Robert Beaser is Artistic Director Laureate of the American Composers Orchestra and was co-music director and conductor of Musical Elements Ensemble from 1978 to 1989. In 1977 he became the youngest composer to win the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. Beaser’s Mountain Songs received a Grammy nomination in 1986. He has received Fellowships from the Guggenheim and Fulbright Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Goddard Lieberson, an Academy Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Nonesuch Commission Award, and a Barlow Commission. He was to elected to membership of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2002.
Beaser’s commissions include works for the Chicago Symphony (Centennial Commission); the New York Philharmonic; American Composers Orchestra; St. Paul Chamber Orchestra; and the American Brass Quintet. His opera, Central Park: Food of Love, with a libretto by Terence McNally, was commissioned by the New York City Opera and Glimmerglass Opera and was telecast nationally on PBS’s Great Performances series. Beaser’s 9/11 work Ground O, broadcast on the All-Star Orchestra series, received an Emmy Award in 2016. Recordings include Beaser: Guitar Concerto with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra on Linn Records; Chorale Variations, The Severn Deadly Sins and Piano Concerto on London/Argo; Song of the Bells on Albany Records, Psalms 119, 150 on New World; and Mountain Songs on Musicmasters.
Born in Boston, Beaser holds a BA from Yale College, summa cum laude, and MM, MMA, and DMA degrees from the Yale School of Music. He studied composition with Jacob Druckman, Toru Takemitsu, Yehudi Wyner and Goffredo Petrassi. He has been a member of the Juilliard faculty since 1993 and chair of the Composition department since 1994.