> contact us > mailing list
> employment > our history
> privacy policy > returns policy
Home > Composers > Composer Gallery > Composer Information
site search
GEORGE TSONTAKIS

GEORGE TSONTAKIS

Works

Recordings

Reviews


In December, 2006, George Tsontakis was named the fourth recipient of the Charles Ives Living by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Thus, in the space of two years, Tsontakis has been awarded two of composition’s richest prizes, since his Violin Concerto No. 2 also won the 2005 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award. This celebrated international composition award gives deserved recognition to a composer who already enjoys a global career. Other previous awards include the American Academy’s award for lifetime achievement in 1995; and in 2002, Tsontakis spent several months at the American Academy in Berlin as a result of the 2002 Berlin Prize (Alberto Vilar Fellowship). He also served as the first Composer-in-Residence with the Oxford Philomusica (England) from 1998-2002.

Mr. Tsontakis's catalogue continues to grow dramatically as prominent orchestras and musicians commission and record new works. In recent seasons, his works have been heard with great frequency in concerts throughout the world (including dozens in Europe), with over 100 performances of his major works in the 2006-2007 season alone. Spring 2007 saw the premieres of his Naumburg-commissioned Midnight Rain song cycle for Sari Gruber and Clair de Lune by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Performances in recent years have included the premieres of his Third Piano Quartet (Opus One Quartet), his Fifth String Quartet (Cypress Quartet), and a Piano Concerto, Man of Sorrows (Stephen Hough and the Dallas Symphony), as well as performances by the Chicago, American, Albany, Jerusalem and Oregon Symphonies, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Athens State Orchestra. Pianist Stephen Hough performed Mr. Tsontakis’s epic Ghost Variations (nominated for a Grammy for Best Composition) at the 2006 Salzburg Festival and on the Paris-Louvre Series.

Mr. Tsontakis’s music consistently enjoys performances by the world’s most prestigious orchestras, and in some of the world’s most vaunted concert halls. The Millennium season alone brought performances to a dozen European countries in such venues as Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Berlin’s Philharmonic Hall, London’s Queen Elizabeth and Wigmore Halls, Oxford’s Sheldonian, Radio France, Auditorium Bank de Luxembourg, Athen’s Megaron and Oslo’s Gamle Logen. In the late 1990s, six CDs representing his works were released, including his acclaimed Four Symphonic Quartets with James DePreist and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo on the KOCH label, and Stephen Hough’s monumental Hyperion recording of the Ghost Variations, nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary Classical Composition, and the only classical recording cited in TIME magazine’s 1998 Top Ten Recordings. Two recordings of Mr. Tsontakis’s piano chamber music were released on KOCH International Classics in November, 2004, featuring the Broyhill Chamber Ensemble and Da Camera of Houston. Three all-Tsontakis orchestral CDs have been or will soon be released, including a Hyperion disc of his Man of Sorrows piano concerto and KOCH CDs featuring the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Albany Symphony.

The Grawemeyer Award-winning Violin Concerto No. 2 was written for violinist Steven Copes and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and was premiered in 2003. Other recent premieres have included a percussion concerto, Mirologhia (2001), for Evelyn Glennie, with the National Symphony at Carnegie Hall, and a horn concerto, Shiver (2002), for soloist David Jolley in Santa Fe; as well as October, a work for the Baltimore Symphony; he wrote Cathedral on a commission from the Aspen Music Festival to inaugurate the festival’s acclaimed Benedict Music Tent in 2000, as well as a violin concerto for Cho-Liang Lin (Violin Concerto No. 1), premiered with the Oregon and Albany Symphonies. The piano concerto Man of Sorrows, for Stephen Hough with the Dallas Symphony, was premiered under the direction of Andrew Litton in September, 2005. Mr. Tsontakis has composed works for the American, Blair, Colorado and Emerson string quartets, Da Camera of Houston, the American Brass Quintet, Orpheus, flutist Ransom Wilson, violinist Glenn Dicterow, violist Lawrence Dutton with pianist Misha Dichter, the New York Virtuoso Singers, the Broyhill Chamber ensemble, the Aspen Wind Quintet, Aureole and numerous American orchestras and ensembles.

Mr. Tsontakis has twice been a winner of Kennedy Center Awards — in 1989 for String Quartet No. 4 and in 1992 for the orchestral work Perpetual Angelus. He studied composition with Roger Sessions at Juilliard and conducting with Jorge Mester, and has directed the Riverside Orchestra and the Metropolitan Greek Chorale. A faculty member of the Aspen Music School since 1976, he was the founding director of the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble from 1991 until 1998, and is Composer-in-Residence at the Aspen Music Festival. Mr. Tsontakis will be the featured composer-in-residence for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in 2008-09, where he will write a work to commemorate the reopening of Alice Tully Hall. He served as Composer-in-Residence with the Music from Angel Fire festival in summer, 2005, and in September of that year, he began a 3-year Meet the Composer residency with the Albany Symphony. He is Distinguished Composer-in-Residence at Bard College.

Mr. Tsontakis’s music has been recorded on the Hyperion, INNOVA, New World, CRI, KOCH International and Opus One labels and is published exclusively by Theodore Presser.

Current as of November 2009

View scores here (roll over to view score title):



Works

Chamber Ensembles and Instrumental Solos | Choral and Vocal | Orchestra | Orchestra with Chorus and Soloists




Chamber Ensembles and Instrumental Solos


Bagatelle for Solo Piano (1978) -- 7'
Published: #140-40073
Premiere Information: John Cheek, Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, New York, NY, April, 1993
Recordings
Reviews


Bagatelles Piano Quartet No. 1 (1997) -- 15'
Published: #144-40412
Commission Information: In memory of Dr. Thomas P.K. Lim
Premiere Information: Lim-Dutton Piano Quartet, Joselyn Museum, Omaha, NE, August 3, 1997
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Full Score - Large (#144-40412S)


Birdwind Quintet (1983) -- 20'
Published: #144-40213
Commission Information: Aspen Wind Quintet and the Bardavon Theater
Premiere Information: Aspen Wind Quintet, Poughkeepsie, NY, July 19, 1983

Available Separately:

Set of parts (#144-40213P)
Full Score - Large (#144-40213S)


Brass Quintet (1984) -- 27'
Commission Information: Nonesuch Records
Premiere Information: American Brass Quintet, Carnegie Recital Hall, New York, NY, April 19, 1984
Available From Composer


Dust for Horn Trio (1998) -- 28'
Published: #144-40404
Commission Information: Fontana Concert Society
Premiere Information: Fontana Concert Society, David Jolley, horn, Nick Danielson, violin and Paul Nitsch, piano, Fontana Music Festival, Kalamazoo, MI, April 17, 1999

Available Separately:

Full Score - Large (#144-40404S)


Eclipse for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano (1995) -- 24'
Published: #144-40280
Commission Information: Music In The Mountains Festival
Premiere Information: New Paltz, NY, July 15, 1995
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Set of parts (#144-40280P)
Full Score - Large (#144-40280S)


Fanfare for Six Horns and Tuba (1996) -- 4'
Published: #144-40308
Commission Information: National Symphony Orchestra
Premiere Information: National Symphony Orchestra, Siân Edwards, conductor, for the 25th anniversary of Kennedy Center, Washington, DC, January 18, 1996

Available Separately:

Set of parts (#144-40308P)
Full Score - Large (#144-40308S)


Fantasy for Viola and Piano (1976) -- 7'
Premiere Information: Judson Griffin, viola and Susan Teicher, piano, New York, NY, March 12, 1976
Available From Composer


Fervore for Piccolo and Piano (1992) -- 7'
Published: #144-40233
Commission Information: Susan Glaser
Premiere Information: Susan Glaser, piccolo and Colette Valentine, piano, Weill Recital Hall, New York, NY, May 1, 1992
Recordings


Gemini for Horn, Violin, Cello and Piano (1996) -- 16'
Published: #144-40397
Commission Information: North Country Chamber Players
Premiere Information: North Country Chamber Players, Concord, NH, October 26, 1996

Available Separately:

Full Score - Study (#144-40397S)


Ghost Variations for Solo Piano (1991)
Published: #440-40023
Commission Information: Fromm Music Foundation
Premiere Information: by Stephen Hough, Cleveland, OH, April 7, 1998
Recordings
Reviews


Heartsounds Quintet for Piano and Strings (1990) -- 31'
Vln. Vla. Vcl. Cb. Pno.
Published: #144-40212
Commission Information: New Hampshire State Council on the Arts
Premiere Information: the Apple Hill Chamber Players, NH, April 20, 1991
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Set of parts (#144-40212P)
Full Score - Large (#144-40212S)


Meditations At Perigee for Piano and Six Players (1997) -- 22'
Solo Pno.; Cl. Hn. Vln. Vla. Vcl. Cb.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Da Camera of Houston, Readers’ Digest, Meet the Composer and five other groups
Premiere Information: Da Camera, TX, May 2, 1997
Recordings
Reviews


Mercurical Etudes for Solo Flute (1988) -- 14'
Commission Information: Cape and Islands Festival
Premiere Information: Ransom Wilson, Cape Cod Synagogue, Falworth, MA, August 8, 1988
Available From Composer


Midnight Rain for Soprano and Piano
Available From ComposerReviews


Piano Quartet No. 2 (1999) -- 20'
Published: #144-40403
Premiere Information: Members of the Broyhill Chamber Ensemble, Cape and Islands Chamber Music Festival, Cape Cod, MA, August 3, 1999.
Recordings
Reviews


Requiescat for Viola and Piano (1996) -- 9'
Published: #144-40399
Commission Information: In memory of Bernard Milofsky
Premiere Information: Lawrence Dutton, viola and Misha Dichter, piano, Harris Hall, Aspen, CO, August 10, 1996
Reviews


Sarabesque for Piano
Available From ComposerRecordings
Reviews


String Quartet No. 1 "The Mother’s Hymn" for Mezzo-soprano and String Quartet (1980) -- 10'
Available From Composer


String Quartet No. 2 "Emerson" (1983) -- 28'
Not yet released (in prep: #144-40208)
Commission Information: Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Premiere Information: Emerson String Quartet, New York, NY, April 29, 1984
Reviews

Available Separately:

Set of parts (#144-40208P)
Full Score - Large (#144-40208S)


String Quartet No. 3 "Coraggio" (1986) -- 23'
Published: #144-40209
Commission Information: NEA Consortium Commission for the Blair and Colorado Quartets
Premiere Information: Blair Quartet, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, July 26, 1986
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Set of parts (#144-40209P)
Full Score - Large (#144-40209S)


String Quartet No. 4 "Beneath Thy Tenderness of Heart" (1988) -- 29'
Published: #144-40210
Commission Information: Chamber Music America
Premiere Information: American String Quartet, 92nd Street Y, New York, NY, January 17, 1989
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Set of parts (#144-40210P)
Full Score - Large (#144-40210S)


The Past, the Passion for 14 Players (1987) -- 16'
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Merkin Hall
Premiere Information: Music Today, Gerard Schwarz, conductor, New York, NY, March 4, 1987
Reviews

Available Separately:

Full Score - Large (#446-41152)


Three Mood Sketches Second Wind Quintet (1989) -- 15'
Not yet released (in prep: #144-40211)
Commission Information: Mary Flagler Cary Trust
Premiere Information: Aspen Wind Quintet, November 22, 1989, Leningrad (St. Petersburg), USSR (Russia)
Recordings
Reviews

Available Separately:

Set of parts (#144-40211P)
Full Score - Large (#144-40211S)


Three Sighs, Three Variations for Violin and Piano (1981) -- 11'
Published: #144-40199
Premiere Information: Sung-Ju Lee, violin and Steven Lazarus, piano, Colbert College, CA, September 25, 1981
Reviews



Choral and Vocal


Astyanax for Tenor or Soprano and Piano
Available From Composer


Byzantium Kanon for Chorus and Brass Quintet (1986) -- 10'
Premiere Information: Metropolitan Greek Chorale and the American Brass Quintet, Merkin Hall, New York, NY, June 1, 1986
Available From Composer


Five Choral Sketches on "Is Aghios" for Chorus and Clarinet Obbligato (1984) -- 20'
Published: #342-40163
Premiere Information: Metropolitan Greek Chorale, David Krakauer, clarinet, Alice Tully Hall, New York, NY, May 22, 1984


Ithaka for a cappella Chorus (2000) -- 5'30"
Published: #342-40189
Commission Information: Ithaca College Choir
Premiere Information: Ithaca College Choir, Ford Hall, Ithaca, NY, November 11, 2000


Lullaby of Crete for Soprano, Flute, Viola and Harp (1999) -- 3'30"
Available From Composer


Rima for Mezzo-soprano, Clarinet and Strings
Available From Composer


Rossetti Nursery Rhymes
Published: #342-40184


Three Byzantine Hymns -- 16'
SATB Chorus; 2Tpt. Hn. Tbn. B.Tbn.(Tu.)
Available from the Presser Rental Library



Orchestra


Fantasia Habanera (1984) -- 12'
3 3 3 3 - 4 2 3 0; Timp. Perc. Pno. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Premiere Information: Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, David Zinman, conductor, Baltimore, MD, May 18, 1986
Additional Information: Originally part of Five Sighs and a Fantasy


Five Sighs and a Fantasy (1984) -- 20'
3 3 3 3 - 4 2 3 0; Timp. Perc. Pno. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Premiere Information: American Composers Orchestra, Larry Newland, conductor, New York, NY, October 20, 1984
Reviews


Four Symphonic Quartets a Symphonic Cycle
Reviews

The Dove Descending (from the Four Symphonic Quartets Cycle)

Other Echoes (from the Four Symphonic Quartets Cycle)

Perpetual Angelus (from the Four Symphonic Quartets Cycle)

Winter Lightning (from the Four Symphonic Quartets Cycle)


Let the River Be Unbroken for Orchestra and Optional Narration (1994) -- 15'
3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 2 2 - 4 2 3 1; Perc. Hp. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Aztec Foundation, for the Alexandria Symphony
Premiere Information: Without narration: Alexandria Symphony, Kim Allen Kluge, conductor, May 1, 1994. With narration: JoAnn Falletta, conductor, Music in the Mountains, New Paltz, NY, July 29, 1995
Reviews


October -- 20'
3(Picc. A.Fl.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) - 4 3 3 1; Timp. 2Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Premiere Information: Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, James DePreist, conductor, Baltimore, MD, March 15, 2001
Recordings


Overtura Vera (1988) -- 10'
2 2 2 2 - 4 2 3 0; Timp. Perc. Hp. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Charleston Symphony
Premiere Information: Charleston Symphony, David Stahl, conductor, Charleston, SC, January 21, 1989


Pandora’s Box for Narrators, Orchestra and Chamber Ensemble
Available From Tales & Scales, Inc.


Perpetual Angelus (from the Four Symphonic Quartets Cycle) (1992) -- 15'
Part of Four Symphonic Quartets A Symphonic Cycle
2 2 2 2 - 4 2 1 0; Timp. Perc. Hp. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Tuscaloosa Symphony
Premiere Information: Tuscaloosa Symphony, Ransom Wilson, conductor, Tuscaloosa, AL, April 27, 1992
Recordings


The Dove Descending (from the Four Symphonic Quartets Cycle) (1995) -- 15'
Part of Four Symphonic Quartets A Symphonic Cycle
3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) - 4 3 3 1; Timp. 3Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Pasadena Symphony
Premiere Information: Pasadena Symphony, Jorge Mester, conductor, Pasadena, CA, October 14, 1995
Recordings


To the Sowers of the Seed (1989) -- 6'
2 2 3 2 - 4 3 3 1; Perc. Hp. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: For the 40th Anniversary of the Aspen Music Festival
Premiere Information: Aspen Chamber Symphony, Composer conducting, Aspen, CO, August 18, 1989


Winter Lightning (from the Four Symphonic Quartets Cycle) (1993) -- 15'
Part of Four Symphonic Quartets A Symphonic Cycle
3 3 3 3 - 3 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno./Cel. Hp. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Koussevitzky Foundation
Premiere Information: Seattle Symphony, Gerard Schwarz, conductor, Seattle, WA, February 28, 1994
Recordings

Available Separately:

Full Score - Large (#446-41156S)



Orchestra with Chorus and Soloists


Erotokritos (1982) -- 90'
2 2 2 2 - 2 2 2 0; Timp. Perc. Hp. Str.
Premiere Information: Greek Theatre of New York, the Metropolitan Greek Chorale, Grigoris Maninakis and Ely Paspalas, folksingers, Composer conducting, Alice Tully Hall, New York, NY, May 15, 1982
Available From Composer


Saviors "Cantata fantasmagorica" for Soprano, Chorus, and Orchestra (1985) -- 30'
Sop. Solo; 2 2 2 1 - 2 2 2 0; Perc. Pno. Dx7 Synth. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: New York State Council on the Arts
Premiere Information: Judith Bettina, Soprano, the Metropolitan Greek Chorale, and the New Philharmonia of Riverside, Composer conducting, Alice Tully Hall, New York, NY, May 11, 1985
Reviews


Scenes from the Apocalypse for Soprano, Alto and Baritone Solos, Actor, Chorus and Orchestra (1978) -- 70'
3 3 4 3 Sop. Sax - 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Hp. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library


Stabat Mater for Solo Mezzo-soprano, Chorus and Orchestra (1990) -- 14'
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: NEA Composer Grant
Premiere Information: Marianna Christos, mezzo-soprano, and the Metropolitan Greek Chorale, Alice Tully Hall, New York, NY, May 19, 1990
Reviews


The Epistle of James, Chapter One (1980) -- 12'
2 2 2 2 - 4 2 3 0; Perc. Hp. Str.
Available From Composer


Recordings


Violin Concerto No. 1 (1998, revised 2002)


Koch KIC-CD-7680: TSONTAKIS: Mirologhia; Violin Concerto No. 1; October
Cho Liang Lin, Violin, Albany Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Alan Miller



Mirologhia for Percussion Solo and Orchestra


Koch KIC-CD-7680: TSONTAKIS: Mirologhia; Violin Concerto No. 1; October
Colin Currie, Percussion (with Eleni Calenos, soprano), Albany Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Alan Miller



Meditations At Perigee for Piano and Six Players


Koch International Classics KIC CD 7579: Heartsounds
Da Camera of Houston



Bagatelle for Solo Piano


Koch International Classics KIC CD 7550: Piano Quartet Trilogy
Broyhill Chamber Players



String Quartet No. 3 "Coraggio"


New World Records CD 80414: George Tsontakis
American String Quartet.



String Quartet No. 4 "Beneath Thy Tenderness of Heart"


New World Records CD 80414: George Tsontakis
American String Quartet.



Three Mood Sketches Second Wind Quintet


Composers Recordings, Inc. (New World Records) CD 788: Sylvan Winds
The Sylvan Winds.



Heartsounds Quintet for Piano and Strings


Koch International Classics KIC CD 7579: Heartsounds
Da Camera of Houston



Fervore for Piccolo and Piano


Koch International Classics KIC-CD-7396: Bittersweet Music
Susan Glaser, piccolo, Robert Markham, piano.



Eclipse for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano


Innova Recordings 618: Eclipse
Antares



Koch International Classics KIC CD 7550: Piano Quartet Trilogy
Brian Zeger, piano, Broyhill Chamber Players



Piano Quartet No. 2


Koch International Classics KIC CD 7550: Piano Quartet Trilogy
Brian Zeger, piano, Broyhill Chamber Players



Bagatelles Piano Quartet No. 1


Koch International Classics KIC CD 7550: Piano Quartet Trilogy
Brian Zeger, piano, Broyhill Chamber Ensemble.



Sarabesque for Piano


Hyperion CDA67564: "Man of Sorrows"
Stephen Hough, Piano



Koch International Classics KIC CD 7579: Heartsounds
Da Camera of Houston



Ghost Variations for Solo Piano


Hyperion Records CDA 67005: New York Variations
Stephen Hough, piano.



October


Koch KIC-CD-7680: TSONTAKIS: Mirologhia; Violin Concerto No. 1; October
Albany Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Alan Miller



The Dove Descending (from the Four Symphonic Quartets Cycle)


Koch International Classics 3-7384-2-H1: Four Symphonic Quartets
Monte-Carlo Philharmonic, James DePreist conducting.



Other Echoes (from the Four Symphonic Quartets Cycle)


Koch International Classics 3-7384-2-H1: Four Symphonic Quartets
Monte-Carlo Philharmonic, James DePreist conducting.



Perpetual Angelus (from the Four Symphonic Quartets Cycle)


Koch International Classics 3-7384-2-H1: Four Symphonic Quartets
Monte-Carlo Philharmonic, James DePreist conducting.



Winter Lightning (from the Four Symphonic Quartets Cycle)


Koch International Classics 3-7384-2-H1: Four Symphonic Quartets
Monte-Carlo Philharmonic, James DePreist conducting.



Reviews

"What’s best about his music is that he filters the past into an organic contemporary language without falling prey to any of the sins that can derail a postmodern aesthetic…He does not run from his emotions but he doesn’t embrace a knee-jerk romanticism either. His music bristles with formal invention without turning into a hermetic puzzle. In short, this is music offering an ideal blend of head and heart…The long shadow of Beethoven is beautifully evoked by Tsontakis' ability to develop his materials and musics inexorable forward momentum; he uses meldic cells like building blocks."

-Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press

"[Tsontakis] has the 'luck' of having concrete musical ideas that the ear can perceive and the mind hold in memory. These ideas tend to be expressed in concentrated, densely packed, nodule-like motives that the composer treats obsessively, and which, as they spread out in time and spin in figurational, centripetal orbits, create structure and gesture."

-George Rochberg

"The way Tsontakis’ music piles motive upon motive into irresistibly slow climaxes makes him the most convincing New Romantic of his generation."

-Music in the United States: A Historical Introduction, Fourth Edition

"Tsontakis is a composer of tremendous technical integrity, not to mention skill. He stands alone among current American composers for this integrity. Each work is as if whatever he needs to say at that time, he has an ethical commitment to say fully and without compromise. Part of his technical skill is an ability to build from small motifs and to transform them endlessly so that they are never merely variations, but always re-envisioned. In this respect, he seems almost to invite comparison to Beethoven."

-Don Mager, Eclectica Magazine

"Tsontakis's finely crafted and emotionally gripping - and, let us say it, often deliberately beautiful, unselfconsciously and unironically so - compositional style is displayed to great advantage in these three works for piano quartet."

-www.recordsinternational.com

"I have always listened to George Tsontakis' music with a mixture of admiration and envy, constantly wishing that a bit of his fecundity of imagination might rub off on me. It is very easy to take note of the music's powerful craft, its splendid pacing, its happy union of a wealth of musical languages. What is most significant, however, is its profound spiritual impulse, even when it does not purport to examine 'spiritual' matters. His work touches the heart in a deep and personal way."

-Christopher Rouse

"With their evocative titles and sense of narrative progression, these works seem to have a programmatic element, but this is never made explicit, and this is not program music. These exquisitely nuanced compositions arguably place Tsontakis among the finest American composers working today."

-www.recordsinternational.com

"This disc offers three engrossing chamber works from the 1990's…all in all, an impressive recording of vibrant chamber works."

-Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

"If you're looking for an impressive introduction to the music of this interesting composer, and you should be, I'd go with the collection of piano quartets. Tsontakis is well served by these superb performers."

-Allen Gimbel, American Record Guide

"…each new piece I've heard has increased my admiration for this enormously skilful, creatively communicative, profoundly humane composer."

-Andrew Farach-Colton, The Gramophone


Meditations At Perigee for Piano and Six Players

"All the resources of [Tsontakis’] large and varied ensemble are used inventively, in the style of a conversation among the players, and with a keen eye for intricate balances between inventiveness and structural cohesion. The Meditations are quintessential chamber music."

-Joseph McLellan, The Washington Post

"The peppy scoring is full of wit and surprise. Tsontakis is generally a pretty serious fellow, but he knows how to have fun, too."

-Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press

"Rejoice, lovers of violin and chamber orchestra. George Tsontakis’ new violin concerto is a work of gentle beauty and intriguing orchestral sounds…The shifting meter, the bell sounds, the veiled tone of muted strings and the interplay between instruments combined to give a sense of light playing on the fluid surface of a brook… long sonorous lines surrounded by chattering violins and flute in ‘Among Stars,’ flowing lines with changing accents in ‘Games,’ and the poignant, often unaccompanied solo in ‘Heart.’"

-Joan Oliver Goldsmith, St. Paul Pioneer Press

"Although the demands on the soloist are considerable, especially in the upper register of the instrument, all were beautifully played by [Steven Copes]…The composer’s lyrical impulses ring true…and the orchestration, especially in the woodwinds, is never less than interesting."

-Michael Anthony, Minneapolis Star-Tribune


Bagatelle for Solo Piano

"…mercurial, with delicate piano figurations one moment and dizzying repeated riffs the next."

-Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times


Three Sighs, Three Variations for Violin and Piano

"These six ‘musical postcards’ are light in weight but dark in color – much like the works of Thomas Mann. In their brevity, they left us wanting for more."

-Poughkeepsie Journal


String Quartet No. 2 "Emerson"

"His music declares him to be a complex musical thinker, skilled in his own wild contemporary idiom, but with a strong traditional sense…"

-The Toronto Star


String Quartet No. 3 "Coraggio"

"It is no understatement at all to say that the Tsontakis Third Quartet is a piece of unabashedly brilliant writing… It is, quite simply, a major achievement by a composer blessed with immense and individual gifts."

-The Nashville Tennessean

"…It marked the evening’s high-point — a fine piece of writing."

-Michael Kimmelman, The New York Times


String Quartet No. 4 "Beneath Thy Tenderness of Heart"

"It is a magical piece…

Mr. Tsontakis has created a gripping, picturesque language that keeps a listener guessing what will come next."

-Allan Kozinn, New York Times

"…enormously rewarding, with the kind of emotional depth hard to come by these days."

-The Providence Journal

"Tsontakis has indeed presented the public with a magnificent new work… Brilliant, dazzling chords, a whirlwind… a roller coaster effect of tranquility and shuddering of fascinating proportions."

-Byron Janis, New Jersey Star-Ledger


Three Mood Sketches Second Wind Quintet

"Three Mood Sketches eschews grace and harmony for a kind of rough, raw energy. The result has the quality of graffiti — shrill, garish, crying for (and getting) our attention."

-Bernard Holland, The New York Times


Heartsounds Quintet for Piano and Strings

"…haunting. The music pulsates with drama, mystery and swelling emotions and is beautifully performed."

-Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press

"There is never a dull moment in this often beautiful, often bombastic fantasy…"

-Allen Gimbel, American Record Guide

"Not many pieces can hold their own while sharing a program with Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time. But one such work had its Washington premiere… Its intensity and range of feelings, and above all its emotional impact, make it an excellent companion piece."

-Joseph McLellan, Washington Post


Eclipse for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano

"… a terrific piece."

-Allen Gimbel, American Record Guide

"The vital rhythmic pulse of the music is worth mentioning; quicksilver changes of meter and accenting lend a hectic propulsiveness to Tsontakis's fast movements."

-www.recordsinternational.com

"…quasi-orchestral effects from a quartet of clarinet, violin, cello and piano."

-Andrew Farach-Colton, The Gramophone


Requiescat for Viola and Piano

"George Tsontakis’ eloquent Requiescat, a mixture of atonality and lyricism was reminiscent of late Shostakovich."

-Jeff Bradley, Denver Post


Piano Quartet No. 2

"… a compelling narrative built around soulful melodic lines enriched by rich, thick harmonies… episodes of gentle childlike simplicity and deeply felt romanticism… with its touching descending sighs, will break your heart."

-Allen Gimbel, American Record Guide

"…an 'in memoriam' piece, its moods of lyrical melancholy (briefly interrupted by an energetic scherzo) gives full rein to Tsontakis' melodic gifts."

-www.recordsinternational.com

"…a feeling of dreamy spontaneity, of ideas flowing from each other in a thoughtful way…"

-Andrew Farach-Colton, The Gramophone


Bagatelles Piano Quartet No. 1

"Bagatelles [piano quartet]…harmonically lucid and inventively neo-Classical."

-Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

"...music of somber reflectiveness, eloquent and deeply moving."

-www.recordsinternational.com


Sarabesque for Piano

"… bright energy and probing intensity, and the surface sheen that took full advantage of the modern piano's capacity for brilliant, glassy sounds."

-Charles Ward, Houston Chronicle

"…harmonic mastery…[a] glittering little universe"

-Andrew Farach-Colton, The Gramophone


Midnight Rain for Soprano and Piano

"The seven songs … add up to a lovely work. [Mr. Tsontakis] is able to make a song be what he wants, and he can write a simple vocal line that's effective. No mean gifts. …Less is more, both in the singing and in Mr. Tsontakis's final song: stripped of the sense of the dutiful, the voice flowered, and true expression was born."

-Anne Midgette, New York Times


Four Symphonic Quartets a Symphonic Cycle

"The work makes a masterly impression… a potent brew, strongly recommended… can suggest at one moment a minimalist aesthetic and at another long-lined late-Romantic emotional surges. The results are unlike any other music I know…"

-Fanfare

"Lord knows I’m no Uptown orchestra fan, but Tsontakis’s heroic, nostalgia-free romanticism always torpedoes my attempts to dislike it… Tsontakis knows a secret that most of his orchestra-league colleagues don’t: music has to breathe."

-The Village Voice


Ghost Variations for Solo Piano

"America’s finest solo piano music… a forceful, boldly conceived virtuoso showpiece…"

-Time Magazine

"I’m quite sure that this work will be regarded as one of the most significant works of the late 20th century, the absolute equal of any work written in the last 50 years…"

-Stephen Hough

"…one of the most curious, compelling and disturbing new works I’ve encountered in a long while."

-The Independent (London)

"…the piece is a joy – it is ‘real piano music’ that invites the player to make wonderful sounds comfortably. From every angle, this piece commands our consideration as a phenomenon of modern music."

-Piano & Keyboard

"…a major addition to the current repertoire…"

-International Piano Quarterly


Five Sighs and a Fantasy

"Tsontakis is a very big talent… brilliant orchestral effects, snatches of intriguing melody and a genuinely moving ending."

-Stephen Wigler, Baltimore Sun


Four Symphonic Quartets see individual titles: 1- Other Echoes 2- Perpetual Angelus 3- The Dove Descending 4- Winter Ligh

"…superb…an extraordinary work that should be in the repertory of every major orchestra"

-Andrew Farach-Colton, The Gramophone


Let the River Be Unbroken for Orchestra and Optional Narration

"This commissioned piece is a titillation of sight and sound – a melding of aural and visual worlds… Let us hope that the piece – the experience – will be repeated often in the future."

-Ruth Baja Williams, The Gazette Packet (Alexandria)


The Past, the Passion for 14 Players

"The most impressive work of the evening… Its wildly imaginative, naturally musical gestures and kaleidoscopic tonal palette struck a chord with both conductor and players, and the music – in this evocative reading – vibrated with life."

-Musical America

"…it is often powerful and often persuasive… remarkably coherent and effective."

-Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"The Past, The Passion may be something of a Tsontakis calling-card, with wispy auras, quicksilver thematic elements and nods to Bach that coalesce in a series of shimmering narratives."

-Donald Rosenberg, Gramophone.co.uk

"The Past, The Passion may be something of a Tsontakis calling-card, with wispy auras, quicksilver thematic elements and nods to Bach that coalesce in a series of shimmering narratives."

-Donald Rosenberg, Gramophone.co.uk


Saviors "Cantata fantasmagorica" for Soprano, Chorus, and Orchestra

"…somber, complex, yet approachable and even engrossing, combining a gnarled expressionism with the eloquent simplicity of Eastern modality."

-Tim Page, The New York Times


Stabat Mater for Solo Mezzo-soprano, Chorus and Orchestra

"The music is unpretentious, intermingling expressionistic anguish with warmly mellifluous consolation in an ever-shifting balance."

-James Oestreich, The New York Times




Page last updated September 12, 2012