Joseph Turrin

  • “Joseph Turrin is a greatly valued contributor to contemporary American musical life thanks to his wide-ranging activities as a composer, orchestrator, conductor, pianist, and teacher.

    Since completing his formal education at the Eastman School of Music and the Manhattan School of Music, he has pursued a career that has always been multifaceted. As a composer, he has produced works in many genres. Among the many commissioned works in his catalogue, highlights include Hemispheres commissioned for Kurt Masur’s final concert with the New York Philharmonic in May 2002 and taken on tour by Masur and the orchestra to Europe and Asia in June 2002, his concertos for flute (commisioned for Carol Wincence and the New Jersey Symphony) and for trumpet (commissioned by the New York Philharmonic for Philip Smith, its principal trumpet, and conducted at its 1989 premiere by Erich Leinsdorf), the chamber works Riffs and Fanfares (The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center), Arcade (New Jersey Chamber Music Society), Quadrille (West Point Military Academy), Chronicles (twelve American Universities for Philip Smith), Modinha (Orpheus Chamber Orchestra) and numerous other commissions. The New York Philharmonic, both as an ensemble and through several of its individual members, has cultivated a longstanding relationship with Turrin. In addition to the new Hemispheres, the Trumpet Concerto (which Kurt Masur has also led with the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig), the Philharmonic-commissioned Two Gershwin Portraits (which Mr. Masur and the Orchestra premiered at the “New York 100 Celebration Concert” in Central Park in 1998, with trumpet soloists Wynton Marsalis and Philip Smith), Turrin has composed several pieces for the Orchestra¹s brass section, including Jazzalogue No. 1 (featured on the Orchestra’s 1997 Latin American tour) and West Side Story Suite (commissioned and premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2000 by the Philharmonic’s brass section). In addition, he has composed numerous solo and chamber works to spotlight the talents of several Philharmonic musicians. Most recently, his Trombone Concerto Illuminations was recorded by Joseph Alessi for Summit Records. His Fandango was performed on “Live From Lincoln Center” in July, 2002 by Kurt Masur and the NY Philharmonic and hosted by Beverly Sills. This is what the NY Times said about his work Hemispheres: “”Mr. Turrin’s music is nervous, loud, swift and aggressive to the point of violence. It is also beautifully made, negotiating its constant changes of speed and pulse with grace. Mr. Turrin’s music is young: no past, only future.””

    Active as a composer, and conductor for film and theatre, Turrin lists among his many credits the scores for Alan Alda’s film A New Life, Little Darlings, Weeds (with Nick Nolte), Tough Guys Don’t Dance (directed by Norman Mailer), Verna-USO Girl (with Sissy Spacek and William Hurt and nominated for 3 Emmy Awards), Nightmare on Elm Street 3, Kingdom of Shadows (narrated by Rod Steiger), Broken Blossoms (1919 silent film classic directed by D.W. Griffith, starring Lillian Gish), and for the restoration of the silent film classic Sadie Thompson. Other silent film classics that he has scored include, Diary of a Lost Girl, Intolerance and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. His work in musical theater includes performances on Broadway with Michael Feinstein as well as the score for Frankie, with a libretto by Broadway legend George Abbott. Other theater works by Turrin include the opera Feathertop, Love Games and The Barricade. He also did the orchestrations for the 1992 Olympic Fanfare for the summer Olympic ceremonies in Barcelona, Spain.

    Turrin has appeared as a conductor with the Pittsburgh, Baltimore, New Orleans, Detroit, and New Jersey Symphonies; he has performed as a pianist on many recordings and as orchestral pianist for the New Jersey Symphony. He has received awards and grants from the United Nations (for contributions in the arts), ASCAP, American Music Center, and five Fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, in addition to the Ann M. Alburger Award for Chamber Music.

    His works have been performed by the New York Philharmonic, St. Martin-in-the-Fields Academy Orchestra. Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, Baltimore Symphony, Gewandhausorchester (Leipzig, Germany), Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New Orleans Symphony, New Mexico Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, English Chamber Orchestra, Little Orchestra Society of New York, Wynton Marsalis, Philip Smith, Joseph Alessi, Lew Soloff, Carol Wincenc, Hugh Wolff, Kurt Masur, Erich Leinsdorf, Ramon Vargas, Evelyn Glennie. Susannah McCorkle, US Army Band, US Army Brass Quintet, Atlantic Brass Quintet, New Jersey Chamber Music Society, West Point Military Academy Band, US Marine Band, University of North Texas Wind Symphony and many others.

    His publishers include: Theodore Presser, Curnow Music, BIM Editions, Kjos Publications, Rosehill Music, Paramount Pictures, Warner Brothers Music, C. Alan Publications and others. His works are recorded on the Teldec, RCA, EMI, Cala, Summit, Albany, Klavier, and Curnow labels.

    Kurt Masur said about Mr. Turrin’s music: “I have always liked composers who are reflecting upon the musical sound of their country. Joseph Turrin does it in a very convincing way. I have taken great delight from getting to know his scores, which I have conducted in New York, in Europe, and in Asia.”

    For more information about Joseph Turrin, please visit his website at”

  • Cover Title (Subtitle) Duration Instrumentation
    Chamber Ensemble
    114-40710 Arcade
    10:00 Chamber Ensemble
    114-41601 Riffs and Fanfares
    For Clarinet, Horn, Violin, Viola, Cello, and Piano
    5:00 Chamber Ensemble
    114-40908 The Steadfast Tin Soldier
    Version for Chamber Ensemble
    15:00 Chamber Ensemble
    114-40622 Walden Trio
    For Flute, Cello, and Piano
    17:00 Flute, Cello, Piano
    15591 Bagatelle for Orchestra
    5:30 2 2 2 2 – 2 0 0 0; Perc. Str.
    15592 Civil War Suite
    20:00 2 2(E.H.) 2 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    15596 The Steadfast Tin Soldier
    for Narrator and Orchestra, based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen
    15:00 Narr.; 1 1 1 1 – 1 1 0 0; Perc. Pno. Str.
    Orchestra with Soloist(s)
    15593 Concerto for Flute and Orchestra
    25:00 Solo Fl.; 2 2 2 2 – 2 2 2 1; 3Perc. Hp. Str.
    15594 Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra
    15:00 Solo Tpt.; 3(Picc.) 2 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 2Perc. Pno. Cel. Hp. Str.

    Arcade is divided into five movements: Prelude, Bouree, Arioso, Waltz and Quadrille and featured flute, oboe, cello and viola. It was interesting music which gave all the performers a run for their money.
    –Post and Courier, Charleston, SC

    This is a big, sophisticated concerto that evolves way beyond its classical and romantic models to show off the soloist’s technique while exploring adventurous interactions between soloist and ensemble
    –The Record

    The most successful of the world premieres was Joseph Turrin’s ‘Concerto for Flute and Orchestra’. Of the three, it was only he who most clearly set a musical goal and reached it. The goal: Compose a virtuoso flute concerto for Carol Wincenc. The result:
    –The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ)

    The ‘Concerto for Flute and Orchestra’ is a very fine work of its kind (fully as enjoyable as his ‘Trumpet Concerto’ from two seasons ago)
    –New York Daily News

    There just may be hope for modern music after all. There’s a lot of bold color in this concerto. It’s a fine piece, though any trumpeter tackling it had better have inexhaustible breath.
    –New York Daily News

    A sizzling soloist’s vehicle. Mr. Turrin has given his soloist – Philip Smith, the orchestra’s principal trumpeter – a great deal to do, usually at speeds and in detail that must require a lip of steel.
    –New York Times

    Turrin has composed a refreshing work that creates in the listener the desire to hear it a second time. The concerto is a worthwhile addition to the limited trumpet/orchestra repertoire
    –Musical America

    Joseph Turrin’s ‘Riffs and Fanfares’ a CMSLC commission, was given its world premiere. Turrin, who scored well last year with his Trumpet Concerto premiered by the NY Philharmonic, has again written an arresting work of spiky, individual energy
    –New York Daily News

    Joseph Turrin’s well-crafted ‘Riffs and Fanfares’ for clarinet, horn, string trio, and piano, commissioned by the society and receiving its premiere…
    –New York Times

    There is no guessing what new music will make a place for itself in the repertory, but I think Turrin’s ‘Walden Trio’ belongs in it somewhere.
    –The Record

    Mr. Turrin has written a vital work that is rhythmically and dynamically alive. There is no lack of ideas, which tumble one after the other yet seem capable of growth. The idiom is modern the piece thoroughly engaging and making deft use of the instrument
    –New York Times

  • 1996: Meet the Composer
    1994: New Jersey State Council on the Arts
    1993: Meet the Composer
    1991: New Jersey State Council on the Arts
    1989: New Jersey State Senate (Senate resolution for contribution in the arts)
    1988: New Jersey State Council on the Arts
    1987: American Music Center Awards
    1986: United Nations Award for the Arts
    1981-1999: ASCAP Awards
    1977: Anne M. Alberger Composition Award (Walden Trio)
    1976: American Music Center Awards
    1976: New Jersey State Council on the Arts
    1965: FLAME Award in Composition (Piano Sonata No. 1)
    Manhattan School of Music / Composition Prize (March & Choral)
    Sol Human Award (Eastman School of Music)

  • The Steadfast Tin Soldier
    for Narrator and Orchestra