Jeffrey Mumford

  • Born in Washington, D.C. in 1955, composer Jeffrey Mumford has received numerous fellowships, grants, awards and commissions.

    Awards include the “Academy Award in Music” from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, a Fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, a Fellowship to the Composers’ Conference (Johnson, VT) and an ASCAP Aaron Copland Scholarship. He was also the winner of the inaugural National Black Arts Festival / Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Composition Competition.

    Other grants have been awarded by the Ohio Arts Council, Oberlin College, the D.C. Commission on the Arts & Humanities Technical Assistance Program, (funded through the NEA), the Minnesota Composers’ Forum, the American Music Center, the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, Meet the Composer, the Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund for Music Inc., the ASCAP Foundation, and the University of California.

    Mumford’s most notable commissions include those from a consortium of presenters consisting of the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Chamber Music Columbus (OH), and Omus Hirshbein (New York) (for the Pacifica Quartet and pianist Amy Dissanayake), Cleveland radio station WCLV, violist Wendy Richman, the Nancy Ruyle Dodge Charitable Trust (for the Corigliano Quartet), a consortium of presenters consisting of the Phillips Collection (Washington, D.C.), Miller Theatre (New York) and the Schubert Club (St. Paul, MN.) (for pianist Margaret Kampmeier), the Contemporary Music Forum of Washington, D.C. and Philip Berlin, Sonia and Louis Rothschild (for the Opus 3 Trio), the Theatre Chamber Players , the Reston Prelude Festival (for the Audubon Quartet), Meet the Composer/Arts Endowment Commissioning Music / USA program (for the CORE Ensemble), the National Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati radio station WGUC, ‘cellist Joshua Gordon, the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation, the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, the Fromm Music Foundation, the Amphion Foundation for the Da Capo Chamber Players, the New York New Music Ensemble, the McKim Fund in the Library of Congress, the Aspen Wind Quintet, cellist Fred Sherry, and the Robert Evett Fund of Washington, D.C.

    Mumford’s works have been extensively performed both in the United States and abroad, including Miller Theatre, the Library of Congress, the Aspen Music Festival, the Bang On A Can Festival, the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, San Migel de Allende, Guanajuato, MEXICO, London’s Purcell Room, Finland’s prestigious Helsinki Festival, and the Musica nel Nostro Tempo Festival, in Milan. His works have been performed by such major orchestras as the National Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the American Composers’ Orchestra. His chamber works have been performed by major ensembles such as the Corigliano, Maia and Borromeo Quartets, the Mann Duo, the CORE Ensemble, the Amelia Piano Trio, the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Ensemble, Voices of Change, the New Music Consort, the New York New Music Ensemble, the Aspen Wind Quintet, the Group for Contemporary Music, the Da Capo Chamber Players. Among the prominent soloists who have performed his music have been cellist Fred Sherry, violist Misha Amory, and pianists Eliza Garth, Margaret Kampmeier and Sarah Cahill. Mumford has also been among the composer-members of the Washington, D.C. based Contemporary Music Forum, which has performed his music many times.

    Recent and forthcoming performances include the premiere performances of amid the light of quickening memory (orchestra) by the National Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin, conductor (at the Kennedy Center), the promise of the far horizon (string quartet) by the Corigliano Quartet (San Migel de Allende, MEXICO, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.). a focused expanse of evolving experience by the Empyrean Ensemble (in Davis and Sacramento, CA), performances of the milliner’s fancy by saxophonists Rhonda Taylor and David Reminick, the premiere performances of four dances for Boris, a new work for solo piano with choreography by Boris Willis at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. In addition, the CORE ensemble will give several performances nationwide of a window of resonant light (cello, piano and percussion) as part of their touring program entitled “Of Ebony Embers.” Mumford’s music has also been presented as part of Miller Theatre’s “Composer Portraits” series in New York City.

    Current projects include a new piano quintet for the Pacifica Quartet and pianist Amy Dissanayake (co-commissioned by the Krannert Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Chamber Music Columbus [OH], and Omus Hirshbein) entitled toward the deepening stillness beyond visible light. In addition, he recently completed work on a new quintet (flute, violin, viola, cello and piano) for the Empyrean Ensemble (in residence at UCDavis and commissioned by them) entitled a focused expanse of evolving experience. He has also been commissioned by violinist Sharan Leventhal to write a work for violin & piano. A CD entitled the promise of the far horizon, containing five recent chamber works will be issued on the Albany Records label in the Fall of 2004.

    So far, highlights of the 2004-2005 season include the premiere performances of toward the deepening stillness beyopnd visible light by the Pacifica Quartet and pianist Amy Dissanayake (at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and as part of the Chamber Music Columbus series in Columbus, OH), and the premiere of a distance of unfolding light by the Western Piedmont Symphony Orchestra in Hickory, NC. In addition, barbaglio dal manca will be performed by pianist Tuyen Tonnu (at SUNY Stony Brook).

    Mr. Mumford is presently Assistant Professor of Composition at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. In the Fall of 2004, he will become that conservatory’s Composer In Residence.

  • Cover Title (Subtitle) Duration Instrumentation
    114-40939 amid fleeting pockets of billowing radiance
    For Solo ‘Cello
    11:00 Cello
    114-40938 the clarity of remembered springs
    For Solo Viola
    13:00 Viola
    110-40725 fragments from the surrounding evening
    For Solo Piano
    10:00 Piano
    114-40934 variazioni elegiaci
    For Solo ‘Cello
    9:00 Cello
    Chamber Ensemble
    114-40937 eight aspects of appreciation
    11:00 String Duet
    114-40936 Filaments
    For Two Flutes
    9:00 Flute Duet
    114-41206 a pond within the drifting dusk
    10:00 Alto Flute, Cello, Harp
    114-40933 Two Miniatures
    For Violin and Piano
    6:00 Violin, Piano
    13672 as the air softens in dusklight
    for Orchestra
    10:00 2 2 3(3d B.Cl.) 2 – 4 2 2 1; Vibr. Hp. Str.
    13673 distinct echoes of glimmering daylight
    (In memoriam Peter Brown)
    16:00 2 2 2 2 – 4 2 2 1; Vibr. Hp. Str.
    13675 within a cloudburst of echoing brightness
    Fanfare for Orchestra
    4:00 3 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Vibr. Pno. Hp. Str.

  • Put simply, Jeffrey Mumford’s music is a place where extraordinary compositional skills, a keen mind, and an intuitive empathy for the full spectrum of human emotions, meet and are given expressive form.
    –Joshua Freeman, American Composer’s Forum Newsletter

    … a fine strong piece… a near Medieval purity of line…
    –Tim Page, The Washington Post

    … a gracious use of instruments and a style of writing that is abstract yet attractively figurative.
    –Joseph Dalton, Time Out New York

    … a philosophy of music making that embraced both raw passion and a gentle imagistic poetry… his pieces carry musical evocations of the effects he describes.
    –Alan Kozinn, The New York Times

    Jeffrey Mumford is emerging as a truly important composer of the last decade or so of this century.
    –Joan Reinthaler, The Washington Post

    …a composer who makes something mesmerizing and beautiful out of harmonic ambiguity … Compelling listening; excellent performances … a coloristic glow created by the leisurely unfolding of layered lines … contemplative with gleaming touches evoking poetic sonic imagery…
    –Donald Rosenberg, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

    …a style of writing that is abstract yet attractively figurative…Mumford’s sounds are distant and floating, often gentle and beguiling…remarkably rich and varied.
    –Joseph Dalton, Time Out New York

    [The] balance between impressionism and expressionism makes Mumford’s music quite listenable if not outright interesting.
    –American Record Guide

    …evocative music that does not reveal all it has to say on the first hearing but invites and rewards repeated [listening].
    –Joseph McLellan, Washington Post

    … this music…has a deeply thoughtful, even soulful integrity … Mumford is a composer to watch.
    –Robert Carl, Fanfare

    Changing almost like a kaleidoscope, a Mumford chord can sound like Brahms, one of his heroes, one moment and then ca suddenly be a spiky chromatic entity. The handling of these masterful transition in harmonic coloration is…a hallmark of Mumford’s subtle and expressive style.
    –Joseph Pehrson, The New Music Connoisseur

    It was a fascinating experience and the highpoint of a recital…
    –Joseph McLellan, The Washington Post

    The work depicts clouds in motion… Largely static, often pointillistic, dusklight skillfully exploits sonorities and moods, with reflective passages interrupted by threatening sounds.
    –Derrick Henry, Atlanta Journal / Constitution

    …Mumford creates structures analogous to cloud formations, in which competing sonorities rise and fall, creating a unique beguiling effect.
    –Mary Ellen Hutton, Cincinnati Post

    Perhaps the evening’s most forward-looking composition… Melodically austere and rhythmically diverse, Mumford’s work served nicely to showcase the quality of CCM’s Philharmonia.
    –Keith Morris, The Cincinnati Enquirer

    Mumford is an astute craftsman who understands different timbres and their subtlety. In this work, in eight sections, he explores the timbral relationship between the violin and viola.
    –Sorab Modi, The Strad

    The work was no warm, fuzzy tribute; instead, its brief movements suggests a series of thorny topics. The Manns threw themselves into the whirl of angular, combative lines with the kind of virtuosity Mumford’s piece seemed designed to display.
    –Joe Banno, The Washington Post

    …a melancholy, elegiac piece that is nicely suited to the viola’s deep voice. Its tempo is slow, yet it moves compellingly forward.
    –Allan Kozinn, The New York Times

    …brief but potent … an abstract riot of color, dissonance and density…
    –Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press

    Mumford has packed an enormous amount of musical activity into what I can only call a four-minute epic. The harmonies are dense but never impenetrable, the orchestral colors are downright prismatic, the dissonances are aggressive and angular yet brimming with poetry and nuance.
    –Tim Page, The Washington Post

  • The Focus of Blue Light THE FOCUS OF BLUE LIGHT
    CRI/New World Records (NWCR650); February 1, 2007
    Performer(s): Aspen Wind Quintet; Da Capo Chamber Players; Bruce Anderson, piano; Joshua Gordon, cello; Karen Johnson, flute; Kurt Nikkanen, violin; Peter Brown, flute
    Work(s): amid fleeting pockets of billowing radiance
    Dark Fires: 20th Century Music for Piano DARK FIRES: 20TH CENTURY MUSIC FOR PIANO
    Albany Records (TROY266); October 1, 1997
    Performer(s): Karen Walwyn, piano
    Work(s): fragments from the surrounding evening

  • 2003: “Academy Award in Music” from the American Academy of Arts & Letters
    1995: Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship
    1982, 1993: American Music Center CAP Grant
    ASCAP Aaron Copland Scholarship Award
    ASCAP Foundation grant
    ASCAP Standard Panel Awards
    7 Meet the Composer grants

  • as the air softens in dusklight
    for Orchestra
    distinct echoes of glimmering daylight
    for Orchestra
    within a cloudburst of echoing brightness
    Fanfare for Orchestra