Copyright ©2016 Melinda Wagner

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“...Ms. Wagnerʼs piece practically leapt off the stage, so vital and fresh did it sound...”

CONCERTO FOR TROMBONE AND ORCHESTRA:

– Anne Midgette, New York Times

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“Far and away the best music of the night came with Melinda Wagnerʼs ʻExtremity of Sky,ʼ a concerto... that melds high modernism with prismatic color and romantic fancy...”

EXTREMITY OF SKY
(Piano Concerto):

-Tim Page, Washington Post

SCRITCH

(2009) for oboe and string quartet

LITTLE MOONHEAD

(2008) in three movements

FOUR SETTINGS

(2004)  song-cycle for soprano and mixed ensemble

ARABESQUE

(2000)  for solo guitar

NOGGIN

(2012) in four movements | for solo piano

SOLO and CHAMBER

VOCAL and CHORAL

FOUR SETTINGS

(2004)  song-cycle for soprano and mixed ensemble

LITTLE MOONHEAD

(2008) in three movements

SCAMP

(2008) for wind ensemble

CONCERTO for TROMBONE and ORCHESTRA

(2006) in three movements

EXTREMITY of SKY

(2002) in four movements

CONCERTO for FLUTE, STRINGS and PERCUSSION 

(1998) in three movements

ORCHESTRAL and LARGE ENSEMBLE

Biography

Brief bio

Celebrated as an “...eloquent, poetic voice in contemporary music...” [American Record Guide], Melinda Wagner’s esteemed catalog of works embodies music of exceptional beauty, power, and intelligence. Wagner received widespread attention when her colorful Concerto for Flute, Strings and Percussion earned her the Pulitzer Prize in 1999. Since then, major works have included Concerto for Trombone, for Joseph Alessi and the New York Philharmonic, a piano concerto, Extremity of Sky, commissioned by the Chicago Symphony for Emanuel Ax, and Little Moonhead, composed for the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, as part of its popular “New Brandenburgs” project.

Noted for its “...prismatic colors and...lithe sense of mystery...” [Washington Post], Extremity of Sky has been performed by Emanuel Ax with the National Symphony (on tour), the Toronto and Kansas City Symphonies, and the Staatskapelle Berlin.

Championed early on by Daniel Barenboim, Wagner has received three commissions from the Chicago Symphony; the most recent of these, Proceed, Moon, is to be premiered by the CSO under the baton of Susanna Mälkki in 2017. Other recent performances have come from the American Composers Orchestra, the United States Marine Band, BMOP, the American Brass Quintet, the Empyrean Ensemble, and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.

Among honors Wagner has received is a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, and awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and ASCAP. Wagner was given an honorary doctorate from Hamilton College, and a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003. Melinda Wagner was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2017.

A passionate and inspiring teacher, Melinda Wagner has given master classes at many fine institutions across the United States, including Harvard, Yale, Eastman, Juilliard, and UC Davis. She has held faculty positions at Brandeis University and Smith College, and has served as a mentor at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, the Wellesley Composers Conference, and Yellow Barn. Ms. Wagner currently serves on the faculty of the Juilliard School of Music.

“...a ferocious, kaleidoscopic, confounding, richly-hued concerto...”

EXTREMITY OF SKY
(Piano Concerto):

-Jayson Greene,
League of
American Orchestras

“...a tour de force... bracingly lucid...”

LITTLE MOONHEAD:

-Alex Ross, The New Yorker

“...a tour de force... bracingly lucid...”

LITTLE MOONHEAD:

-Alex Ross, The New Yorker

Connect

 
 
 

Artist Statement

In the composer’s own words:

 

Music offers composers an immeasurably rich and generous sonic landscape in which to explore the “life story” of each musical idea - its dramas, intrigues, joys and sorrows - a life.

 

I strive to find various and persuasive ways of moving through the resulting temporal narrative, and to traverse a wide spectrum of expression and color on the way.

 

Ultimately, I want listeners to know me; I want them to hear that while I enjoy the cerebral exercise, I am led principally by my ear, and by my heart.

CONCERTO FOR TROMBONE AND ORCHESTRA

“With this excellent and challenging work, Melinda Wagner has given us a wonderful piece...”

-Philip Brink,

International Trombone Association Journal

Selected Recordings

VOCAL and CHORAL

Four Settings

(2004) song-cycle for soprano and mixed ensemble | commissioned by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

ca 21 minutes

From a Book of Early Prayers

(2003) for SATB choir | commissioned by the Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research at St. John’s Abbey

6:55

Ancient Music

S.A.T.B. A Capella

4:00

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SOLO and CHAMBER

My Tioga

(2014) in four movements | for string quartet | commissioned by the Ciompi String Quartet

15:00

Noggin

(2012) in four movements | for solo piano | cCommissioned through the Anthony Checchia Composers Project by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society

ca 14 minutes

Scritch

(2009) for oboe and string quartet | commissioned by the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble and the Empyrean Ensemble

08:42

Little Moonhead

(2008) in three movements | for solo violin and chamber orchestra | Commissioned by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

13:18

Pan Journal

(2009) for harp and string quartet | commissioned by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society for Elizabeth Hainen and the Juilliard String Quartet

13:08

Concertino

(2005) for harpsichord and string quintet | commissioned by the Vail Valley Music Festival

Four Settings

(2004) song-cycle for soprano and mixed ensemble | commissioned by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

ca 21 minutes

Romanze with Faux Variations

(2003) for piano trio | commissioned by the Network for New Music

12:39

Brass Quintet No. 1

(2000) in three movements | commissioned by the American Brass Quintet

ca 14 minutes

Wick

(2000) for flute, clarinet, violin, 'cello, piano, and percussion | commissioned by the New York New Music Ensemble

15:52

Tintinnabulum

(2000) for solo piano | commissioned by Orchestra 2001

Arabesque

2000 for solo guitar | commissioned by David Starobin

Wing and Prayer

(1996) for clarinet, ‘cello, piano, and percussion | commissioned by the New York Music Teachers Association

12:00

Sextet

(1989) in three movements for flute, clarinet, violin, viola, ‘cello, and piano | commissioned by the Society for New Music

13:00

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ORCHESTRAL and LARGE ENSEMBLE

Proceed, Moon

(2016) for orchestra | commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Little Moonhead

(2009) in three movements for solo violin and chamber orchestra | commissioned by The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

Scamp

(2008) for wind ensemble | comissioned by "The President's Own" United States Marine Band

Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra

(2006) in three movement | commissioned by the New York Philharmonic for Joseph Alessi

57/7 Dash

*transcription for percussion, timpani, and wind ensemble

57/7 Dash

(2003) overture for percussion, timpani, and orchestra | commissioned by Skitch Henderson and the New York Pops

Extremity of Sky

(2002) in four movements; concerto for piano and orchestra | commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for Emanuel Ax

Concerto for Flute, Strings and Percussion

(1998) in three movements | commissioned by Paul Dunkel and the Westchester Philharmonic

Falling Angels

(1993) for orchestra | commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

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LITTLE MOONHEAD

“...expertly constructed with vivid orchestration, and virtuoso solo writing...”

-Victor Carr, Jr., ClassicsToday.com

 

Works

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Interviews

CONCERTO FOR TROMBONE AND ORCHESTRA

"...strewn with emotive power..."

- Steve Ritter, 

Classical CD Review

It's Just Who I am:

Interview with Newmusicbox. Video and transcription.

Two Conversations with Bruce Duffie

Interview with Bruce Duffie