Scott Wheeler

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composer

Scott Wheeler was born in Washington DC. He studied at Amherst College, New England Conservatory and Brandeis University (Ph.D., 1984), where his principal teachers were Lewis Spratlan and Arthur Berger. He pursued further study at the Tanglewood Music Center (with Olivier Messiaen), the Dartington School (with Peter Maxwell Davies), and privately with Virgil Thomson. He teaches at Emerson College in Boston, where he co-directs the BFA program in musical theatre. In 1975 he was a founding member of the new-music ensemble Dinosaur Annex, which he continues to direct and conduct.

Mr. Wheeler's most recent commission is for an opera for the Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center Theatre. Other commissions and performances include the orchestras of Minnesota, Houston, Toledo and Indianapolis, as well as New York City Opera, sopranos Renée Fleming and Lauren Flanigan, baritone Sanford Sylvan, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Scott Wheeler's opera Democracy: An American Comedy, on a libretto of Romulus Linney, was commissioned by the Washington National Opera and premiered by them in January 2005. His first opera, The Construction of Boston, will be released on the Naxos American Classics series. Other works can be heard on GM Recordings, Northeastern Records, Palexa, Koch International and Newport Classic.

In January 2007, Kent Nagano and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchestra Berlin commissioned a new chamber symphony called City of Shadows, which was featured on a portrait concert of the music of Scott Wheeler at the Kammermusiksaal of the Berlin Philharmonie. 2008 commissions included the Marilyn Horne Foundation, ASCAP Foundation, Concert Artists Guild, Boston Cecilia, and the Rivers School at Weston.

As a composer, Scott Wheeler has received awards and commissions from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Koussevitsky Foundation, the Fromm Foundation, Tanglewood, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Artist Foundation, Yaddo, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the MacDowell Colony, as well as the Stoeger Prize for excellence in chamber music from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He was a Distinguished Visitor at the American Academy in Berlin in 2007.

As a conductor, Scott Wheeler has appeared with Deutsches Symphonie-Orchestra Berlin, the Chamber Ensemble of St. Luke's in New York, the Wellesley Composers Conference, and Dinosaur Annex. His conducting performances can be heard on the Bridge, CRI, Capstone and Newport Classic labels. His performance of Arthur Levering's Twenty Ways Upon the Bells was nominated for a Grammy Award. He has conducted the premieres of over a hundred new works, as well as the Boston premieres of works by Poul Ruders, Gyorgy Ligeti, Judith Weir, Peter Maxwell Davies, and many others. At Emerson College, Wheeler has also conducted productions of the musical theatre works of Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Weill, George Gerswhin, Stephen Sondheim and many others.

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Performances

Virtuosity's Velocity
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | November 13, 2010
Strings Attached
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | March 6, 2010
Voice of America: BMOP
Distler Performance Hall at Tufts University | September 25, 2009

News and Press

[Concert Review] Fuse Classical Reviews BMOP's "Virtuosity’s Velocity"
The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) kicked off its season with a Jordan Hall program on November 13. Entitled "Virtuosity’s Velocity," the concert was devoted to five American works for chamber orchestra. The music was demanding and difficult, but conductor Gil Rose did indeed elicit plenty of virtuosity from his ensemble.
The Arts Fuse Full review
[Concert Review] All-American Electricity
For its seasonal opener "Virtuosity's Velocity," on Saturday, November 13 at Jordan Hall, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project chose to present an all-American program in a chamber-orchestra size. (In the old days, there were more players on stage than audience members.) The program included works by John Coolidge Adams, Arthur Berger, Ross Lee Finney, and Scott Wheeler. All these composers except Wheeler flirted with serial techniques, only to abandon them later.
The Boston Musical Intelligencer Full review
[Concert Review] Vigorous BMOP romps through Adams symphonies and more
For its season-opening concert, "Virtuosity's Velocity," the Boston Modern Orchestra Project trained its sights on the chamber orchestra — an ensemble whose unique flexibility can incorporate the weight and timbral range of the orchestra and the responsiveness of chamber music. All the music was American, creating a sort of microhistory of the genre's many iterations.
The Boston Globe Full review
[Concert Review] What's New
The timely highlight of Gil Rose's latest BMOP (Boston Modern Orchestra Project) concert, "Strings Attached," was a new/old piece (2004, revised 2009) for two string orchestras by Scott Wheeler now called Crazy Weather — the new title taken from a John Ashbery poem that begins, "It's this crazy weather we've been having." Thunderous snaps of antiphonal bass strings set off pizzicato raindrops that turn into Allegro sheets of musical rain. Of course, it's an emotional landscape, as the exquisite Adagio makes even clearer.
The Boston Phoenix Full review
[Concert Review] The Hidden Life of Strings
The string section is a staple of any orchestra: The largest of the instrumental sections, the strings are the most prominently displayed. Strings are usually the most constant factor in any orchestral score, while woodwinds, brass, percussion are the variables. Perhaps it is ironic that the fate of the string section is to play some of the least sonically interesting parts. Strings are often consigned to betraying their vast range of timbre and tone color to complement and support more strident colors of other sections of the orchestra.
The Tech Full review