Chester Biscardi’s music has been featured at the Gaudeamus Festival in Rotterdam, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in England, Moscow Autumn, Music Today-Japan in Tokyo, the Thailand Composition Festival in Bangkok, the Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors Festival, the North American New Music Festival in Buffalo, the Festival of New American Music in Sacramento, Piccolo Spoleto, the International Guitar Festival of Morelia, and the Bienal of São Paulo, Brazil. Performances of his music have also been sponsored by the American Composers Orchestra, the BBC-London, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Ensemble TIMF of Korea, the Gothia Percussion Ensemble of Sweden, the Houston Symphony, the National Flute Association, the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble, the Orchestra della Radiotelevisione Italiana in Rome, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, and UNESCO/International Music Council.
Mr. Biscardi’s catalog includes works for opera, chorus, voice and piano, orchestra, chamber ensembles, and solo piano, as well as incidental music for theater, dance, and television. His work is published by C. F. Peters, Merion Music, Inc. of Theodore Presser Company, and Biscardi Music Press; vocal music is distributed by Classical Vocal Reprints. Recordings appear on the Albany, Bridge, CRI (New World Records), Intim Musik (Sweden), New Albion, New Ariel, North/South Recordings, and Sept Jardins (Canada) labels. He is a Yamaha Artist.
Mr. Biscardi is a recipient of the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Academy Award in Music and a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Aaron Copland Award, fellowships from the Bogliasco Foundation, the Djerassi Foundation, the Japan Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, and the Rockefeller Foundation (Bellagio), as well as grants from the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard, the Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation, Meet the Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts.
Born in l948 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Mr. Biscardi received an M.A. in Italian Literature and an M.M. in Musical Composition from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Yale. He is Director of the Music Program at Sarah Lawrence College, where he was the first recipient of the William Schuman Chair in Music (1994-2007) and currently holds the Margot C. Bogart Distinguished Service Chair.
For more information, please visit www.chesterbiscardi.com
Current as of May 2009
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2007: Academy Award in Music, American Academy of Arts and Letters
2007: Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress Commission
2006: Bank of New York Teaching Excellence Award, Sarah Lawrence College
2005: The Bogliasco Foundation's Liguria Study Center for the Arts and Humanities Fellowship, Villa Orbiana & Villa Rincon, Bogliasco, Italy
2001: Aaron Copland Award, Copland House (residency for summer of 2002)
2000: New Ariel Recordings Piano Composition Competition, 2001, First Prize, for In Time's Unfolding, for piano
1999-2002: Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard Commission
1999: Aaron Copland Fund for Music Recording Grant, for Resisting Stillness
1999: The Bogliasco Foundation's Liguria Study Center for the Arts and Humanities Fellowship, Villa Orbiana & Villa Rincon, Bogliasco, Italy
1998: Hewlett-Mellon Grant
1998: Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust Recording Grant, for Resisting Stillness
1998: New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships in Music Composition
1997: Distinguished Alumni Award presented by the Board of Directors, GLB Alumni Council of the University of Wisconsin Alumni Association, in recognition of achievements as a composer and performer
1993: The Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Study and Conference Center Fellowship, Villa Serbelloni, Lago di Como, Italy
1990: New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships in Music Composition
1989-1990: The Japan Foundation Professional Fellowship
1989: The Djerassi Foundation Music/Composition Fellowship (Ridge Vineyards)
1988: Virgil Thomson Foundation Grant
1983: Creative Artists Public Service Program (CAPS) Fellowship in Music, New York
1982: Jerome Foundation Grant
1982: Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund for Music, Inc. Grant
1981-1987, 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1998: Meet the Composer Grants
1981, 1984, 1992, 1993, 1994-1995, 1998, 2000/4: MacDowell Colony Fellowships
1981: American Composers Alliance Recording Award, for Mestiere
1980: American Music Center Grant
1979-1980: John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in Music Composition
1979: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the Enrichment of the Humanities Grant
1977-1978 and 1980-1981: National Endowment for the Arts Composer/Librettist Fellowship Grants
At the Still Point for Orchestra (1977) -- 15'
3 2 2 2 - 2 2 2 1; Timp. 3Perc. 2Pno. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Premiere Information: 17 December 1977, Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma della Radiotelevisione Italiana / Massimo Pradella, conductor; RAI Auditorium Rome, Italy
Additional Information: First American Performance: 15 November 1980
Houston Symphony Chamber Orchestra / C William Harwood, coductor, Stokowski Legacy Series: St. Luke Methodist Church, Houston, TX
Full Score - Large (#446-41074)
Mestiere for Solo Piano (1979) -- 5'
Commission Information: Tulane University for the Festival of Piano Music, 1979, under a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the Enrichment of the Humanities
Premiere Information: 4 March 1979, Robert Weinrich, piano, Festival of Piano Music: Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Piano Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (1983) -- 20'
Solo Pno.; 2(Picc.) 2(E.H.) 2(B.Cl.) 2 - 4 2 2 1; 4Perc. Hp. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Commissioned by Charles DeCarlo for his wife, Dorothy
Premiere Information: 16 April 1985, Yvar Mikhashoff, piano / Alan Heatherington, conductor / The University of Buffalo Philharmonia
North American New Music Festival, Buffalo, NY
Tartini for Violin and Piano (1972) -- 7'
Premiere Information: 28 October 1973, Thomas Moore, violin (Pro Arte Quartet) / David Bishop, piano, Mills Hall, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Tenzone for 2 Flutes and Piano (1975) -- 9'
Premiere Information: 8 & 11 December 1975, Robert Dick and Keith Underwood, flutes / Chester Biscardi, piano, Sprague Hall, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Additional Information: to Toru Takemitsu
Tight-Rope a chamber opera in nine uninterrupted scenes (1985) -- 90'
2(+Picc.) E.H. 1(+B.Cl.) 1 Sop.Sax.(+Ten.Sax.) - 2 1 1 0; 3Perc. Hp. Pno. Str. (min. 3-3 -3-4-4, or Red. Version: 1 1 1 1 1
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Commissioned by the University of Wisconsin-Madison (School of Music).
Premiere Information: 5-26 October 1985, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music and Department of Theatre and Drama, Carol Rennebohm Theater, Music Hall
Additional Information: Libretto by Henry Butler
Piano/Vocal Score (#417-41028)
Traverso for Solo Flute and Piano (1987) -- 7'
Commission Information: Commissioned by the National Flute Association to be featured at the 1987 Young Artists International Flute Competitions in St. Louis.
Premiere Information: August 1987, National Flute Association Competitions in St. Louis
Additional Information: World Premiere: 8 May 1988, Göran Marcusson, flute / Joakim Kallhed, piano, Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall, New York, NY
Trio for Mixed Ensemble (1976) -- 13'
Commission Information: Commissioned by the Cambium Trio under a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board and the National Endowment for the Arts, with a matching grant from the University of Wisconsin, 1976
Premiere Information: 25 May 1977, Massimo Coen, violin / Giancarlo Mori, violincello / Antonello Neri, piano (Nuova Consonanza), American Academy in Rome, Rome, Italy
"Chester Biscardi's 'Mestiere' is a short, sonorous work of pleasing elegance."
-John Henken, Los Angeles Times
"It offers a remarkable integration of diverse sonorities into a compelling structure. It all grows out of a striking beginning, and the use of the piano's pedals is very telling. All in all a sensible, sensitive work."
"...delicate yet powerful. diverse sonorities integrated into a compelling structure."
-Maurice Hinson, Guide to the Pianist's Repertoire
Trio for Mixed Ensemble
"They are strikingly beautiful compositions that employ delicate textural and timbral effects. Structurally they grow from carefully shaped fragments into phrases and longer lyric gestures that relate sectionally."
-Tom Cleman, MLA Notes
"...elegant sonic strands interweaving between the flutes with periodic interjections from the piano…"
-Robert Carl, Fanfare
"The composer shows himself to be talented and in control of his medium, having offered both pianist and flutist a challenging composition."
-Alfred W. Cochran, Notes
"...quite a showpiece, mingling boogie-woogie rhythms with virtuoso atonality, but still finding room for bittersweet lyricism."
-Scott Cantrell, The Dallas Morning News
"Biscardi is exploratory, concerned with sonics and sonorities rather than melodies and chords, but just as dramatically expressive — perhaps more so by virtue of its avoidance of cliché."
-Charles Shere, The Oakland Tribune
"...a mystical excursion into sound and space."
-Rad Bennett, Washington Tribune
"...Biscardi writes music with a signature vividness and intensity that seems interestingly to spring from a basically lyrical temperament — it's music that can be active and even disjunct from one moment to the next, but the overall effect is one of directed, sustained flow. The registral and geographical arrangement made for interesting interplay as the material ebbed and flowed between the various groups, or the groups themselves combined. Its best moment was an exquisite middle section in which the music slowly and inevitably phased itself out, a lovely exercise in suspended time."
-Linda Sanders, The Soho News
"…precise and stimulating…"
-Virgilio Celletti, Avvenire
"Here one heard at work experienced craftsmanship. The play of timbral contrasts and durational values had an appealing, suggestive quality."
-Dino Villatico, La repubblica
Tight-Rope a chamber opera in nine uninterrupted scenes
"It was a hit all the way. Tight-Rope is relatively short — just 90 minutes — but long in psychological power. The Biscardi score is full of grace, a pleasure to listen to, both in the vocal line and in the orchestration that supports it."
-Wisconsin State Journal
"The elegant, vividly orchestrated music reinforces the characters' most human qualities."
-The Milwaukee Journal
"The vocal lines are undergirded with a vivid instrumental score that illuminates the characters' inner motions.
Biscardi and Butler also challenge the members of the audience to begin their own quiet journey to a part of themselves where their own separate identities - lover, striving saint, fool - can be embraced and accepted into the unity of a single personality, a personality of exciting, ever challenging diversity and limitless possibilities."
-James Chute, Musical America