them are chamber music
Chamber music is a form of classical music, written for a small group of instruments which traditionally could be accommodated in a palace chamber. Most broadly, it includes any art music that is performed by a small number of performers with one performer to a part...
compositions, including three string quartets (1968, 1984, 1992), a piano trio (1988), *** for clarinet, viola and piano (1997), and music for diverse ensembles. Many of his works, ranging from solo piano to chamber and orchestral settings, were composed as a cycle called Opere della Musica Povera, or Works of a Poor Music.
His music has been recorded by Cantaloupe Music, Composers Recordings Incorporated, Centaur, New World Records, Artifact Music and Albany Records and is published by Carl Fischer Music (NY), Bote and Bock, Berlin and CommonMuse Music Publishers, New Haven.
As a composer for films, he has contributed many scores for documentary films, including Arthur and Lillie (1975) and The Day After Trinity
The Day After Trinity is a 1980 documentary film directed and produced by Jon H. Else in association with KTEH public television in San Jose, California. The film tells the story of J...
(1980), both of which were nominated for Academy Awards
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...
. He also composed the score for the award-winning, PBS-broadcast documentary Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet
Muhammad: Legacy of the Prophet is a PBS documentary film about the life of Islamic prophet Muhammad based on historical records and on the stories of living American Muslims who call Muhammad the Messenger of God...
, produced by Unity Productions Foundation
Bresnick's notable students include Michael Gordon
Michael Gordon is an American composer and co-founder of the Bang on a Can festival and ensemble. His music is associated with the genres of totalism and post-minimalism.-Early life:...
, David Lang
David Lang is an American composer living in New York City. He was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Music for The Little Match Girl Passion.-Biography:...
, Julia Wolfe
Julia Wolfe is an American composer. She was born in Philadelphia, holds degrees from the University of Michigan, Princeton and Yale, and currently works in New York. Wolfe's music is rhythmically vigorous and often clangorously dissonant...
(co-founders of Bang on a Can
Bang on a Can is a multi-faceted classical music organization based in New York City. It was founded in 1987 by three American composers who remain its artistic directors: Julia Wolfe, David Lang, and Michael Gordon...
), Evan Ziporyn
Evan Ziporyn is an American composer of post-minimalist music and music for Balinese gamelans. He plays the clarinet, bass clarinet, saxophone, and metallophone, borrowing from classical music, avant-garde, and jazz...
, Kevin Puts
Kevin Matthew Puts is an American composer.-Life:Puts studied composition and piano at the Eastman School of Music and Yale University, earning the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Eastman. Among his teachers were Samuel Adler, Jacob Druckman, David Lang, Christopher Rouse, Joseph Schwantner,...
, Marc Mellits
Marc Mellits is an American composer and musician.Mellits was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He studied at the Eastman School of Music from 1984 to 1988, the Yale School of Music from 1989 to 1991, Cornell University from 1991 to 1996, and at Tanglewood in the summer of 1997...
, Christopher Theofanidis, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez
Carlos Sánchez-Gutiérrez is a Latin-American composer and teacher. He currently resides near Rochester, New York....
and Michael Torke
Michael Torke is an American composer who writes music influenced by jazz and minimalism. Sometimes described as a post-minimalist, his most postminimal piece is Four Proverbs, in which the syllable for each pitch is fixed and variations in the melody produce streams of nonsense words. Other works...
- 2010: Every Thing Must Go. Albany Records.
- Includes Martin Bresnick: Willie's Way" (Performed by Lisa Moore
Lisa Moore is an internationally renowned pianist with a diverse and eclectic mix of musical influences. She has been crowned "New York's queen of avant-garde piano" and a "visionary" by The New Yorker magazine; the New York Times claims "her energy is illuminating" and The American Record Guide...
- Includes Martin Bresnick: Falling (Performed by Abigail Nims and Wei-yi Yang)
- Includes Martin Bresnick: Ballade (Performed by Ashley Bathgate and Lisa Moore)
- Includes Martin Bresnick: Three Choral Songs (Performed by the Yale Camerata)
- Includes Martin Bresnick: Every Thing Must Go (Performed by the Prism Saxophone Quartet)
- 2006: The Essential Martin Bresnick. Cantaloupe Records.
- Includes Martin Bresnick: String Quartet #2 "Bucephalus" (Performed by the Flux Quartet)
- Includes Martin Bresnick: Trio for piano, violin, and violoncello (Performed by the Jupiter Trio)
- Includes Martin Bresnick: The Bucket Rider (Performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars)
- Includes Martin Bresnick: BE JUST! (Performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars)
- Includes Martin Bresnick: For the Sexes: The Gates of Paradise (DVD: Performed by Lisa Moore)
- 2005: Martin Bresnick: My 20th Century. New World Records.
- Includes Martin Bresnick: Grace
- Includes Martin Bresnick: Tent of Miracles
- Includes Martin Bresnick: Songs of the Mouse People
- Includes Martin Bresnick: Fantasia on a Theme by Willie Dixon
- Includes Martin Bresnick: My Twentieth Century
- 2003: High Art: Chamber Music for Solo Flute. Albany Records.
- Includes Martin Bresnick: High Art
- 2000: Martin Bresnick: Works of a Poor Music. CRI.
- Includes Martin Bresnick: Tucket
- Includes Martin Bresnick: Follow Your Leader
- Includes Martin Bresnick: Pigs & Fishes
- Includes Martin Bresnick: New Haven
- Includes Martin Bresnick: Woodstock
- Includes Martin Bresnick: Angelus Novus
- Includes Martin Bresnick: The Bucket Rider!
- Includes Martin Bresnick: BE JUST!
- Includes Martin Bresnick: ***
- Includes Martin Bresnick: The Dream of the Lost Traveller
- Includes Martin Bresnick: Pine Eyes
- Includes Martin Bresnick: Bird as Prophet
- 2000: Conspirare: Chamber Music for Solo Flute. CRI.
- Includes Martin Bresnick: Conspiracies
- 1995: Martin Bresnick: Music for Strings. CRI.
- Includes Martin Bresnick: String Quartet No. 2 "Bucephalus"'
- Includes Martin Bresnick: Wir Weben, Wir Weben
- Includes Martin Bresnick: B.'s Garlands
- Includes Martin Bresnick: String Quartet No. 3
- 1995: Long Distance. CRI.
- Includes Martin Bresnick: Bag O' Tells
- 1994: The Monticello Trio: Bresnick, Ives and Shatin. CRI.
- Includes Martin Bresnick: Trio
- 1993: CDCM Computer Music Series Vol. 2. Centaur Records.
- Includes Martin Bresnick: Lady Neil's Dumpe
- 1992: New York Woodwind Quintet
The New York Woodwind Quintet is an ensemble-in-residence at the Juilliard School in New York City, originally appointed in 1987. At Juilliard, the members of the New York Woodwind Quintet present seminars each year for student woodwind ensembles, give regular coachings, and perform.The quintet's...
Plays Bresnick, Powell, Roseman, Shapey. New World Records.
- Includes Martin Bresnick: Just Time