|Aaron Jay Kernis|
Aaron Jay Kernis was born in Philadelphia on January 15, 1960. He began his musical studies on the violin; at age 12 he began teaching himself piano, and in the following year, composition. He continued his studies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and Manhattan and Yale Schools of Music, working with composers as diverse as John Adams, Charles Wuorinen and Jacob Druckman. Kernis first came to national attention in 1983 with the acclaimed premiere of his first orchestral work, Dream of the Morning Sky, by the New York Philharmonic at its Horizons Festival. One of America's most honored composers, Mr. Kernis received the coveted Grawemeyer Award in Music Composition (2002) for the cello and orchestra version of Colored Field, the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for his String Quartet No. 2 ("musica instrumentalis"), and Grammy Award nominations for both Air and Second Symphony. Among his many other awards are the Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Rome Prize. He has become an especially familiar and much-admired presence in Minnesota's Twin Cities; in September 1993, he was appointed Composer-in-Residence for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Public Radio, and the American Composers Forum, and he returned in the fall of 1998 as New Music Advisor to the Minnesota Orchestra, a position he retains to this day. In 2003 he joined the composition faculty at Yale School of Music. His music figures prominently on orchestral, chamber, and recital programs around the world. America's foremost musical institutions have commissioned his work, including the New York Philharmonic for its 150th Anniversary (New Era Dance) and the San Francisco Symphony (Colored Field, an English horn concerto for Julie Giacobassi). Other commissions include Air for violinist Joshua Bell; Lament and Prayer, a work for violin and string orchestra for Pamela Frank and the Minnesota Orchestra; a piano quartet (Still Movement with Hymn) for Christopher O'Riley, Pamela Frank, Paul Neubauer, and Carter Brey for American Public Radio; Goblin Market for narrator and ensemble, on a text by Christina Rossetti for the Birmingham [England] New Music Group; and Double Concerto for Violin, Guitar, and Orchestra, commissioned by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival, and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra for Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and Sharon Isbin. Recent orchestral works included Newly Drawn Sky (2005) commissioned by the Ravinia Festival for James Conlon and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Color Wheel written in 2001 for the Philadelphia Orchestra and the opening of the Kimmel Center. A Concerto for Toy Piano and Orchestra was created in 2003 for Margaret Leng Tan, the Singapore Symphony and Minnesota Orchestra, and in a chamber ensemble version for WNYC radio. New works were commissioned and premiered by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Lincoln Center Great Performers Series (for Renee Fleming), Dale Warland Singers, and the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History. Recordings of the music of Aaron Jay Kernis are available on Virgin Classics, Decca/Argo, Koch Classics, CRI, Nonesuch, Arabesque, Phoenix USA and New Albion. Decca/Argo, with which Mr. Kernis had an exclusive recording contract, released many of the works written between 1989 to1996, including Symphony in Waves, New Era Dance, Colored Field, Lament and Prayer and this disc of the Second Symphony and other works. Mr. Kernis' music is published by Associated Music Publishers, and since 2001 by AJK Music for which Associated Music Publishers/G. Schirmer, Inc. acts as administrating publisher.